Nursing Home Abuse and Elder Law Explained

Nursing home
Nursing home

Elder abuse comes in many forms like emotional, physical, and sexual harm inflicted on a senior citizen. Some senior citizens also suffer from financial exploitation and negligence from the people tasked with taking care of them. In the United States, there are more than half a million such cases each year. However, the sad reality is, millions of similar cases often go unreported. 

Surprisingly, there are reports of elder abuse even in nursing facilities with qualified and paid caregivers. These caregivers can be under some stress that leads to negligence and other forms of abuse. Such staff members are also prone to abusing the elderly if they have inadequate training, have too many tasks, or work in a poor environment.

Sadly, some people aren’t cut out to work with the elderly and still end up working as their caregivers. Some people even mistreat elderly members of their family. Here are some signs of elderly abuse to look out for in nursing facilities or from caregivers.

General Evidence of Abuse

Physical scars, withdrawal from society, and disability are signs that you can see just by looking at a person. Financial scams against the elderly are also common and documentable. You can also see signs of negligence, especially where hygiene is concerned. 

Physical Abuse

The elderly are frail, so the use of force against them can result in their injury, pain, and impairment in extreme scenarios. Physical assault isn’t the only form of physical assault, it can also come as a result of confinement and the use of restraints or inappropriate medication.

Emotional Abuse

This form of abuse results from treating the elderly in a way that causes psychological or emotional distress. Yelling, ridiculing, ignoring, and habitual scapegoating are ways people emotionally abuse the elderly. Also, isolating them from social life, family, and friends is a form of abuse. 

Sexual Abuse

Unrequited or forceful physical contact with senior citizens is abuse. Forcing them to undress, participate in/watch sexual acts or, showing them pornographic material are all considered as sexual abuse.

Caregiver Neglect

This is when a caregiver fails to meet their caretaking obligations. It can be intentional or unintentional in a case where the caregiver isn’t qualified. Such cases account for over half of all elder abuse cases reported in the U.S alone.  

Financial Exploitation of the Elderly

Some unscrupulous scammers and caregivers use senior citizen’s property and funds without their authorization. They may forge signatures, misuse bank accounts, or steal cash and other property. Some scams typically target the elderly. Such scams include Ponzi schemes, fake charities, and fraudulent investments.  

Healthcare Fraud

The main perpetrators of such abuse include nurses, doctors, and professional caregivers. Improper use of medication together with neglecting to provide healthcare for paid services constitute to such abuse.

Risk Factors for Elder Abuse

The infirmity that comes as we age creates a dependence on the caregiver. Senior citizens also have many needs and can be challenging to deal with, giving the caregiver a lot of anxiety. Such factors often create a situation where elder abuse may occur.

To make it worse, the caregiver may have too many tasks or lack proper training. This ignorance often results in stress that can make the caregiver impatient, tired, and likely to lash out by neglecting or yelling at those under their care.

Reporting Elder Abuse

If you are an elder or know of one that’s facing abuse, you need to tell someone. Please report it to a doctor, a family member, a friend, or anyone you trust. There also hotlines you can call. Never hesitate to report any signs of elder neglect or abuse.

Bottom Line

Did you know you could file a complaint and start a suit against anyone perpetrating elder abuse? That’s right, and the attorneys at Friedman, Domiano & smith understand how to handle personal injury suits. Contact us today for your free consultation. We’ll work and ensure that you get justice.

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