Reaching old age deserves nothing but reverence and respect from our fellow community members. But too often, people see this as a vulnerability and an opportunity to exploit and abuse. Recent studies show that about 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ will experience some form of elderly abuse. So how do you prevent, recognize and report this terrible trend?
Elder abuse can take the form of physical, sexual, psychological, or resident-to-resident abuse, as well as financial exploitation, or gross neglect. Nursing home neglect is the failure to provide goods and services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness. This includes the lack of attention to the needs of a resident or failure to provide a safe and clean living environment. These forms of abuse can have significant effects, such as physical injury, illnesses, infections, post-traumatic stress, depression, or extreme anxiety.
The big issue is that many nursing home residents refrain from reporting these issues out of fear or due to mental or physical disabilities. It is therefore vital to take note of the following signs of nursing home abuse:
- Extreme weight loss
- Open wounds or bed sores
- Chronic infections
- Disappearance of personal items
- Unaccounted for depletion of finances
- Argumentative or fearful behavior toward nursing home staff
- Inadequate explanation for an unexpected disability or death
- Sleepiness or confusion not associated with a previously diagnosed condition
- Delayed access to loved one or the refusal of a staff member to leave during a visit
- Unexplained or sudden injuries including bruises, broken bones, cuts, abrasions, and burns
- Patient withdrawal from normal activities, sudden change in mood, or other signs of depression
Thankfully, all states now have both local and federal agencies for investigating incidences of nursing home abuse. Also, the National Center of Elder Abuse can provide valuable information on your available state agencies and regional Medicaid Term Care ombudsmen. Any ongoing abuse needing immediate reaction should be reported to law enforcement after immediate removal of the patient. For information about seeking compensation for any type of nursing home injury, contact the lawyers at NursingHomeAbuseAwareness.com to request a free attorney review today.
Finding the right nursing home is the ultimate key to preventing abuse. So before starting your search, determine what type of care you need, and look for facilities that specialize in those areas. Next, you’ll want to research the reputation of a nursing home by calling your local state licensing agency or health department, reviewing the facility’s ratings on Medicare.gov, or contacting your local long-term care ombudsman. Finally, in visiting possible nursing homes, be mindful of signs of abuse.
Elders are reserved the right to be treated with dignity and respect, to be free from physical and mental abuse, to have their possessions secure, including financial resources, and to file a complaint. Any violations of these rights can subject the nursing home to citations, fines, loss of license, possible criminal prosecution, or victim compensation. So if you or your loved one has been suffered abuse, take action. We all need to help ensure that our times in nursing homes are as enjoyable and comfortable as they should be.
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