Behind Nursing Home Doors: The Sad Truth of Elder Abuse in the United States
Do you have a loved one currently living in a nursing home or other assisted living facility? Do you suspect that your loved one is currently suffering from abuse, or has suffered from abuse in the past? Situations like this can cause feelings of isolation and guilt to arise. You might wonder what warning signs you missed or what you could have done differently to have prevented such a thing from occurring. The truth is, elder abuse is a lot more common than you would expect. Nearly 95% of elders in the United States have reported either witnessing or experiencing abuse and neglect within the walls of elder care facilities.
When dealing with elder abuse situations, it is important to educate yourself on the responsibilities of the care facilities, the warning signs of abuse, and the legal actions you can take if you suspect that your loved one is a victim of abuse at the hands of their caregivers.
Elder Abuse In the United States
The primary mission of elderly care facilities should be to promote the quality of life of their patients. While patients may begin to decline both mentally and physically as they age, the care facility should do all that it can to prevent this, and should never make any decisions for the patient without their consent. The patient has the right to be involved in their personal care plan, to choose which healthcare provider and doctor they use, and the right to manage their own finances. A nursing home’s failure to allow a mentally well patient to do any of this is a direct breach of their basic rights, and could therefore be considered a worthy cause of an elder abuse lawsuit.
Signs of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse takes many forms. Verbal, physical, mental and emotional, and sexual abuse are all alarmingly common occurrences in nursing homes. If you suspect that a loved one is suffering from abuse in their care facility, look for warning signs. Pay close attention to any interactions between your loved one and the nursing home employees. Do they seem comfortable and relaxed, or does interaction with their caregivers cause them to tense up and shy away, possibly in fear? Also look for any physical signs of abuse such as bruising, blood, or torn clothing. If you find evidence of abuse, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation through a nursing home abuse lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit could also help to prevent other patients from suffering from the same treatment, giving a voice to victims of elder abuse.
Elder neglect can be just as deadly as abuse and is equally as likely to go undetected until it’s too late.
To maintain and promote a patient’s quality of life, it’s important that they are closely supervised and all of their health and hygiene issues are addressed in a timely manner. Neglect can cause a patient’s mental and physical well-being to slowly deteriorate. If a patient is left alone, consistently isolated in their room for long periods of time, they are not properly engaging their mind and could start to see a slow decrease in cognitive ability. This will also have a negative impact on their emotional well-being as a lack of social stimulation could cause them to become depressed.
Some patients are unable to look after their own health and hygiene needs, and therefore need the help of the nursing home workers to take care of themselves. If they are left alone without anyone to help them, their needs will not be properly met. If a patient goes too long without maintaining proper cleanliness, they could start to develop serious skin rashes. If these rashes are left untreated, they could worsen and become infected, putting the patient at a higher risk for more adverse health problems or death. Death is also a potential risk if patients are in charge of their medication needs. If medication is not administered properly, a patient’s health conditions could worsen and become fatal.
As patients age, they might see a decline in basic motor skills and coordination, putting them at a higher risk for trips and falls, or choking during meals, both of which have the potential to result in fatality for the patient. Because of this increased risk, it is necessary for patients to have assistance and supervision any time they are in a situation that could result in one of these unfortunate accidents. If you lose a loved one after they suffer from a serious fall or choke during a meal and you believe that the accident could have been avoided if they’d had proper supervision, consider filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit. Your decision to seek justice for your loved one could help save another life.
Do you want to learn about Wrongful Death? Check out this article.