When visiting a relative at the nursing home, you want to feel relieved that they are getting the best of care. However, you may have noticed something wrong that could be the indication of nursing home abuse.
Your relative may have strange bruises on their arms, legs or other parts of the body. They may have their needs neglected as the relative complains about not getting their medication, food or hygiene care. Your relative may also claim that their caregivers are verbally abusive to them on a daily basis. If you are worried that your relative is being verbally or physically abused, or neglected, you should seek legal advice from an experienced attorney.
Nursing Home Abuse Reporting Statistics
Nursing home abuse is more prevalent across the country than many people realize. In 2014, there were 1.4 million nursing home residents in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During that same year, there were a reported 14,258 nursing home claims of elder abuse.
Unfortunately, many nursing home abuses are never reported to the police. Although federal laws concerning nursing home abuse were strengthened in 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Inspector General’s Office placed out an alert in 2017 that over one-quarter of serious nursing home abuses are never reported to the police.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse can come in many forms. Besides verbal or physical abuse, an elderly relative may experience extreme neglect. They may have untreated bed sores, dehydration, malnutrition or inadequate hygiene. Nursing home patients may also experience inadequate sanitation. Some of the most serious problems are inadequate medical care and preventable accidents
When nursing home staff fail to provide healthcare to residents or offer quality services, this issue can lead to serious health risks as the nursing home resident may end up going to the emergency room. Victims of abuse end up as being three times more likely to being admitted into the hospital, and many people experience worsening pre-existing health conditions.
Such problems can also lead to devastating financial impacts to both the relative as well as the family. Injuries caused by preventable accidents and direct physical abuse has led to $2.8 billion in Medicare hospital costs being spent per year.
Other Impacts of Nursing Home Abuse
Besides the physical and financial harm that can be caused by nursing home abuse, a relative may also undergo serious social and psychological harm. The relative may feel isolated and alone with no one to talk to about the abuse. They may also be frightened about talking about it if they have been threatened or feel that they could be threatened in the future if they reveal the abuse. So you may find your relative undergo self-withdrawal from the social things that they loved to do in the past, or they may not engage in much conversation with family members.
A person experiencing nursing home abuse may also show signs of depression or psychological distress. They may show anxiety and other emotional symptoms.
Getting Help for Your Relative
Reporting nursing home abuse is vital. Even if you are told of the issue by the nursing home staff, the abuse may have not been reported to the local police department. So family members should always take the extra step of reporting the nursing home abuse directly to the police so a law enforcement investigation can take place.
In addition to reporting nursing home abuse, you should also seek out legal representation. Your family will be going through many changes at this time, as you may want to have your elderly relative moved to a different nursing home or to your home. In addition, you may be dealing with unforeseen medical costs created by preventable accidents or physical abuse. An experienced personal injury attorney can evaluate your relative’s case and help them obtain the compensation they need to cover financial costs created by the nursing home.
Since the relative may not be physically able to go to an attorney’s office to discuss the details of the nursing home abuse, an attorney should be willing to come to your home to speak with you and your relative personally. This advantage ensures that the relative will feel okay to talk about the nursing home abuse in a relaxing and safe environment.
If you are looking for legal representation due to a nursing home abuse claim, contact the Law Offices of Alan Levar. We can give you a free consultation to discuss your case and to help your relative so they can get the necessary care and compensation that they deserve.