An estimated 1.3 million elderly people live in a nursing home in the US. Unfortunately, many of them have experienced abuse at the hands of one or more members of the nursing home staff.
It’s important to understand that there are laws in all 50 states that protect the elderly from abuse, and this includes nursing home abuse.
If you’re concerned that you or a loved one are the victim of nursing home abuse, it is time to work with a nursing home abuse attorney.
First, let’s talk about what constitutes nursing home abuse and what kinds of treatment violates the law. Keep reading to find out more about nursing home abuse cases.
How Common Is Nursing Home Abuse?
On average, an estimated 5 million elders are abused each year. More than a third of nursing home residents have reported seeing or hearing of elder abuse occurring in the nursing home where they live. Why is this so common?
Unfortunately, many nursing homes do not adequately screen or train their employees. Oftentimes, there are not enough staff members around to attend to patients or assess the treatment the patients are receiving. Nursing home residents tend to be in a more vulnerable position mentally or physically, making it difficult for them to defend themselves or speak up when abuse does occur.
What Treatment Is Considered Abusive in a Nursing Home?
What kinds of treatment are considered abusive in the context of nursing home living? The law specifies several different types of abuse that are explicitly illegal. Let’s take a closer look.
If a staff member is knowingly and/or purposefully causing physical harm to a resident, this is abuse. This may include pinching, hitting, kicking, pushing, or scratching. It can also include the performance of improper and risky medical procedures.
Emotional abuse includes any knowing and/or purposeful attempt to intimidate, hurt, or manipulate someone on an emotional level. Emotionally abusive behaviors include, but are not limited to, screaming, taunting, or isolating a resident. Emotionally abusive behavior can cause new or worsening symptoms of poor mental health.
Neglect occurs when a resident in a nursing home is not attended to properly. If their physical and emotional needs are not being met, this generally falls under the category of neglect.
Sexual abuse refers to any unwanted sexual activity. Regardless of how severe this kind of abuse is–whether it causes serious physical harm or not–it is illegal and should always be taken seriously.
Financial abuse often occurs when a resident has trouble managing or keeping track of their money. This is often the case for individuals in cognitive decline. There have been reported cases of nursing home staff members stealing thousands of dollars from their residents.
Do You Suspect That You Are Dealing With a Case of Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse is a serious issue. Unfortunately, it is prevalent enough that if your loved one is staying in a nursing home, you should stay alert for signs of abuse at the hands of staff members. Do you suspect that you are dealing with a case of nursing home abuse? Contact Beltz & Beltz for a consultation and legal representation.