Nursing home abuse occurs more often than anyone would like to imagine. In part, this is because in today’s world, families are busy, often with all members working outside the home. Whereas in previous generations families typically cared for their elderly members at home, today’s economic realities often make this impossible. Many families, often reluctantly, turn to nursing homes to care for their loved ones. The last thing anyone imagines is that a specialized care facility might neglect or mistreat its patients. Unfortunately, many times, neglect or outright abuse are possibilities of which you must be aware. We are hearing more and more of cases of neglect, mistreatment, and abuse of our elderly community. Being unable to adequately defend themselves, vulnerable seniors need their loved ones to address and correct these issues, and if a patient has sustained serious injuries, to contact a qualified attorney to help.

How Common is Nursing Home Abuse?

When elderly people are unable to care for themselves, they become physically and emotionally dependent on others to provide them with their basic needs, such as feeding, bathing, administering medications, communicating for them, and more. Such a dependent situation often leaves these people defenseless. Disturbingly, it is usually those very people assigned to care for them that inflict harm upon them. A recent study on neglect in nursing facilities found that between 7.6 percent and 10 percent of elderly people residing in nursing homes had reported experiencing some form of abuse in the prior year. Considering that the nature of a nursing home business is to be caring and cautious with the elderly, this is a shockingly high proportion of patients.

Abuse may occur at the hands of the facility staff or other patients. More women than men are victimized. Nursing homes are often short-staffed, with employees frequently overworked. Stretched too thin, they may be too tired to provide the proper care and under so much stress that tempers flare, resulting in abuse. Patients, particularly those with dementia, may be genuinely difficult, and staff members may struggle with frustrations that they are unable to handle, causing them to lash out. Elder care is not for everyone, and nursing homes need to screen their employees and hire only those with an affinity for the elderly and a commitment to providing compassionate and quality care.

Types of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

Problems with nursing home care may take many forms. These are a few:

  • Physical abuse such as battery, using unnecessary forceful restraint, over or under medication, or striking or pinching a patient;
  • Failing to change the patient’s position, resulting in bed sores;
  • Neglecting to provide adequate bathing or feeding, leading to poor hygiene, malnutrition or dehydration, or infection;
  • Sexual abuse, including physical penetration, forcing patients to view pornography, unwelcome sexual touching, and/or sexual language;
  • Financial abuse, such as stealing money, tricking patients into signing away their possessions on a will or contract, or gaining unauthorized access to bank accounts;
  • Emotional abuse such as embarrassing victims, belittling them, and talking down to them, or making them feel worthless.

Who is at Risk for Being Victimized in a Nursing Home?

Anyone who is dependent on another person for care in a nursing home may face some risk of abuse. This is because these patients are incapable of defending themselves, and for some abusers, the vulnerable are an easy target. A patient who has extensive physical or psychological disabilities is at an even greater risk, and those patients with dementia or severe degenerative diseases and cognitive impairment are at the greatest risk of abuse. The patients at the highest risk of abuse are usually those who have the hardest time telling those in position to help that abuse is occurring. Because of this, if you have loved ones being cared for in a nursing home, you need to be aware of the potential for abuse and actively look for signs that neglect or abuse may be occurring. The best way to spot problems is to make frequent unannounced visits to the facility.

What You Can Do if Someone You Know or Love Has Been a Victim of Nursing Home Abuse?

If your family member has fallen victim to abuse or neglect in the nursing home that is supposed to be caring for them, action can be taken against the home to recover compensation for any injuries or psychological harm that has occurred. In Las Vegas, attorney Eric Woods has been the voice for victims of nursing homes throughout his more than thirty years as a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer. Eric will fight aggressively to ensure that the abuse of your loved one stops, that sufficient care is provided to patients going forward, and that your family member or friend recovers financial compensation for the harm that has been inflicted on them.

If you, a friend, or a loved one has been victimized in a nursing home, contact the law office of Eric H. Woods today for advice and guidance on reaching a legal resolution and appropriate compensation for the victim and his or her family.

 
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