According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, 44 percent of nursing home residents in a study reported abuse at their facility. Ninety-five percent of the residents in the survey said that they were the victims of neglect or that they observed neglect toward another resident. These numbers show that abuse in elderly care facilities is all too common.
Staff Member Abuse of Residents
More than half of the staff members at nursing homes admit that they mistreated residents during the year before the study. This mistreatment includes neglect, physical violence, or mental abuse. The staff members claim that about 66% of the incidents of mistreatment was negligence as opposed to abuse.
Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) provide much of the hands-on patient care at nursing homes. More than half of them admit to yelling at elderly residents. Almost one out of four CNAs say that they insult or curse at residents, and 17 percent of CNAs acknowledge that they shove, grab, or push residents.
About one-third of nursing homes receive citations for violating federal laws that protect residents from harm. Around 10 percent of long-term care facilities get cited for incidents that put residents in life-threatening situations, injure them, or cause severe injury.
The Scale of Nursing Home Abuse in the United States
A Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report on nursing home care states that there are 1.3 million residents in nursing homes in America. Experts suggest that the prevalence of abuse in nursing homes, community care homes, and assisted living facilities might be even higher than reported. Many residents are afraid to report abuse because they do not want to suffer retaliation. Some of the residents have Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive issues and cannot report abuse.
Others Who Abuse Residents in Long-Term Care
Your loved ones who live in elderly care facilities can suffer abuse at the hands of staff, but others can harm the residents as well. Some residents abuse other residents. The facility has a duty to protect its residents from abusers, including from other residents.
Close friends or relatives can mistreat or exploit the elderly. Anyone in a position of trust, like a financial advisor or member of the clergy, has the potential to harm a resident.
Types of Abuse In Elderly Care Facilities
The National Institute on Aging explains that there are several kinds of elder abuse, including:
- Physical abuse: shoving, punching, slapping, or grabbing.
- Neglect: not receiving the care he or she needs, including adequate quality and amounts of food and liquids, clean clothes and bedding, medications, healthcare, personal hygiene, and other necessities.
- Sexual abuse: including both forcible sexual conduct against the resident’s wishes and sexual conduct with a resident who cannot give consent due to intellectual impairment or state of consciousness.
- Emotional abuse: saying hateful things to the resident, threatening, yelling, cursing, harassing, or belittling him or her. Ignoring the older person and preventing him or her from seeing visitors is psychological abuse.
- Abandonment: being left to fend for himself or herself when he or she does not have the resources or ability to do so.
- Financial exploitation: stealing the resident’s Social Security and other retirement benefits, changing the beneficiaries or owners on his or her legal documents and assets without his or her authorization, and using his or her bank accounts and credit cards for one’s own purposes.
- Healthcare fraud: doctors, hospitals, and other people in the healthcare industry billing the resident for care that he or she did not receive, overcharging him or her, double-billing, and submitting false Medicare or Medicaid claims.
You should not ignore the signs of abuse of the elderly. The mistreatment seldom stops on its own.
Indications of Possible Elder Abuse
You should observe your loved one closely when you visit at the long-term care facility. Talk with him or her to find out what is happening if you see any of these symptoms:
- Unexplained injuries, like bruises, cuts, burns, or broken bones.
- Becoming fearful, withdrawn, angry, or violent.
- Clothes or bedding look soiled, or the resident looks untidy or has body odor.
- Loss of weight without a known cause.
- Dry skin, chapped lips, or other signs of dehydration.
You might need to report an incident to the nursing home administrator, notify law enforcement, or get medical attention for your loved one.
Getting Legal Help
Abuse in elderly care facilities is frightening to anyone with a loved one in care. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we take on problem nursing homes to make them stop hurting your loved one and to make them pay for the harm they caused. You should not have to pay for injuries someone else caused. We are not afraid of tough cases.
You will not have to pay upfront legal fees to get our help. We handle nursing home abuse cases on a contingency fee, which means that our legal fees will come out of the settlement or court award. We do not get paid until you win.
Call us today at (800) 842-6336 for a free consultation. There is no obligation.