Do you suspect a loved one is being abused or neglected at a nursing home or long-term care facility? If you’re concerned, there is likely reason to be and there are steps you can take to protect them.
According to the National Center On Elder Abuse, “Experts have reported that knowledge about elder abuse lags as much as two decades behind the fields of child abuse and domestic violence,” but that does not mean there’s no awareness about it. More than anything, experts believe nursing home abuse and negligence are underreported.
“The New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study found that for every case [of elder abuse] known to programs and agencies, 24 were unknown,” says the NCEA. Some of the major risk factors include dementia, a lack of social support (e.g. no friends or family to complain to), being a previous victim of domestic violence, being a woman, and being poor or of low income.
What is Elder Abuse?
The Administration for Community Living (ACL) says that every year, hundreds of thousands of elderly adults are neglected, abused, and exploited. “Many of the victims are people who are older, frail, and vulnerable and cannot help themselves and depend on others to meet their most basic needs,” says the ACL.
“In general, elder abuse is a term referring to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult,” according to the ACL.
Elder abuse and neglect can include:
- Neglect (e.g. dehydration, malnutrition, poor hygiene)
- Sexual abuse
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Financial abuse or exploitation
Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits
For many families, placing a loved one in a nursing home is a difficult decision to make. It’s hard to place a loved one in another’s care, and is usually a last resort when family members are unable to provide the level of care their loved one needs.
While nursing homes should be held to the highest standards, they sometimes hire unsavory characters or maintain facilities that are greatly understaffed and filled with untrained workers.
Personal injury attorneys have found that though nursing homes are governed by Medicaid and Medicare, the Social Security Act, the Nursing Home Reform Act, the Older Americans Act, and others, these responsibilities are not always met. Ultimately, it’s the residents who pay the hefty price.
Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect are common. The abuse or neglect may go on for a long time before the family finds out. But fortunately, when nursing home negligence comes to light, the nursing home can be held responsible for damages.
If you file a case against a nursing home, you should expect resistance, which is why it’s important to have a nursing home abuse attorney by your side representing your best interests. The vast majority of cases settle out of court and families do not have to endure a court trial.
Contact Jones & Swanson for the skilled legal representation your elderly loved one deserves.