Nursing homes are designed to provide high-quality care to residents. These facilities can be a blessing to families who cannot care for an elderly loved one on their own. However, some nursing home staff members harm innocent residents by neglecting or intentionally abusing them.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Families often have no other choice but to place an elderly loved one in a nursing home. They may suffer from physical or mental conditions that need round-the-clock care. Nursing homes are designed to relieve the burden from loved ones and keep senior citizens healthy.
Unfortunately, there are reports of residents being seriously injured or dying in nursing homes throughout the United States. Many of these incidents can be traced back to nursing home abuse.
Nursing home abuse has been a nationally recognized problem since the 1970s. It occurs when elderly residents suffer serious harm from the actions of staff members. Nursing home abuse can lead to mental problems, serious illnesses, and even death.
Nursing home residents can be:
- Emotionally abused
- Verbally assaulted
- Physically harmed
- Financially exploited
- Seriously neglected
- Sexually abused
Abuse in nursing homes is a widespread issue. In 2012, nearly 25% of nursing home residents reported that they were physically abused by staff members at least once.
Incidents of nursing home abuse often go unreported. Nursing home residents may be reluctant to complain due to the fear of staff retaliation. Family and friends may not realize that the abuse has occurred until great harm has been suffered.
No matter what form abuse takes, it brings serious harm.
Causes of Nursing Home Abuse
Not all nursing homes are able to provide the same standard of care. Some nursing homes may have the resources needed to ensure all residents receive quality care. Others struggle to provide the right resources, oversight, and care.
Some of the biggest issues nursing homes face involve their staff members. Since the staff members are the primary caregivers, residents can suffer if the staff is neglectful, untrained, or uncaring.
Nursing home staff problems include:
- Burnout and overwork
- Improper training
- Intentionally abusive staff members
- Lack of management or supervision
- Shortages and understaffing
Any of these factors can cause nursing home staff to neglect or abuse residents. For example, an overworked nurse may take their anger out on a difficult resident. Staff members who are not properly trained or supervised could forget about residents or make serious mistakes.
Know & Recognize the Warning Signs of Abuse
It cannot be overstated: if you know the signs of abuse, you can be the one to end it. Elders are at a higher risk for abuse. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help keep your loved one safe.
Elderly citizens are in greater danger because they may have mental or physical ailments. These issues can make it harder for them to speak up. For example, a resident with dementia may not be able to tell you if a resident has hurt them.
Take a look at the list below. If you notice that your loved one exhibits any of these abuse warning signs, do not wait — take immediate action.
Warning signs may include:
- Broken bones
- Bed sores
- Head injuries
- Unexplained bruising
Signs of Neglect
- Dehydration or malnourishment
- Improper medications
- Poor hygiene
- Soiled bedding
- Agitation, withdrawal, or fear
- Frequent crying
- Complaints of poor treatment
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse
If you suspect that someone you love has been abused, there are options available. If needed, you can remove your loved one from the nursing home. You can also file a report with local, state, and national authorities.
Reporting elder abuse is a crucial step. By bringing to light the abuse, you hold the nursing home and the abusers accountable. This can bring about positive change and protect other families from suffering.
Always call 911 if someone’s life is in immediate danger. In all abuse cases, the health of the victim should be the biggest priority.
Reporting of nursing home abuse varies by state. For example, each state has Adult Protective Services (APS) agencies. APS operates with state governments to keep elders safe. Every state also has a long-term care ombudsman program. Ombudsmen are volunteers who listen to the concerns of nursing home residents and work toward solutions.
To learn more about your options, view our list of nursing home abuse resources by state.
After reporting abuse, there may be other options available to you. One of these is to work with a lawyer who focuses on nursing home abuse cases.
Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers and Lawsuits
Nursing home abuse causes suffering — both to residents and their families. The victim may have suffered injuries that require medical attention. Those who trusted a nursing home to care for their loved one will be emotionally distraught. Severe abuse cases can be deadly, leading to grief and funeral costs.
No matter what your financial circumstances, you have access to justice. Nursing home abuse lawyers will help you fight back against the abusers and get the financial compensation you and your loved one deserve.
To ease these burdens, victims and their families should work with a nursing home abuse lawyer. General lawyers may not have the resources to properly handle your case. A nursing home abuse lawyer will have previous experience in abuse cases.
Nursing home abuse lawyers can help you:
- Collect documents, statements, and records to strengthen your case
- Receive financial compensation through a legal claim
- Hold the abusers accountable
Sokolove Law has a team experienced in nursing home abuse on staff. They may be able to help you file a legal claim against the abusers and the nursing home.
Sokolove Law is a Trusted Nursing Home Abuse Law Firm
Sokolove Law has been fighting for victims of nursing home abuse and elder neglect for more than 40 years. During that time, we have recovered over $107 Million for victims and their families.
Our experienced lawyers can help you recognize the warning signs of abuse. They can also help you get the justice and compensation that you need.
We are a national law firm with a licensed attorney in nearly every state. This allows us to file a legal claim on your behalf no matter where you live. Our team will work tirelessly on your behalf while you focus on healing from the abuse.
Your situation is not hopeless.