When you make the difficult decision to put a loved one in a nursing home, you should never have to worry about whether or not they will be mistreated or abused by nursing home employees. However, statistics show that nearly one out of every 10 people over the age of 65 will suffer from elder abuse each year. Unfortunately, this data does not likely give us the full picture because authorities also say that most cases of elder abuse go unreported.
By 2030, it is estimated that more than three million seniors will need care in a nursing home. Combined with those who live in other assisted and long-term care facilities, this number could reach more than six million seniors who need assistance. It is vital that we understand what kind of abuse can occur, what the signs of nursing home abuse are, and what to do if we discover abuse.
What types of abuse happen in a nursing home?
There are various types of abuse that can take place in a nursing home, including:
- Physical Abuse – This includes any unnecessary physical contact with a resident, including punching, slapping, kicking, biting, grabbing, and more. Any excessive force used when performing daily activities such as helping a resident move from place to place or while bathing is also physical abuse.
- Sexual Abuse – This type of abuse is abhorrent. Sexual abuse in a nursing home can include any unwanted physical sexual contact as well as verbal sexual harassment and intimidation.
- Neglect – Every nursing home resident should have their basic needs met by employees. This includes food, shelter, medical care, regular exercise, bathing, and more. Failure to provide these basic necessities is neglect, and it is a form of abuse.
- Financial abuse – Nursing home residents are often easy targets of financial abuse and scams. Nursing home employees regularly have access to residents’ personal financial information and their money. This information can be abused by individual employees as well as agency management and owners. Many nursing home victims fall prey to identity thieves working at the facility.
Data shows that those who have been abused in a nursing home face a 300% greater chance of death in three years than those who are not abused.
What are the most common signs of nursing home abuse?
It is important that family members and friends regularly visit their loved ones in a nursing home. Sign and symptoms of abuse can be difficult to recognize, but you should be on the lookout for any of the following physical or behavioral issues:
- Unusual or unexplained bruises, lacerations, welts
- Bedsores in varying stages of severity
- Unexplained broken bones or fractures
- Sudden weight loss
- Frequent infections
- Changes in appetite
- Lack of cleanliness
- A messy living area
- Mood swings or outbursts
- Reclusiveness or withdrawn behavior
If you suspect nursing home abuse has occurred
If you suspect that your loved one has been abused in a nursing home, contact law enforcement authorities immediately. Ensure that your loved one is removed from a dangerous situation and that police conduct an investigation. Then you need to contact a skilled Anaheim nursing home abuse attorney. An attorney will be able to thoroughly conduct an investigation into the employees and agency involved in order to secure any compensation your loved one is entitled to.