Families often make the difficult decision to place their loved one in a nursing home so that they will receive the care, attention, and supervision they need in order to stay as healthy as possible. Even after families perform due diligence regarding their selection of a nursing home, they may ultimately find that their elderly loved one suffered from some form of physical abuse.
If your elderly loved one suffered injuries due to physical abuse in a nursing home, consider how a Los Angeles physical abuse lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you understand your legal rights. Reach out to us by dialing at (800) 842-6336.
The physical abuse of any other person, under any circumstances, is a criminal act. However, there are additional laws that apply to the abuse of elderly residents of nursing homes. These federal laws attempt to provide additional protections regarding the safety of our seniors.
Specifically, the H.R.3545 – Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 provides very requirements regarding the treatment of elderly residents in nursing homes and how they should all receive proper care and supervision.
Additionally, the Elder Justice Act of 2009 regulates how elderly residents of nursing homes should receive proper care and treatment. Any violation of these federal laws or any violation of any state laws that address the physical abuse of another person can result in serious consequences for the nursing home.
Physical Abuse in Nursing Homes
There is nothing more heartbreaking and terrifying for a family of a loved one in a nursing home to learn that their family member was the victim of physical abuse. The Journal of Gerontology defines physical elder abuse as any type of harm inflicted upon a resident living within the nursing home.
Some examples of physical abuse in nursing homes include pushing, shoving, slapping, burning, hitting, scratching, or physically restraining any elderly person. Even minor amounts of physical abuse towards elderly residents in a nursing home can result in catastrophic medical complications or even death.
For a free legal consultation with a Physical Abuse Lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (800) 794-0444
Elderly Residents Vulnerable to Physical Abuse
While all residents of nursing homes remain vulnerable to physical abuse, some may live at a higher risk because they suffer from serious medical conditions that make them frailer and more unable to fight back against abuse. Additionally, many elderly residents of nursing homes have neurocognitive disorders such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, making it challenging for them to actually remember the circumstances surrounding your physical abuse.
In these specific cases, they may not remember the abuse at all, and we not remember how they developed freezing or injuries to their bodies. Due to their frailty and dependence on the nursing home staff, elderly residents of nursing homes remain particularly vulnerable to several different types of physical abuse. While many people think that physical abuse may include only direct physical harm, abuse can also include the withholding of nutrition, hydration, or withholding assistance for daily physical tasks.
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Symptoms of Physical Abuse of the Elderly in Nursing Homes
There are many signs and symptoms of physical abuse of the elderly in nursing homes. You should always take the time to examine whether or not your loved one has any of these symptoms of physical abuse while they remain a resident of a nursing home.
- Unexplained bruises
- Unexplained cuts
- Unexplained burns
- Broken or fractured bones
- Signs of forceable restraint on wrists, arms, ankles or legs
- Internal organ damage or internal bleeding with no known cause
- Traumatic brain injury
- Malnourishment or dehydration (in some cases, the withholding of food and water is a way to attempt to achieve compliance among the elderly in a nursing home)
- Development of a sexually transmitted disease
- Difficulty walking or sitting (signs of sexual trauma and abuse)
- Fear or overall anxiety of nursing home staff
- Mood changes including unusual outbursts of anger or sadness
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Withdrawal from typical social activities
- Regressive behaviors including thumb-sucking or rocking back and forth
It is important to note that because some elderly residents of nursing homes suffer from cognitive challenges, they may simply not remember the abuse that occurred, or may not remember the exact circumstances regarding the physical abuse.
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Reporting Physical Abuse of Elderly Residents of Nursing Homes
If you have a strong suspicion or proof that your elderly loved one suffered abuse in a nursing home, you should immediately contact the management of the nursing home. A protocol should exist within the nursing home to handle these types of situations regarding physical abuse. If you feel your elderly loved one remains in danger in the nursing home, you have the legal right to remove them to protect them from additional harm.
Also, you have the legal right to contact law enforcement if you suspect physical abuse. Finally, while the National Center on Elder Abuse will not directly investigate claims of physical elder abuse, they have resources and guidance available for families that suspect their elderly loved one suffered physical abuse.
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Learn How a Los Angeles Physical Abuse Lawyer Can Help
The entire reason you placed your elderly loved one in a nursing home is so that they would remain protected from any kind of harm and receive the attention necessary to ensure their safety and health.
If you suspect that your elderly loved one suffered any kind of physical abuse as a resident of a nursing home, learn how a Los Angeles physical abuse lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you seek justice and compensation for their injuries. Call us at (800) 842-6336.