We owe those service members who protected our country with their lives the respect and gratitude they deserve. The veterans of our armed forces should receive quality living conditions and care as they age.
Unfortunately, many elderly veterans suffer neglect and abuse in nursing homes or other Veterans Affairs (VA) Community Living Centers. If your elderly loved one is a veteran and suffered abuse or neglect while in a nursing home or VA Community Living Center, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to find out how a Forest Park veterans neglect and abuse lawyer can help your elderly veteran ensure their legal rights remain protected.
Veterans at Greater Risk for Neglect and Abuse
Too many seniors throughout the United States suffer from neglect and abuse in nursing homes. However, elderly veterans suffer a disproportionate amount of abuse and neglect due to several factors that increase their risk of mistreatment.
According to the VA census, nearly 45% of all living war veterans are now over the age of 65, which means many of them will need extended care. According to a Veterans Health Administration study, veteran patients are less healthy, had more medical conditions, used more medical resources, and visited more physicians and hospitals per year than regular patients.
Many elderly veterans suffer from serious physical disabilities due to their time in military service. According to the VA’s Disability Rating System, 1.3 million veterans received a disability rating of over 70 percent or higher, which means that they suffer from serious physical limitations.
Additionally, another 4 million veterans have a disability that is a “service-connected disability.” These physical disabilities leave elderly veterans more susceptible to abuse and neglect due to their inability to counter psychological or physical neglect or abuse directed towards them.
Elderly veterans have an increased risk of mental health disorders due to their experiences in the military. According to an Institute for Veterans and Military Families study, over 1.1 million veterans had at least one of the following mental illnesses:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Substance use disorder (SUD)
- Anxiety disorder
- Serious mental illness (i.e., schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc.)
In many cases, elderly veterans experience depression, anxiety, hallucinations, or the inability to properly function within society due to their time in combat. Along with increased age, these emotional and mental disabilities can leave elderly veterans extremely vulnerable to mental and physical abuse or neglect.
As veterans age, many of them develop dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other types of cognitive dysfunction. When elderly veterans have cognitive dysfunction, they might be unable to respond to requests from nursing home staff members. In these cases, nursing home staff may become agitated and frustrated with the inability of elderly veterans to comply with their requests, which may result in neglect or abuse.
Veterans of all ages can struggle with alcohol and drug abuse as a coping mechanism for their time in the military. Some veterans do not take advantage of mental health programs intended to assist service members returning from combat or other military missions.
In some cases, these coping mechanisms last through their lifetimes, and elderly veterans still struggle with substance abuse issues. When an elderly veteran is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, their cognitive functions can become impaired, leaving them much more vulnerable to abuse or neglect in a nursing home.
Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse of Veterans
There are many ways residents may experience nursing home abuse and neglect. As some of the most vulnerable in our society, veterans are at an increased risk for substandard care, or outright abuse. Some of the ways neglect and abuse of residents appear in nursing homes can include the following:
- Failure to provide food or water on time, leading to dehydration or malnutrition
- Failure to assist elderly patients in going to the bathroom, or getting out of bed or a wheelchair, resulting in falls or injury
- Failure to provide medication correctly at the appropriate times
- Failure to check vital signs on those residents that require constant monitoring
- Failure to provide basic hygienic needs, including bathing, washing sheets, etc.
- Failure to reposition residents that are bedridden or in wheelchairs, resulting in bedsores
- Failure to inspect the skin and overall health of residents, leading to medical conditions, severe bedsores, infections or sepsis
- Failure to protect residents against abuse from other residents
- Intentionally using food or water as a tool for behavioral compliance
- Restraining a resident to ensure behavioral compliance
- Threatening physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
- Physical abuse such as hitting, slapping, punching, pinching, shoving or otherwise physically harming a resident
- Failure to respond to necessary requests for food, water, or to use the restroom or change a diaper
If your loved one is a veteran who suffered neglect or abuse in a nursing home or a VA Community Living Center, you may be able to recover compensation to cover your losses. A lawyer can help with your case.
For a free legal consultation with a Veterans Neglect and Abuse Lawyer serving Forest Park, call (800) 794-0444
Hiring a Forest Park Veterans Neglect and Abuse Lawyer
Our elderly veterans deserve our respect and gratitude. If you believe your loved one suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home or VA Community Living Center, you have the right to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions. Contact a Forest Park veterans neglect and abuse lawyer with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for a free consultation.