The abuse, neglect, and willful mistreatment of elderly people in nursing homes is a continuing problem, and may get worse as the demands on our system of elder care increase. Mistreatment and neglect causes needless suffering in this vulnerable population. Patient fatalities due to neglect often go unreported. Physicians frequently list a general cause of death like “heart failure” on the death certificates of nursing home residents. In actuality, the root cause of death may be the untreated malnutrition, dehydration, or systemic infections from skin sores that lead to the heart failure.
As our country’s population ages, the demand for elder care is growing, putting additional pressure on an already overstressed system. According to the National Organization for Victim Assistance, several types of abuse may occur in nursing homes.
- Caregiver Neglect : Failure to give appropriate care in a nursing home, such as bathing and proper positioning; failure to administer prescribed medications and treatments; failure to provide needed assistance with daily activities, such as eating, drinking, toileting, and walking; failure to maintain a safe patient environment.
- Physical Abuse : Infliction of pain or injury by hitting, kicking, inappropriate use of physical or chemical restraints, or any other aggressive behavior directed at the elderly patient.
- Emotional Abuse : Verbal assault, threats, humiliation, intimidation, isolation and/or ignoring the elderly patient.
- Sexual Abuse : Any form of inappropriate, non-consensual sexual contact.
- Financial Abuse or Exploitation : Misappropriation of the patient’s money or personal possessions, failure to account for patient funds, denying the elderly patient access to his or her personal funds, forgery.
If you suspect a loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home, please contact us right away.
Simply put, it is against the law for any person to neglect or abuse a resident of a nursing home. You should formally document any suspected abuse or neglect. The details of the injuries, date and time, and any witnesses should all be put in writing. The law limits the amount of time after a patient incurs an injury to file suit, so act now.