Nursing Home Abuse
Lancaster Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
Families often place elder loved ones in nursing homes so they can be given the care they need and the attention they deserve. But sadly, each year in the United States there are over one million reports of elder abuse by nursing home staff. This number is growing rapidly due to the growth of the U.S. elderly population with approximately 34 million people over the age of 65 needing assisted living services such as that of nursing homes. The issue is so widespread that legislatures in all 50 states have passed some form of elder abuse prevention laws. Nursing home abuse is not always reported because the resident fears the consequences. In many cases, the elderly individuals being abused have to rely on the abusers and, therefore, do not want to accuse the abusers or the nursing homes.
The Pain Of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home neglect and abuse can result in wrongful death, broken bones, bruising, malnutrition, dehydration, or infections from untreated bedsores (Bedsores are ulcers caused by a constant amount of pressure on a specific area of the body. If left untreated, these sores can develop ulcers that reach the muscle, bone or tendon). The trauma suffered due to such mistreatment can be life threatening.
Most types of personal injury cases due to nursing home neglect are easily preventable, but reversing the damage becomes increasingly difficult if untreated. Cases of negligence or misconduct on the part of nursing aides, medical providers and nursing homes are increasing in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as they are throughout the United States.
To determine whether or not you have a nursing home negligence case please contact us by filling our online form or contact us by phone at 888-243-4326. If you have additional questions please utilize the free information center provided by the American Justice Network.
Why Does Nursing Home Abuse Happen?
Many nursing home residents are vulnerable and can no longer care for themselves. The cruel reality is that sometimes people prey on those who are vulnerable and defenseless. Nursing home abuse can occur from a staff member or even another resident. Abuse from other residents could result from the negligence of nursing home staff or security.
Elder neglect may occur if there are not enough health professionals to care for the residents. In understaffed nursing homes, it’s your loved ones who suffer. Some assisted living facilities are poorly staffed with employees who have inadequate training or are prone to violence.
Some elderly victims won’t complain about the behavior they’re enduring out of fear of repercussions. When people aren’t aware that abuse is happening, nursing homes continue getting away with it.
Types and Signs of Elder Abuse
Nursing home abuse is not always easy to discover, but it does help to know the warning signs. Some signs are subtle while others are more noticeable. Often, victims become depressed, easily agitated, lose weight or have high anxiety. If you notice any warning signs, talk to your loved one and let them know that help is available.
It’s important for you to explain to your loved one that they should feel comfortable talking to you about any deficiencies in their care. They also must understand that you will take those concerns seriously.
Often times, the victims of physical abuse are the ones who are most vulnerable. This includes those living with disabilities or dementia. It is important for you to know common signs of physical abuse which include:
- unexplained contusions (bruises), burns, cuts, or broken bones
- frequent injuries or abrasions
- unexplained agitation or fearfulness
- bloody or torn clothing
- frequent arguments or tension between caregiver or resident
- staff does not let family members meet alone with resident
Sadly, sexual abuse can happen in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. It is not uncommon for sexual abuse to occur from another resident. Common types of sexual abuse in nursing homes include:
- forced nudity
- exposure to sexual materials (pornography or otherwise)
- unwanted sexual acts
- sexual coercion
Emotional abuse is when nursing home staff members engage in inappropriate or aggressive behavior that begins to affect the mental well-being of residents. Emotional abuse can take the form of verbal degradation, emotional manipulation, and threats. Psychological abuse is not as obvious as other types of abuse because there is often no physical evidence. Common signs of emotional abuse in nursing homes include:
- mood swings
- unexplained withdrawal from normal activities
- low self-esteem
- involuntary seclusion
Financial abuse is when another individual takes or uses the money or property of an elder with intent to defraud that individual. In some cases, financial abuse may occur from another resident. Be sure to look for any odd changes in the financial situations of your loved ones. Examples of financial abuse and exploitation are:
- cashing of checks without permission
- forging a signature
- stealing cash or possessions
- deceiving an elderly person into signing contracts or wills
Many cases of nursing home neglect go unreported and sometimes unnoticed. If you believe your loved one has been the victim of neglect, you have legal rights to pursue litigation. Common signs of neglect in nursing homes include:
- lack of proper personal hygiene
- obvious malnutrition or unexplained weight loss
- in need of medical care
- bed sores
- weight loss
- dressed in dirty/torn clothing
Self-neglect is when an elderly person who is responsible for his or her own care and well-being refuses to reasonably care for him or herself. Elderly self-neglect can occur for various reasons like financial, physical, or mental health issues. It is the most common form of senior citizen neglect. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most difficult to uncover and rectify. Examples of elderly self-neglect include:
- malnutrition & dehydration
- unclean or unsafe living conditions
- social isolation
- home infestations
- hoarding (pets, possessions, or trash)
- self-deprivation of medical attention
- inability to maintain assets or property
- lack of appropriate shelter or groceries
- weight loss
Abandonment is the desertion of a nursing home resident in an instant when it would be considered unreasonable by a sensible person. Abandonment victims tend to be residents who have a hard time communicating. These residents may also be physically unable to reach buttons to call for help. Abandonment is often hard to detect, but common signs of abandonment include:
- change in mood or behavior
- unexplained weight loss
- sudden change in health
- strong smell of fecal matter or urine on body or in living area
Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Lancaster, PA
No one should be abused or neglected. Abuse and neglect can result in physical and mental harm, and at times, wrongful death. If your loved one has been a victim of elder abuse or neglect, contact an attorney to discuss your rights. A Lancaster nursing home abuse lawyer at Haggerty & Silverman will be there for you and your loved ones during this difficult time. Our legal professionals will handle your case as you and your loved ones focus on healing. We have offices in Lancaster, PA where you can speak with our elder abuse attorneys. Please do not hesitate to call us at 717-397-3200 or fill out our online contact form.Nursing Home Abuse FAQs