Residents of nursing homes are some of the most vulnerable people in society, often depending on nursing home staff for daily care that may include bathing, feeding, administering medication, or simply a steadying hand. It is heartbreaking to think that residents might suffer abuse at the hands of the very people responsible for their care.
Even if the offender in a case of abuse in a nursing home is not a member of the staff, the nursing home may still be held responsible for not adequately protecting residents. If you or anyone you care about has been a victim of mistreatment of any kind, it may be helpful to speak with a nursing home abuse attorney. You don’t have to go it alone.
A Problem too Widespread to Ignore
It is difficult to obtain accurate statistics on the frequency of abuse in nursing home facilities, also called elder abuse (though the victim might, in fact, be of any age) because it is likely that most cases go unreported. According to statistics gathered by the National Center on Elder Abuse, as few as 1 in 14, or even 1 in 24, elder abuse cases are ever reported to authorities. Nevertheless, many experts believe that approximately 1 in 10 nursing home residents experiences abuse, a figure that doesn’t include financial abuse. It is clear that abuse in nursing homes is a problem deserving of far greater public attention.
Examples of Elder Abuse
Abuse in nursing homes takes many forms. Some of the most common types of abuse are:
- Emotional abuse—any deliberate act that causes a nursing home resident emotional or mental anguish. Examples include threats, insults, intimidation, humiliation, and isolation.
- Physical abuse—any use of physical force that results in pain, injury or reduced abilities for the resident. If your loved one ever shows signs of physical abuse, such as bruises, cuts or a sudden increase in fearfulness, seek medical attention and contact authorities immediately.
- Neglect—any failure, deliberate or otherwise, to tend to a resident’s daily needs, such as feeding and personal hygiene.
- Sexual abuse—any act that makes a person feel as though he or she has been sexually violated, even if the act doesn’t include physical touching. Such acts include taking photographs of an undressed person without a medical reason for doing so.
Preventing Abuse in Care Facilities
There are steps you can take to help reduce the likelihood that those you love will become abuse victims. Most importantly, maintain frequent communication with your loved one’s caregivers, including face-to-face contact whenever possible. If you ever see any behavior, either from your loved one or the caregiver, that makes you uneasy, request a meeting with a staff supervisor immediately.
Seeking Help from a Lawyer
Even with the best preventive measures, no one can completely ensure elder abuse won’t occur. If you or anyone you love has suffered abuse, it is important to learn about the rights of the victim by seeking assistance from a nursing home abuse attorney. Bridgeport area residents have access to an experienced advocate for elder abuse victims, attorney Jim Miron. Call Jim at (203) 339-5991 to arrange a free consultation.