One of the most difficult things any family can do is to place a loved one into a nursing home facility. When that happens, you hope that he or she will receive the appropriate care and treatment, administered by professionals. Given the significant amount of time and money many families spend placing their elderly loved ones in these medical facilities, they have no idea that what they are doing may actually be placing their loved one in harm’s way.
Given the epidemic level of abuse and neglect in nursing homes these days and the despicable nature of some of these acts, it’s important for families to know what is going on, so that they can do something about it. According to some sources, more than 2 million seniors are the victims of some form of elder abuse, and even more shocking is the research showing that, for every reported case of nursing home abuse and neglect, there may be as many as five cases that go unreported. Sadly, other research shows that abused seniors tend to die earlier than seniors who are well cared for, even when they aren’t facing life-threatening and chronic conditions.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
The issue isn’t just about physical abuse, either. While physical abuse is the most prevalent form of elder abuse, seniors also too often face neglect, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and even financial exploitation in many cases. Because of this, it’s important for loved ones to see and recognize the signs of elder abuse, so that they can stop it.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Among the more common signs of physical abuse can include unexplained cuts and bruises, torn or tattered clothing or broken bones, but signs of emotional abuse can include fear of and intimidation by employees of the nursing home, or a sense of isolation from other residents. Also, look around you when you visit; clothing or bed linens that are unclean, or a room that hasn’t been cleaned in a bit can be signs of neglect, as can a sense of malnourishment or dehydration. Signs of possible sexual abuse can include certain sexually transmitted diseases, bruises or marks around the breasts or genital regions or bloody undergarments.
The financial exploitation of seniors is often cited as the most common form of non-physical abuse of the elderly. It is far too common for an unscrupulous caregiver to steal or misuse or outright steal from the elder patient’s checks, credit cards or the money kept on account, forge the elder patient’s signature to authorize the withdrawal or transfer of money. These days, it’s not uncommon for some nursing home staff to steal a senior’s identity. Another scam that is frighteningly common is for caregivers to tell a senior they have won a prize in some non-existent contest or sweepstakes, or get them involved in a fake charity or phony investment opportunity.
Understanding all of these possibilities and looking for signs that your loved one is being abused or neglected is very important. If an elderly loved one has suffered from any type of abuse or neglect caused by a caretaker at a nursing home or any other facility, or even in their home, you may have a valid legal claim to recover damages. Please contact the Gutierrez law firm as soon as possible, so that we can investigate the situation and evaluate your case.