Nursing Home Negligence
When families place their loved ones in a nursing home facility, they expect that the caregivers will provide compassionate care. This is especially true when the nursing home resident is confined to a wheelchair or debilitated by a mental health disease such as Alzheimer’s. But sadly, thousands of nursing home residents suffer abuse each year at the hands of people they trust and depend on for basic needs.
According to the Nursing Home Abuse Center, a recent study of 2,000 nursing homes found that 44 percent of these facilities reported at least one incident of abuse, and 95 percent of the nursing homes reported multiple incidences of neglect.
How Is Nursing Home Abuse Defined?
Nursing home abuse occurs when caregivers at a facility physically or psychologically abuse a patient with the intent of demeaning and exerting authority over that person. Understaffing is one of the main factors that contributes to nursing home abuse, because the burden of taking care of so many patients can be overwhelming, and frustration can quickly lead to abuse. But many nursing homes also fail to train their staff on how to properly handle the stress and the demands of the job.
The most common types of nursing home abuse include:
- Physical Abuse – This includes caregivers who punch, kick, slap, choke and restrain patients during an altercation.
- Verbal Abuse – This includes caregivers who yell and scream at patients, as well as caregivers who curse at patients, ridicule them and hurl insults that are designed to intimidate and control residents.
- Psychological Abuse – This includes behavior such as withholding medication, telling a patient that they are worthless, isolating a patient so that they can’t communicate with other residents, and convincing them that no one loves or cares about them.
- Financial Abuse – This is a lesser known or talked about type of abuse that occurs when caregivers take advantage of their position and access, and begin stealing a patient’s valuables, persuading a patient to write checks, or coercing a patient into buying them gifts.
Sadly, many nursing home residents are too weak to fight back, and some are plagued with mental health issues that make it difficult for them to communicate to their families what is being done to them.
What Are Some Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?
In some instances, a nursing home resident will not show any signs that he or she is being abused, which means that the abuse can persist for years. But many residents will show signs of abuse that can include:
- Physical Marks – Bruises, contusions and welts on a resident’s body are often an indication of physical abuse.
- Lack of Hygiene – A nursing home resident whose body and clothes are dirty may be an indication that caregivers are intentionally subjecting that person to psychological abuse by not providing basic services.
- Emotional Withdrawal – A nursing home resident that stops communication with family members and visitors, and withdraws from social activities for a long period of time could be reacting to abuse.
- Unfamiliar Expenses – Family members who analyze a resident’s financial statements may notice unfamiliar or unexplained expenses for items that the resident wouldn’t normally buy.
Abuse Is a Crime
It is never acceptable for someone you love to suffer through physical, psychological or financial abuse at a nursing home. But filing a claim can be challenging, especially if the nursing home facility’s admission contract contains an arbitration clause that could force you to arbitrate your claim instead of taking it to a court of law. The Law Offices of Duane O. King can help you get justice after your loved one is abused at a nursing home. Call us today to schedule a consultation.