Physical, sexual, and financial exploitation of elders can all be considered nursing home abuse. The perpetrators of abuse in nursing homes can be caregivers, visitors, other residents, third-party contractors, and others. Abuse can have devastating consequences for elderly and vulnerable nursing home residents, causing injury, emotional trauma, and, in some cases, an untimely death.
Knowing that your loved one has suffered from abuse can feel heartbreaking and shocking. However, there are state and federal laws that intend to protect nursing home residents, such as the Nursing Home Reform Act. If your loved one suffered injuries due to nursing home abuse and neglect, you could potentially take legal action against the nursing home.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse can involve many different actions and behaviors that harm an individual. Some types of nursing home abuse and neglect include:
Physical violence and abuse refer to deliberate acts intended to harm a resident and can include kicking, slapping, punching, and shoving them. Physical abuse can be easy to detect as it leaves various signs on the body, including:
Emotional or Verbal Abuse
Verbal and emotional abuse can be extremely damaging to a vulnerable senior and lead to mental health problems as well as physical decline. Emotional and verbal abuse can include calling the senior names, humiliating them, or ignoring their requests for assistance. Emotional abuse leaves no marks on the body and can be tough to detect.
However, if you notice that your loved one withdraws emotionally or seems fearful and anxious, they could suffer from emotional abuse.
General neglect can put a nursing home resident’s life in danger. If the nursing home lacks staff, residents may lack help with basic daily tasks, including personal hygiene, eating, and drinking. Residents suffering from general neglect can see their health and overall condition decline rapidly and may suffer from dehydration, as well as malnutrition.
In many cases, they can develop bedsores if they are not moved frequently enough.
If your loved one appears unkempt or is wearing stained clothing, they may suffer from general neglect in their nursing home. Sudden unexplained loss of weight or hair can also point to neglect.
Sexual abuse of the elderly can include physical sexual acts, as well as many other acts and behaviors, including:
- Taking sexual videos
- Taking sexual photographs
- Unwanted nudity
- Forcing a senior to watch sexual acts or videos
According to the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, residents with cognitive decline are in particular danger of suffering from sexual abuse in the nursing home. Signs of sexual abuse can be a senior developing sexually transmitted diseases, bruising and bleeding in the genital area, and bloody underwear. Nursing home residents can also suffer from other types of abuse, including financial exploitation.
Steps You Can Take After Discovering Abuse
Finding out that your loved one has been abused at their nursing home can come as a shock. However, it is important to remember that there could be legal recourse. There are a number of ways in which you can protect your loved one’s legal rights and pursue justice and compensation on their behalf.
Your next steps could be to:
- Make sure your loved one is safe from immediate danger.
- Seek medical advice.
- Report the abuse to the nursing home and your state’s adult protective services.
- Move your loved one to a different nursing home.
- Collect evidence such as photographs and medical reports of any injuries.
- Consider hiring a nursing home abuse attorney to consider your legal options.
You may also wish to keep a journal where you record your loved one’s injuries, medical treatments, and recovery. A lawyer can advise you on your next steps to strengthen your case.
Compensation You Could Seek
If your loved one suffered abuse in their nursing home, you may be able to hold the nursing home accountable and seek compensation. While no amount of money can turn back time, compensation could help with medical and other expenses and make life a little easier for your loved one. Compensation can include awards for:
- Medical bills
- Medical devices
- Transportation costs
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Past and future mental anguish
An Attorney Can Fight for Your Loved One’s Rights
If you have to wonder what is considered nursing home abuse, you are likely facing a difficult situation where a loved one has not received that care. Relatives of nursing home residents can feel powerless when considering standing up to a business or institution. However, we could help you pursue justice and compensation.
Call Bernstein & Poisson today for a free consultation with a lawyer on our dedicated team. You can reach someone at (702) 633-3333.