Nursing homes offer a level of medical attention and daily care that would be difficult to provide for elderly loved ones in their own homes. At the same time, nursing home abuse is an unfortunately common problem, and it is important for family members and friends to remain vigilant.
Elder abuse can take a variety of forms, and understanding what constitutes abuse and nursing home neglect – and how to identify and report it – can help ensure those you care about are protected.
Common Types of Elder Abuse
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines elder abuse as an intentional act that has the potential to cause harm to someone age 60 or over. It can occur at the hands of family or caregivers when older adults live in their own homes, or as the result of nursing home abuse committed by a facility’s workers or staff.
The following are five common types of abuse identified by the CDC:
- Physical abuse: This may involve being physically aggressive when performing tasks associated with elder care, as well as actions such as hitting, slapping, pushing, intentionally tripping, or pinching.
- Sexual abuse: This involves any type of sexual harassment or contact meant to humiliate or exploit the victim.
- Emotional or psychological abuse: This type of abuse is meant to elicit fear, humiliation, and feelings of isolation in victims, and may involve name calling, put downs, and destroying personal property, as well as preventing victims from seeing family or friends.
- Neglect: Nursing home neglect often involves the failure of caregivers to attend to the needs of residents. A patient may be left without food and water or in an unclean environment, or they may be deprived of the medical care and treatment they need.
- Financial abuse: In nursing home abuse cases, this may involve stealing money or property from a resident, or committing fraud by opening credit accounts in their name, for example.
The CDC states that as many as 1 in 10 older adults are victims of elder abuse in the U.S. This is just an estimate, though, as victims are often too afraid or humiliated to report incidents that occur. They may attempt to hide or deny it from their family members and friends.
Signs That Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Is Occurring
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) advises that to prevent nursing home abuse, it is important to be alert for the following signs in residents:
- Acting depressed, anxious, or confused
- Signs of fear or anger toward a certain caregiver
- Unexplained bruises, scratches, or welts
- Bedsores, infections, and unexplained weight loss
- Disheveled appearance or dirty, worn bed sheets or clothes
- Lack of interest in activities they previously enjoyed
- Unexplained loss of money or missing belongings
If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect is occurring, contact Grimes Teich Anderson, LLP right away. Our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys can advise you on the best course of action to hold responsible parties accountable, so that your loved one can get the care and compensation they deserve.
We serve the Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina areas. Call or contact us online today to request a free case evaluation.