Many families believe that they are sending loved ones to a great place where they will be cared for by kind, caring individuals when they choose a nursing home. However, the reality could be far different than the ideal. Many nursing homes have highly qualified, trained professionals who are compassionate, caring and have a special ability to handle the elderly, but other facilities do not check their employees carefully and may employ those who are abusive. The ugly truth is that the elderly are one of the most vulnerable classes in our society and are subject to abuse in their own homes as well as in nursing homes. Many nursing homes are ripe for patient abuse when the staff is overworked, underpaid and pushed to their breaking points in dealing with all the different needs of their elderly patients.
TYPES OF ABUSE IN NURSING HOMES
The three most common types of abuse seen in nursing homes are physical, mental and financial. Physical abuse takes place when an elderly patient is subject to beatings, sexual assault, forced ingestion of food or medication or suffers the failure of the staff to give food or medication. Many patients are not bathed on a regular basis, leading to health issues. Diseases like gout or bed sores may not be treated. Patients may go unsupervised for long periods of time, exposing them the health and safety hazards. Mental abuse in nursing homes consists primarily of verbal threats or intimidation in which the staff threatens the elderly with punishment or denial of privileges if the patient does not cooperate with their requests. Mental abuse also includes humiliation, belittling and insults such as when patients are told their loved ones do not love them or that they are old and useless. Financial abuse can occur when staff helps themselves to the possessions of the patient or steals personal information in order to access the patient’s bank accounts or obtain credit in the patient’s name. If patients have cash available to them, the staff may attempt to gain the sympathy of the patient in order to have the patient give away money. Some individuals have even managed to get the patient to include that person in a will.
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WHY DO THEY DO IT AND WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Why do people who are supposed to care turn on your loved one? Many nursing homes are understaffed and employees are grossly underpaid for the type of work they are required to do. Nursing homes with large percentages of patients with dementia often have larger percentages of abuse of all types. Do you have a loved one in a facility where the care may questionable, or has your loved one been injured while there? If you do, please contact the legal team of Bernstein and Poisson in Las Vegas. Their years of experience in handling elder abuse and negligence lawsuits will help bring you peace of mind and ensure that your loved one gets the attention and care he or she deserves.