Nursing Home Abuse: Types, Common Signs & Legal Remedies
Aging and health-related challenges make nursing homes a go-to solution for quality care and attention. However, not all facilities provide the best services. Unfortunately, some residents experience physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect.
Nursing home abuse has risen in recent years, and senior citizens are most affected. We will discuss different types of nursing home abuse, including common signs to look out for and legal remedies available to victims and their families.
So let’s explore how you can protect your loved ones from nursing home abuse!
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
There are many different types of nursing home abuse. Unfortunately, not all of them are easily recognizable. There are four main types of nursing home abuse: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and financial abuse.
Physical abuse happens when a resident suffers physical harm from staff members or other residents. Common signs of physical abuse include bruises, cuts, welts, bedsores, and broken bones. It includes hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, or inappropriately using restraints. Physical abuse is the most common form of nursing home abuse.
Sexual abuse is when a nursing home resident experiences sexual harassment or assault by staff members or other residents. Common signs of sexual abuse include genital injuries, sexually transmitted diseases, and unwanted touching or fondling. It includes rape and sexual assault.
Emotional abuse is when a resident experiences verbal or emotional abuse by staff members or other residents. Common signs of emotional abuse include fearfulness, anxiety, depression, isolation, and withdrawal from social activities. It includes verbal assaults, threats, intimidation, isolation, or manipulation.
Financial abuse is when a nursing home resident’s money or property is stolen or misused by staff or other residents. Common signs of financial abuse include sudden changes in bank account balances, unauthorized withdrawals from bank accounts, and sudden changes in wills or power of attorney documents.
It includes stealing money from a resident’s bank account, forging checks, or coercing a resident into signing over power of attorney.
Neglect is when staff fails to provide necessities like food, water, shelter, clothing, personal hygiene items, or medical care. Neglect can also include leaving a resident unattended for long periods or failing to supervise them properly.
Each year, thousands of senior citizens are abused in nursing homes. Some common signs indicating that a loved one is being abused include:
- Unexplained bruises, cuts, or other injuries
- Unexplained weight loss or change in appetite
- Withdrawal from social activities or sudden changes in mood or behavior
- Sudden changes in financial statuses, such as unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts
- Dirty or unkempt appearance
- A strong odor of urine or feces
- Signs of restraint, such as bruises on the wrists
Legal Remedies for Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home residents have a right to be free from abuse. There are legal remedies available to help victims.
If you suspect your loved one is being abused in their nursing home, it’s important to take immediate action. First, contact the authorities and file a police report. Second, consult an attorney that deals with nursing home or senior citizen abuse and discuss your legal options with them.
The lawyer will inform you whether or not you should file a civil lawsuit against the abuser and/or the nursing home facility.
If the abuser is an employee, it’s likely you can file a lawsuit against the employee and the employer – the nursing home. If the abuse is from another resident, it’s still likely you can file a lawsuit, but your attorney will inform you that it may be harder to win the case and go after the nursing home unless the nursing home was made aware of the abuse and failed to intervene or take action.
Nursing home abuse is a serious and often overlooked problem. Understanding the various types of nursing home abuse, the common signs to look out for, and potential legal remedies available will help address this issue and eliminate this problem.
If you or someone you know has been affected by nursing home abuse, do not hesitate to contact an attorney in elder law or medical malpractice; they will be able to answer your questions and help protect your rights.