When most people think about how individuals are hurt, they tend to imagine car crashes, truck crashes, slip and falls, and more. That’s because the thought of someone purposely hurting an elderly individual is heinous, wrong, and unacceptable.
Unfortunately, despite the public opinion on nursing home abuse, it’s something that still happens to this day. In fact, it’s more common than we want to think. Some studies show that roughly 10% of the elderly suffered from at least one incident of abuse.
In 1996, there were roughly 450,000 individuals 60 years or older who experienced some form of abuse or neglect. In 2003, more than 20,000 complaints were filed. Overall, including incidents of self-neglect, only 1 in every 14 incidents of elder abuse is reported.
The result? A problem that needs to be fixed.
Finding a way to stop nursing home abuse is important. Part of it is understanding what it is, how to recognize it, and knowing to report the issues. Another part is holding these negligent parties accountable, making sure your loved ones know that they have rights and shouldn’t fear reporting a facility.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse and When Does It Occur?
When choosing a nursing home for a loved one, most people look at how nice the facilities are, what amenities are available, and the general care that is provided. They don’t always take an in-depth look into the facility.
While a nice place is great to have, there needs to be some reassurance that the staff is properly trained and has passed a thorough background check. Also, if there’s a history of nursing home abuse, it must be explained.
Nursing home abuse can occur in a number of ways including physical, emotional, and financial.
- Physical abuse: This refers to any type of abuse that results in physical damages to the victim. For instance, if the staff does not adhere to proper turn schedules and pressure ulcers arise, this could be physical abuse. Similarly, tripping, hitting, and any physical altercation can be considered abuse.
- Emotional abuse: This refers to threatening actions, name calling, or any other altering of the victim’s feelings that causes nervousness, anxiety, and fear. Often times, this causes changes in behavior and in some cases, can be more damaging than physical abuse.
- Financial abuse: This refers to a situation in which a caregiver either unknowingly steals money from a victim, or uses the individual’s state of mind to convince them to give the caregiver access to accounts. As a result, there may be unusual purchases and strange spending habits.
Knowing what to look for if you suspect abuse or neglect is important. Here are some things that you want to keep an eye on:
- Signs of physical abuse may include bruises, sores, abrasions, pressure ulcers, broken bones, and more. Sudden change in weight can be a sign of malnourishment.
- Signs of emotional abuse may include disconnected behavior, change in mood towards specific caregivers, avoiding eye contact, not talking, and more.
- Signs of financial abuse may include strange and large purchases, change in who has access to accounts, frequent withdrawals of cash, and changes in spending habits.
What Can Be Done to Stop Nursing Home Abuse?
Stopping nursing home abuse is no easy task, but taking action against negligent facilities can be a deciding factor. Why? Because it holds these negligent facilities accountable for their actions. It brings their actions to public view and forces them to accept liability. It forces change.
When negligent nursing homes are put into a public view for their actions, they must adapt and change the standards. New management may take over. New hiring procedures are often put into place, and everything is focused on improved care for the residents.
You can help prevent nursing home from the very first day you check a nursing home by doing your research. However, when incidents do happen, it’s important for individuals to report everything they know about the situation and the facility.
The facility may be shut down as a result of the neglect, or if a new party takes over, it can become improved. While it may be a small step in some people’s minds, this is how we take action to stop elder abuse. Even one facility at a time. We can incite change.
Hiring a Firm to Help You Seek Justice
Most people think about the legal process as a way to seek compensation. As true as this is—and compensation is helpful in recovering monetary damages—it’s not the only focus. It’s about seeking justice and forcing the responsible party to accept their liability.
It’s holding the negligent party both financially and morally accountable. It’s about showing other victims that there is a way to right the wrongs they’ve endured. It’s about bettering the future for others.
At Brown & Barron, it is our ultimate goal to help victims of nursing home abuse in and out of the courtroom. Our Baltimore nursing home abuse attorneys put our best foot forward in the protection of our clients’ rights, guiding them throughout the entire process.
Our firm has significant experience helping individuals in similar situations—suffering after the wrongdoings of a nursing home they once trusted. We know what needs to be done to secure justice and we’ll stop at nothing until we give you peace of mind.
If you or someone you love was a victim of nursing home abuse, we encourage you to contact our firm at (410) 698-1717 to discuss your potential options. We offer free consultations.