As an elderly member of the family reaches an age that prohibits them from being able to provide themselves with an appropriate level of care, it is not uncommon for a family to look into placing them in a nursing home facility. Unfortunately, with an increasing number of reports regarding nursing home abuse and negligence, many families are becoming wary of doing so. Although the staff members of these facilities are meant to provide residents with day-to-day care, statistics show that one out of three nursing home facilities across the United States have been cited at least once for an instance of nursing home abuse, and that one-fourth of the staff members that have been prosecuted for abusing an elderly patient have prior criminal records.
Elderly care facilities are meant to provide a level of care that their patients can no longer provide for themselves, but many times, a patient's vulnerability makes them an easy target for abuse. With an estimated one in ten people over the age of 65 spending a portion of their life under the care of a nursing home, it is unfortunate that many of them will be forced to suffer the unnecessary ramifications of neglect. Although several organizations are up in arms to prevent further instances of abuse, the problem is severely underreported—and therefore more difficult to properly manage.
According to the National Elder Abuse Incident Study, only 16% of cases are reported. Of the cases that are being reported, however, statistics show that 20% involve instances of emotional abuse, 16% involve physical abuse, 12% involve neglect of appropriate care, and 3% involve sexual abuse. Other types of abuse, like financial exploitation, are not uncommon either. If you have placed a loved one under the care of such a facility, you may be wondering how to recognize the warning signs. According to the
U.S. Administration on Aging, a severe change in behavior is the most likely indication that something is wrong.
Other signs like visible pressure marks or abrasions may be a sign of physical abuse, bedsores and poor hygiene could be a sign of neglect, and bruising around the breasts or genital area may indicate sexual abuse. If you have noticed any of these warning signs, you should not hesitate to ask questions. If it is discovered that an elderly member of your family has sustained any kind of abuse or neglect, it is your right to pursue legal action. Through a personal injury lawsuit, you may be able to obtain compensation for the pain and suffering that your loved one has been forced to endure at the hands of a careless caregiver. Contact an experienced attorney at our firm for more information about your case.