Fighting Against Elder Abuse
Many individuals are unaware that nursing homes and assisted living facilities can be sources of severe abuse and neglect. In one study, 44 percent of nursing home residents said they were victims of abuse, and 95 percent said they were neglected at least once or saw another resident neglected. Nursing home abuse and neglect comes in many forms, and the consequences may be serious and lead to wrongful death. At Proffitt & Cox, LLP, our Columbia injury lawyers are knowledgeable about the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. We will work aggressively on your behalf to protect your elderly loved ones’ right to appropriate care complying with accepted medical and nursing standards.
Types and Signs Of Elder Abuse
Elderly individuals may experience abuse in a number of different forms. It is important to recognize when a loved one is the victim of one of the following types of abuse to prevent further harm:
- Neglect – Failure to meet care-taking obligations is a surprisingly common occurrence in nursing homes. This may include forgetting to move immobile patients to prevent bedsores, failing to assist residents when necessary, failing to take necessary precautions to prevent falls and committing medication errors. Signs of neglect include:
- Dehydration and malnutrition
- Fall-related injuries
- Physical abuse – The purposeful use of force against an elderly person is one of the most common forms of nursing home physical abuse. Over half of nursing home staff admitted to mistreating older patients, according to a study by the National Center on Elder Abuse. Residents can also abuse other residents. Some indicators of physical abuse include:
- Broken bones
- Fall-related injuries
- Restraint marks
- Psychological abuse – Intimidation, verbal abuse, ridicule, humiliation and scapegoating are all forms of psychological abuse that may lead elderly individuals to suffer depression or anxiety. The following symptoms are also representative of this type of abuse:
- Apprehension or fear of certain individuals
- Visible depression or anger
- Mumbling, rocking or sucking, which is also known as false dementia
- Sexual abuse – Touching a resident without consent, forcing the individual to undress or forcing the person to view a sexual act are all forms of abuse. Indicators of sexual abuse in nursing homes include:
- Bleeding or bruising
- Damaged clothing
- Depression and withdrawal
- Financial exploitation – Committing Medicaid fraud and overcharging are serious issues that can occur in nursing homes. The following are some potential indicators of financial abuse:
- oFrequent withdrawals from bank accounts
- oLosses of personal property
What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
If you believe a loved one is a victim of one of these serious issues, consider removing the individual from the nursing home immediately. Ninety percent of nursing homes are understaffed, and nearly one in three nursing homes in the United States has received citations for violating federal regulations. If you feel your loved one is not receiving proper care, removing the resident from the home and then learning about your legal options may be the best decisions to make.
Contact our South Carolina injury lawyers by calling locally at (803) 834-7097 or toll free at (877) 276-0533. Our Columbia injury attorneys have the legal knowledge to seek justice for the suffering your loved one endured because of a negligent or abusive nursing home staff.
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