Neglect is the most common type of nursing home abuse, which includes self-neglect and abandonment. Emotional abuse is also common, but is the most difficult type of nursing home abuse to prove.
These are just two of the six types of elder abuse that occur in nursing homes. Self-neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and financial abuse are also serious problems in care facilities.
Neglect In Nursing Homes Is Considered Abuse
Neglect is the only type of nursing home abuse that can be unintentional. It occurs when nursing home staff fail to provide adequate care to meet a resident’s needs. These can be medical, physical, social, or emotional needs.
Unintentional causes of neglect can vary. However, understaffing, lack of training, mismanagement, and other issues commonly contribute to this type of abuse. While the immediate caregivers may not be intentionally neglectful, the liability still lies with the nursing home for creating this atmosphere.
In some cases, neglect is intentional. Staff do not like an unruly or difficult resident or their complex medical needs, as they are hard to deal with competently. As a result, the resident does not get the proper care they need.
Self-Neglect Is a Common Type of Elder Abuse
Another factor that contributes to nursing home neglect is self-neglect. Outside of nursing homes, self-neglect is the most common type of elder abuse. One reason many residents move into a long-term care facility is that they can no longer provide the care they require to meet their own basic needs.
In a nursing home, the staff’s responsibilities include helping residents bathe, wash their hair, and handle other self-care tasks. When there is not enough time to go around because of staffing concerns, these are often some of the first services that suffer.
The nursing home resident’s self-neglect turns into a type of nursing home abuse and neglect because the caregiver fails to uphold their obligation to the resident.
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Emotional Abuse Leaves No Physical Scars but Causes Injuries
Emotional abuse refers to deliberate actions to cause fear, anxiety, anguish, or grief. An individual can communicate lies or misstatements to cause emotional distress. Changes in behavior such as isolation or withdrawal can be a sign that your loved one is a victim..
This type of abuse occurs more often in nursing homes than we realize. Emotional abuse can range from social isolation to threats and humiliation. and it can be very difficult to prove. Especially when the victim is unreliable because of medical conditions or cognitive decline.
Emotional abuse sometimes occurs together with other types of abuse. This may make it easier to identify, but the threats involved with emotional abuse can also make it more difficult to get residents to report physical or sexual abuse or negligent behavior.
Other Common Types of Abuse in Nursing Homes
Some of the most common types of nursing home abuse include:
Physical abuse of a nursing home resident can include any type of physical interaction that causes injury to the resident. Hitting, kicking, slapping, pinching, biting, shoving, and even unwarranted restraint are all examples of physical abuse. Residents may require emergency medical care and even sustain life-threatening injuries from physical abuse.
It is easy for an elderly individual to be physically harmed because they often cannot fight back. Seniors have fragile health and bodies that make it easy for others to cause harm.
Sexual abuse in a nursing home is hard to think about, but it sadly occurs with relative frequency. Ill-intentioned staff or visitors victimize residents through sexual battery, sexual assault, rape, and other crimes.
Sexual abusers in nursing homes often target residents with cognitive disabilities or dementia or who are nonverbal. This condition allows them to conceal their abuse in many cases.
Seniors are easy targets for financial abuse. Unscrupulous individuals can wrongfully use an elderly person’s assets and money for their own personal gain. If you notice irregular bank statements or monetary transfers regarding your elderly loved one, it is important to check that no one is taking financial advantage of them.
Methods of financial abuse may include unauthorized use of a credit or debit card, stealing cash or checks, pawning or selling valuables, billing residents for unnecessary services or services they never received, or other similar activities.
Why Does Nursing Home Abuse Happen?
Deciding to place your loved ones in a nursing home can be a difficult decision. It is hard to relinquish the care of your parent or grandparent to someone else. We trust nursing homes to provide the appropriate care with skill and compassion. Unfortunately, because seniors are fragile and more susceptible to manipulation, certain individuals might abuse their power,
This often happens because nursing home staff is overworked, underpaid, and poorly trained. Workers may take their frustrations out on the vulnerable patients in their care.
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How Common Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is a common occurrence. Estimates suggest that 1 in 10 elderly adults experience abuse of some type, and only 1 in 14 cases are ever reported.
Even with the hundreds of thousands of reports of elder abuse investigated each year, we likely still do not know the full story. Many cases are never reported, and many seniors may endure abuse and neglect silently.
What Should You Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse?
It is critical that you report nursing home abuse if you believe your loved one is a victim. You should also make sure to file a formal report with the facility. It is only by reporting abuse and holding facilities accountable that we can improve safety for our elderly loved ones.
Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney to Review Your Case
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, our attorneys offer free consultation to families who have endured nursing home abuse or neglect. We may be able to help you recover some of your losses, including the pain and suffering for the ordeal your loved one faced.
We do not shy away from tough cases, and you do not pay unless we recover compensation. If your loved one was abused in an elder care facility, it is important to seek legal representation to ensure their rights are upheld.