It is never easy to realize that your loved one can no longer live on their own. Whether your parent needs specialized medical care or your grandparent requires supervision for things like standing or eating, helping them transition to a nursing home is essential, even if it feels challenging. If you later learn that your loved one’s facility has caused them harm, the nursing home abuse lawyers from Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm can help.
You should be able to trust that the people in charge of your loved one’s well being are taking their best interests to heart. When your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse, you need someone on your side who can help you bring the facility that harmed them to justice. These types of cases tend to be complex, and having an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer by your side can make all the difference.
Nursing Home Abuse Statistics
Elder abuse should never take place in a nursing home setting. Unfortunately, the people charged with the care of our elderly loved ones are often the ones who cause them harm. In 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that it found that two-thirds of nursing home staff admitted to committing some type of abuse against residents within the past year.
Data from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) shows that nursing home abuse complaints are on the rise. Note the increase in nursing home complaints over just a few years:
- 2016 – 66,077 complaints
- 2017 – 68,808 complaints
- 2018 – 71,602 complaints
The number of high-priority complaints that require a rapid response also increased from only 5,061 complaints in 2016 to 6,540 in 2018. Although reporting rates are increasing, the Center for Medicare Advocacy has also found that many instances of nursing home abuse go unreported.
Identifying Abuse in Residential Care Facilities
Signs of nursing home abuse are not always obvious at first. Abuse victims may try to act as if everything is normal so as not to worry their loved ones, or out of fear that their abuser will retaliate. Learning to recognize the signs of nursing home abuse is essential if you are placing a loved one in a care facility.
The presence of injuries and other physical changes to the body is one of the most obvious signs of physical abuse. Bruises, cuts, black eyes, burns, and laceration marks may all appear on the body of a nursing home resident who has suffered abuse at the hands of a staff member. Victims may also start experiencing anxiety, act fearful around certain staff members, be fearful of physical touch, or have trouble sleeping.
While nursing home staff frequently provide physical support to residents, physical touch should never reach a point where it may be considered abuse. The following are all examples of physical abuse:
- Unnecessary physical restraint
Also referred to as mental or emotional abuse, nursing home residents can also be victims of abuse without ever being touched. The most obvious sign of psychological abuse is a change in the mental or emotional state of your loved one. This can make it surprisingly difficult to identify since many illnesses associated with old age are associated with a decline in one’s mental state. Many nursing home residents also struggle with the transition to living in a residential facility versus their own home, which can also bring on an emotional change.
Do not ignore any signs of psychological change in your loved one. If your parent, grandparent, or other family member begins exhibiting any of the following signs, do not hesitate to contact a nursing home abuse lawyer about your suspicions.
- Unusual silence or refusal to speak
- Withdrawal from activities they once enjoyed
- Frequent crying or tearfulness
- Change in appetite
- Aggressive behavior
- Decreased self-esteem
Many victims of financial abuse do not realize what is going on until it is too late, and they have already suffered a significant financial loss. Victims may lose both valuable personal belongings as well as money. According to the National Institute on Aging, financial abuse may occur as:
- Using the victim’s bank accounts or credit cards without permission.
- Forging checks.
- Taking Social Security or retirement benefits.
- Changing beneficiary designations on life insurance accounts.
- Changing the details of a will.
- Transferring the title of a house, vehicle, or other valuable property.
While any nursing home resident can be the victim of elder abuse, many are patients who are already suffering from diseases that cause mental or memory disorders. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia face an exceptionally high risk of financial abuse.
More Examples of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing abuse can and frequently does fall outside of what we might think of as the three most common types of abuse committed against our elderly. If you have a loved one who is currently in a nursing home, be vigilant in looking for signs of:
- Sexual abuse
Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm Is Here to Help
Life after nursing home abuse is often never the same. Many victims face shortened lifespans and heightened medical expenses. On top of this, families often struggle to find the right way to support their loved ones while also dealing with feelings of guilt for having supported the move to a nursing home. Holding the abusers and facility responsible for their actions is one way that Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm can help.
These types of legal claims are typically time-sensitive, so do not delay. Our nursing home abuse lawyers will evaluate the facts of your case and help determine the best course of action for moving forward. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.