When you move a family member into a nursing home, you expect them to be treated with respect while receiving the quality care and attention they need and deserve. It has been said that a society can be judged by the way it treats it’s elderly and infirmed. You assume nursing staff is caring for its residents and that the living environment provides a healthy, dignified and enjoyable life. Unfortunately, many nursing homes aren’t providing adequate and appropriate healthcare for their aged or infirmed residents.
Corporate greed, understaffing, and poorly trained workers are some of the reasons why nursing home residents receive substandard care. Some nursing homes have been cited by the state and fined for providing substandard care and for failing to report cases of abuse and neglect. Because there are so many nursing homes that are allowing their residents to receive care that doesn’t meet state and federal standards, it is important that you educate yourself to ensure your loved one is receiving proper care.
Elder Abuse Facts You Need to Know
The American Society on Aging has highlighted a few very important facts pertaining to elder abuse all of which are important.
- Recent studies “suggest that one in ten older adults experience physical, psychological, and sexual abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.”
- “Elder abuse is associated with increased risk of premature morbidity and mortality.”
- “There may be more than 5 million elder abuse victims in the United States compared to 1.25 million victims of child abuse.”
- “Physical abuse ranks among the most frequent nursing home complaints received.”
- “Financial exploitation of elders is the most reported type of elder abuse.”
- “For every case of elder abuse that is reported, an estimated 23.5 are not.”
Given the fact that physical abuse and financial exploitation are among the most common forms of elder abuse that are occurring, below we have outlined for you some signs of each.
Signs of Physical Abuse
If you notice these changes in your aging relative who is living in a nursing home, it might be a warning sign of something inappropriate that should be addressed.
- He/she is having trouble sleeping.
- They seem depressed or confused.
- He/she is losing weight.
- They are displaying signs of trauma, like rocking back and forth.
- They become agitated easily or behave violently.
- They react defensively when someone approaches.
- They have become withdrawn.
- They stop taking part in activities they once enjoyed.
- They have unexplained skin-tears, bruises, burns, or scars.
- They have developed bed sores or other preventable conditions.
- They are poorly groomed and remain in soiled clothing.
[Source: National Institute on Aging].
If you have noticed one or more signs in your family member, you might consider asking them about it to see if you can get to the root of the problem. You might also consider bringing this to the attention of the head nurse and the facility administrator to investigate.
If you think your loved one is injured or is in danger, you should contact 911 for immediate help.
Signs of Financial Exploitation
Although physical abuse is the most common form of abuse that occurs in nursing homes, the elders residing in these facilities are also at risk of being financially abused or exploited. Some signs of elder financial abuse include:
- You notice unusual “activity in their bank accounts, including large, frequent or unexplained withdrawals.”
- “ATM withdrawals by an older person who has never used a debit or ATM card.” Some nursing home residents still manage their money and have access to it when they need it.
- “Withdrawals from bank accounts or transfers between accounts your loved one cannot explain.”
- “New joint account suddenly opened up.”
- “Sudden appearance of credit card balances.”
- “Sudden non-sufficient fund activity.”
- “Uncharacteristic attempts to wire large sums of money.”
- “Suspicious signatures on checks, or outright forgery.”
- “A caretaker, relative or friend who suddenly begins conducting financial transactions on behalf of an older person without proper documentation.”
[Source: Washington State Department of Financial Institutions].
Did your loved one suffer injuries from abusive or neglectful care they received in a nursing home?
If you believe your loved one who is living in a nursing home suffered an injury as a result of being abused or neglected, Larson Johnson, P.L. is here to help. Nursing home residents have statutory rights that include the right to live a life free from abuse and neglect and to receive adequate and appropriate healthcare. When a nursing home resident’s rights are violated and those violations cause injury, legal action should be taken. If you would like to speak to skilled and experienced nursing home litigators in Tampa, FL, Larson Johnson, P.L.’s lawyers are prepared to protect your loved one’s rights. If suspected abuse or neglect caused wrongful death, we will hold those responsible directly accountable. Please contact us today.
Larson Johnson, P.L. is located at:
2011 West Cleveland Street
Tampa, Florida 33606