The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there were there were 1.4 million nursing home residents in the United States as of 2014. And although most of these residents are treated with the utmost care and respect, some medical professionals abuse their power and put others’ lives at risk.
As the U.S. population rapidly ages, it is important that we all understand the dangers of nursing home abuse and neglect. There’s nothing worse than seeing someone you love in pain, which is why elder abuse can be such a painful experience. However, there are ways to fight back, and attorneys can often help victims and their families get the justice they deserve. The best way to navigate through any nursing home abuse case is to educate yourself and hire an elder abuse attorney.
In this two-part series, we will explore the ways attorneys can help fight back against elder abuse. Here are the three main types of abuse that can warrant a nursing home abuse lawsuit.
Physical abuse means that the medical professional in question inflicted pain upon the victim during their stay. These charges typically include assault and/or battery, but any form of physical violence and pain infliction methods are categorized as physical abuse. The main signs of physical abuse are cuts, abrasions, bruises, bite marks, burns, scratches, and any visual injuries that seem mysterious, sudden, or deliberate. Secondary signs include rapid weight loss and behavior changes.
If you notice any of these signs in your loved one, they may be a victim of physical abuse, and it may be time to start looking for nursing home abuse attorneys.
Another common type of nursing home abuse is emotional, which unfortunately has less obvious signs. As a result, it is also more difficult to prove in court, though it is no less painful for the victims. Emotional abuse can be both verbal and non-verbal, but it usually involves the humiliation, degradation, intimidation, or ridicule of the victim by the staff.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is neglect, which can include isolation from other residents, confinement, and medical malpractice. In extreme cases, nursing home staff have completely ignored the patients in their care, leaving them to waste away from lack of food, proper hygiene, and medical care. For patients with mobility or communication issues, neglect can be particularly devastating. Bed sores are a common sign of neglect among nursing home patients.
How To Spot Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
When you visit your loved one in a nursing home, take note of their mood and overall demeanor. If they seem depressed, quiet, withdrawn, or otherwise different than usual, it could be a sign of abuse. Other signs include low self-esteem, changes in sleeping routines, strange injuries, and lack of eye contact. Keeping an eye on these possible signs is crucial.
These are just three types of elder abuse sometimes seen in nursing homes. Keep an eye out for the next post, where we’ll discuss some of the less common — although just as important — types of nursing home abuse.