What Constitutes Nursing Home Abuse?
As our loved ones age and need assistance caring for themselves, we strive to provide for them in the same way they did for us – by entrusting them to a safe, protective, and comforting environment. Choosing to entrust elderly relatives to the care of others is a difficult decision on its own, but when we learn their safety has been threatened, the situation can become terrifying.
Rosen & Spears can provide you with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer. Our firm understands the often overwhelming task of pursuing legal action after you discover your loved one may have been abused in a nursing home, an assisted living facility, or a long-term care facility. You are not alone, and our team is here to help you navigate every step throughout your pursuit of justice. Contact our law firm today to schedule a consultation and learn more about our services.
Unlike physical abuse, which often results in visible indicators, emotional abuse may be more difficult to detect, yet the effects strike just as deeply. Emotional abuse can take a number of possible forms and result in elderly residents feeling shameful or humiliated. Further, if their emotional needs are not met, they may begin to exhibit signs of depression, such as isolation. Compounding the issue of identifying abuse is the reality that many of those afflicted suffer in silence. They may experience shame or humiliation, and conditions such as dementia may cause confusion or an inability to communicate with others.
The very nature of nursing home care – in which residents who are unable to perform activities such as dressing and feeding themselves are reliant upon the assistance of others – places individuals in a physically vulnerable position. Physical abuse can take many forms and is arguably the most easily identifiable form of elder abuse. Examples of physical abuse in nursing home environments include hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, squeezing, shaking, and the inappropriate use of restraints. Physical acts that may have lesser consequences on a younger, healthier individual can have dire repercussions for elderly residents, who may suffer falls or even broken bones as a result of abuse.
However shocking and disturbing it is to consider, sexual abuse of elders is a very real threat and may involve a nursing home employee, another resident, or a visitor to the grounds of a long-term care facility. Instances of sexual abuse may go undetected due to their sensitive nature. Individuals who have been harassed, threatened, or inappropriately touched may be hesitant to tell others for fear that they will be held responsible, or due to feelings of shame and embarrassment.
As financial scams targeting older individuals become more widespread and receive greater national attention, it has come to light that this type of abuse constitutes a large percentage of attacks against the elderly. A number of factors can combine to encourage predators to perceive these individuals as easy targets: they may have medical conditions such as dementia, leading to confusion and making them more gullible; they may be lonely and perceive ulterior motives as genuine care; and they may possess large assets.
Neglect in the nursing home environment may take the form of physical, medical, or emotional neglect. Examples of physical neglect include improper assistance with personal hygiene such as bathing, failure to respond to calls for assistance or to properly position someone who is bedridden, and lack of proper nutrition and hydration. Examples of medical neglect include failure to dispense appropriate medication, overmedication, failure to address illness or medical symptoms, and failure to adequately monitor the health of a resident. Examples of emotional neglect include the failure to provide activities or encourage social participation.