If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of physical abuse in a nursing home, you might want to seek the legal services of a nursing home abuse lawyer. Residents of nursing homes are often placed in vulnerable positions due to their age and health and have protected rights.
Physical Abuse in Nursing Homes
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), physical abuse is the use of physical force or violence to cause acute or chronic illness, functional impairment, pain, injury, distress, or death. Physical abuse may include:
- Striking a resident with or without a weapon.
- Choking, suffocation, or blocking of airways.
- Hitting, kicking, or beating.
- Biting, scratching, pinching or burning.
- Pushing, shoving, shaking, or slapping.
- Punching, stomping, or beating.
Compared to other forms of abuse, physical abuse can lead to severe and even life-threatening injuries. Unfortunately, it is also more likely to go unnoticed due to the helplessness of the victims.
Types of Physical Abuse
Actions that constitute physical abuse of the elderly fall under one of three categories of elder mistreatment. According to HelpGuide, these include:
- Active abuse. This type of abuse is intentional. The perpetrator deliberately injures the victim or causes them to experience pain.
- Misuse of restraints. Outside of medical reasons, it is illegal, under federal laws, for nursing homes to use restraints. Yet, some facilities use restraints to discipline patients.
- Physical neglect. Failure to maintain a hygienic environment for patients to stay or provide adequate clothing, sufficient food, and liquids is a form of physical abuse. This is because general neglect can threaten the patient’s physical well-being.
Abusers in Nursing Homes
Generally, the perpetrators include the following groups of people.
- Nursing home caregivers. Typically, those directly responsible for the patient’s medical care and personal care are most likely to be violent toward them.
- Other residents. A resident can be physically abusive toward fellow residents in the absence of the staff and other family members. This is why nursing homes have a legal duty of care to create an environment free of harassment and violence.
- Family members. While this group mostly flies under the radar, they are in a unique position to commit acts of physical violence against a resident during visitation.
Signs Your Loved One May Be a Victim of Physical Abuse
Fortunately, the warning signs of physical abuse are much easier to spot than psychological, sexual, financial, and emotional abuse. They may include:
- Fractured bones and sprains.
- Depression and anxiety.
- Abrasions around the wrists and ankles.
- Black eyes.
- Scalding, cigarette burns, and other general evidence of burning.
- Recurring and unexplained injury.
- Dehydration, malnutrition, and substantial weight loss.
- Medical staff refuses to leave patient alone with family.
Holding Nursing Homes Liable for Physical Abuse
Nursing homes have a duty of care to provide a safe environment for residents. So, when a patient suffers physical abuse while in their care, they can be held accountable and ordered by the courts to pay compensation. A nursing home can be liable on the following grounds:
- Failure to investigate staff prior to hiring or train them properly.
- Failure to supervise staff and notice any ongoing abusive interactions.
- Failure to employ sufficient staff; this may cause employees to abuse residents out of being overworked and stressed.
- Failure to actively and effectively respond to claims of abuse.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-934-6555
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Today
Physical abuse of the elderly in nursing homes and assisted living facilities is unlawful. The abusers must be held accountable and made to pay damages. If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of physical abuse, you should hire our nursing home abuse lawyers.
We are on a mission to provide personal support and legal counsel. We will fight for justice for you or your loved one and pursue compensation. We work on a contingency basis, so you have nothing to lose since you pay nothing upfront and are charged only if we win your case. Call us at (800) 933-4159 to discuss your case for free.