What to Know About Elder Abuse in Nursing Home Facilities

The abuse of elders in nursing homes can take on many forms, often involving threats, intimidation, physical harm, neglect, and financial exploitation. When people age into their senior years, they may become more frail physically, be less capable of tending to themselves, and not always have the strength to speak up for themselves. While we may hear about the prevalence of nursing home mistreatment, never do we actually think it can happen to our loved one.

Putting an aging relative in a nursing home is not always an easy decision. Then, to find out that they may be enduring mistreatment can be more gut-wrenching than you can imagine. If you suspect that someone is harming your relative while living in a nursing home facility, it’s time to talk with an attorney about nursing home law and what you can do to prevent them from further harm. 

Physical Elder Abuse
Non-accidental force against a senior resident which results in injury, impairment or physical pain is considered physical elder abuse. This abuse may not only entail assaults physically, but also inappropriate use of confinement, restraints, or drugs. If you see your relative has peculiar marks on their wrists or ankles, bruises that they don’t have an explanation for, or other physical signs that give you the feeling something isn’t right, then you need to take a closer look. Your lawyer can advise you on how to proceed with filing a nursing home abuse claim. 

Emotional Elder Abuse
Abuse doesn’t have to be only physical. Caregivers may intimidate, humiliate, ridicule, yell at, threaten, blame, ignore, isolate, terrorize, or otherwise instill a sense of being unsafe in the senior resident. You may notice that your loved one becomes fearful or quiet when in the presence of certain caregivers, doesn’t seem like themselves, and have had a rapid decline in their mental health. These can all be signs of abuse. 

Neglect of Residents
Every nursing home caregiver must abide by rules and regulations in taking care of their residents. Not only do they have to follow protocols set forth by the facility, but there are also guidelines from the state and federal level. Failure to take care of a resident, whether intentional or not, constitutes as 50% of all cases of elder abuse. This does not include unreported incidents. 

Financial Exploitation
A caregiver may take advantage of a resident by accessing their funds or property, misusing personal checks, making online purchases with a credit card, forging the elder’s signature, forcing them to appoint a new power of attorney (or other changes to a will, trust, retirement fund, etc.), and engaging in identity theft. Another form of financial exploitation is when the resident is not provided healthcare services, but is charged for it, or is undermedicated or overmedicated.

Sexual Elder Abuse
Sometimes caregivers make contact with a resident without their consent, such as making them engage in physical sex acts, having them look at pornographic material, or forcing them to undress are considered incidents of elder sexual abuse. 

If you or someone you know may have been abused in a nursing home, contact a nursing home abuse lawyer today.