Taking Care of Seniors, Elder Abuse, and Even Death in Nursing Homes

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Nursing homes are entrusted with the important task of caring for our elderly loved ones. These are the people who help bathe, dress, feed, and walk our loved ones. Nurses take their blood pressure, check their vitals, and change their prescriptions. They are the ones who administer tests or treatments. Nurses and attendants watch our loved ones. Watch over them as they sleep to ensure they do not become victims of bed sores.

Nursing home employees are entrusted with a great deal of responsibility to ensure the health, safety, and general welfare of our loved ones. For the most part, they fulfill that function with exceptional care and diligence.

Unfortunately, there are also reports every year of nursing home abuse and neglect throughout the United States. This abuse can come in many forms ? from verbal abuse to physical injury, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect.

No one wants to be forced to sue for negligence or abuse when it occurs, but the reality is that is often the only recourse a family has.

FAQs on Nursing Home Abuse

Is Nursing Home Abuse Really Common?

It’s sad to say that nursing home abuse is commonplace and often disguised as a normal part of aging. Unfortunately, there are those entrusted with the care of our loved ones who abuse the trust by harming and/or neglecting our loved ones in nursing home facilities.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, more than 43 percent of all people that reach the age of 65 will go into a nursing home at some time before they die.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) shows those numbers to have risen exponentially over the last two decades. Noting:

“The most rapidly growing segment of the population is those aged 85 and older, the proportion of persons estimated at risk for nursing home use at some time in their lives is expected to increase over time.”

It should not be surprising that, the growing population of nursing home residents has also led to increased abuse that few care to admit has occurred on their watch.

If you or a loved one has suffered neglect or a loved one’s negligent death. nursing home abuse may also be preventing you from ever getting the compensation you deserve. While it may not have been intentional, in most cases, nursing home abuse is preventable and could have been avoided if better care had been taken of patients in the long-term care settings.

What Can be Labeled as Abuse or Neglect?

Physical abuse can range from the most overt—hitting, punching, kicking, breaking bones—to the most covert—microwave burns, sexual abuse, poisoning. There are physical acts that range in severity, from signs of physical abuse to homicide.

Physical abuse is defined as the intentional and non-consensual use of physical force or violence upon another individual. The definition of physical abuse is the area about which there is the greatest agreement, both in terms of being “wrong” and in terms of what constitutes physical abuse; it involves injury or harm to a person carried out with the intention of causing suffering, pain, or impairment.

This, however, becomes a bit more problematic when it comes to the elderly in nursing care. In particular, those whose physical or mental condition make it impossible for them to communicate with family or an attorney.

The notion of a “correct” definition is difficult, given that the term abuse must be interpreted differently when it comes to legal definitions versus clinical definitions. Legal and clinical definitions reflect a different intent in terms of proof of culpability.

A Texas conference of certified nursing assistants (CNAs) listed actions – both physical and verbal or psychological–considered being abuse. These included:

  • Aggressiveness toward a resident
  • Harsh handling
  • Tugging too hard on a resident
  • Yelling in anger
  • Making threatening remarks
  • Slapping, punching, hitting, and kicking
  • Speaking in harshly, cursing, or saying mean things to a resident

Physical abuse can range from the most overt—hitting, punching, kicking, breaking bones—to the most covert, microwave burns, sexual abuse, poisoning. There are physical acts that range in severity, from signs of physical abuse to homicide.

Are there Injuries that are Common to Nursing Home Residents?

  • Yes. These include:
  • Bedrail injuries
  • Bedsores
  • Broken bones
  • Concussions
  • Falls
  • Infections
  • Spinal injuries

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the following:

  • 2% to 28% of nursing home residents suffer from bedsores.
  • Falls are the most common cause of injuries among seniors. They make up for 95% of hip breaks in seniors as well as causing traumatic brain injury in some. According to the Brain Injury Association of America, the elderly generally take longer to recuperate from concussions.
  • Infections kill up to nearly 400,000 nursing home residents every year.

Do I need Special Representation if I or a Loved One has Experienced Nursing Home Abuse?

COVID-19 has impacted almost every aspect of everyday life, and the law is not an exception.

In these extraordinary times, personal injury attorneys have often been asked if a person can file a suit against a nursing home for negligence related to the novel coronavirus. They may vary from case to case, but the short answer is absolutely.

If a loved one or you contracted COVID-19 or suffered any other damages as the result of a failure to be given adequate care and precautions by a nursing home or its employees, you may have a claim for relief. An attorney’s job is to prove the four elements of negligence (duty, breach, causation, and damages) in your case.

A nursing home injury is an unfortunate event that happens across the country every day. In fact, roughly two million cases of nursing home abuse are reported each year.

One of the hardest things a family can face is the injury of a loved one in a nursing home. The family feels helpless as they witness the slow decline of their loved one. It’s even worse if they feel that the nursing home isn’t doing everything it should to prevent further injuries.

Although there are federal laws in place to protect those who live in nursing homes, some facilities do not adequately follow them, and this puts patients at risk for injury or death. When the patient is injured due to another’s negligence, it could be a good idea to consider speaking with a nursing home injury lawyer.

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