As advances in science prolong life for many Americans, more elderly people find themselves being cared for in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other senior care environments. These facilities and their staff are responsible for the basic care and needs of the elderly, including food, shelter, medications, hygiene, and other fundamentals.
When these facilities fail to provide adequate care, their elderly residents may be neglected, injured, or even abused. Medical malpractice as well as physical, emotional, and other forms of abuse may ensue. In such cases, those who cannot defend themselves need the help of family members and attorneys to fight for their rights, seek justice, and remedy poor conditions.
What Is Elder or Nursing Home Abuse?
When you think of the words “Elder Abuse,” you probably think about physical assault, it actually encompasses much more than that. Since many elderly people require assistance they are often solely dependent on others. Sadly, many people take advantage of the elderly in this vulnerable situation.
The following can all be considered elder abuse and may occur within nursing homes:
- Choking, hitting, pushing, or even sedating a resident
- Failing to provide proper hydration and nutrition
- Sexually abusing or assaulting a resident in any way
- Emotionally abusing a resident through verbal or nonverbal acts
- Neglecting to care for a resident
- Financial exploitation through misuse of a resident’s funds
Incidents of this nature can lead to tragic results, even wrongful death in certain cases. For this reason, it is important to be as involved as possible in the care of your loved one. If you have any suspicion of nursing home abuse, an investigation is warranted.
How to Identify Signs of Elder Abuse
When these deplorable acts of abuse are occur, how can you identify them? In many cases spotting abuse is not as easy as you would expect. The elderly can be too afraid to come forward with a complaint or may not be fully aware of what is happening to them.
Keep an eye out for the following types of signs that may indicate abuse:
- Inexplicable bruises, abrasions, cuts, or burns
- Sudden weight loss
- Lack of hygiene
- Emotional discomfort or fear around caregiver or staff member
- Sudden transfers or changes in financial holdings
- Lack of eye contact, communication, or desire for social interaction
Under the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, all patients have the right to be treated fairly, make independent choices if possible, and maintain the right to privacy, dignity, and respect. They also have the right to the security of their possessions and to make a complaint without fear of retaliation. If you believe your loved one has been denied any of these rights, you need to take immediate action. At Vinson Law, we are more than prepared to advocate on your behalf as you pursue justice for your elderly loved one. We can investigate their case and guide you through all the legal steps are necessary.