At Rosen & Spears, we represent victims of elder abuse and any type of abuse or neglect that may be inflicted upon residents of assisted living and long-term care facilities. Throughout your ordeal, it is important that you remember you are not alone. Sadly, reports of nursing home abuse are on the rise, and it is the vigilance and action of people like you that can help to reverse this shocking trend. Contact our law firm today to learn more about our services and how we can help you and your family begin to heal.
What Constitutes Abuse?
Abuse at the hands of caregivers may take many forms and the first step towards understanding its prevalence is to become familiar with examples and indicators. Oftentimes our elderly loved ones may be hesitant to speak up – they are confused, unable to voice their concerns, or feel shame and humiliation – so it is important for families to proactively check for signs of abuse.
General categories of abuse include:
Physical abuse – This type of abuse includes any purposeful act that injures or causes physical harm to a victim, including hitting, slapping, and inappropriate use of restraints.
Emotional abuse – Emotional abuse of elders can take the form of verbal attacks including condescending, humiliating, or threatening remarks; nonverbal abuse, including isolation and ignoring a patient; and using chemical restraints or overmedication to subdue a patient.
Sexual abuse – Sexual abuse may involve a caregiver or fellow resident and applies to all situations involving unwanted sexual conduct, including that directed at patients who are unable to voice their dissent.
Financial abuse – In addition to outright theft, financial abuse may involve scammers, caregivers, or family members manipulating victims to gain access to monetary assets.
A Closer Look
A handful of statistics begins to shed some light on the crippling reality of elder abuse in long-term care facilities:
In 2009, the National Center for Assisted Living reported that over 900,000 people nationwide lived in assisted living settings. [National Center for Assisted Living (2009)]
3.2 million Americans resided in nursing homes during 2008. [U. S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (2009)]
More than 40% of people over the age of 65 will enter a nursing home before they die. [National Center for Elder Abuse, Feb. 2012]
In the United States, the 2010 Census recorded the greatest number and proportion of people age 65 and older in all of decennial census history: 40.3 million, or 13% of the total population. This “Boomer Generation” effect will continue for decades. [U. S. Dept. of Commerce, U. S. Census Bureau (2011)]
By 2050, people age 65 and older are expected to comprise 20% of the total U. S. population. [U. S. Dept. of Commerce, U. S. Census Bureau (2008)]
Approximately 5.1 million American elders over 65 have some kind of dementia. Close to half of all people over 85, the fastest growing segment of our population, have Alzheimer’s disease or another kind of dementia. [Alzheimer’s Association (2009)]
One 2009 study revealed that close to 50% of people with dementia experience some kind of abuse. [Cooper C, et al. (2009) British Medical Journal, 338, b155]
Over 90% of nursing homes in the United States are understaffed and have staffing levels too low to provide adequate care. [The Silver Ribbon Project]
1 in 3 nursing homes in the United States has been cited for abuse. [The Silver Ribbon Project]
A May, 2008 study conducted by the U. S. General Accountability Office revealed that state surveys understate problems in licensed facilities: 70% of state surveys miss at least one deficiency and 15% of surveys miss actual harm and immediate jeopardy of a nursing home resident. [U. S. Government Accounting Office (2008)]
One study estimated that only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse ever comes to the attention of authorities. [National Research Council (2003) Elder mistreatment]
Over 50% of nursing home staff admitted to mistreating (e.g., physical violence, mental abuse, neglect) older patients, and two-thirds of those incidents involved neglect. [National Center for Elder Abuse, Feb. 2012]
In 2008, one in 10 elders reported emotional, physical, or sexual mistreatment or potential neglect in the past year. [The National Elder Mistreatment Study, American Journal of Public Health 2010, 100:292-7]
A 2010 study found that 47% of participants with dementia had been mistreated by their caregivers. [Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 58(3), 493-500]
Of reported abuse cases:
29% involved physical abuse
22% involved resident to resident abuse
21% involved psychological or emotional abuse
14% involved gross neglect
7% involved financial abuse or exploitation
7% involved sexual abuse
[National Center for Elder Abuse, Research Brief, Feb. 2012]
After Marian Rosen represented her mother in a nursing home abuse case, she dedicated her career to protecting the rights of elders and nursing home patients. Our firm has a very personal attachment to helping victims of abuse and their families, and our success in the field is supported by decades of experience and representation in more than 750 cases. Let us help you navigate the legal path towards successful resolution of your claim. Reach out to our firm today to schedule a consultation and learn more.