Articles Posted in Defining Elder Abuse

shutterstock_1698309571-300x200Nursing home abuse takes place when caregivers harm residents of the facilities. Whether it’s intentional or unintentional, it’s still considered abuse and the consequences can be dire, with the end result of distress, physical pain, medical injuries, or even death in extreme cases. Certain groups are more vulnerable than others when it comes to abuse; like many other types of abuse, victims of nursing home abuse are more likely to be women.

Women are More Likely to be Elder Abuse Victims

For elder abuse in general, studies have shown that individual-level factors which may increase the risk of abuse include the gender of the victim. Women likely have a higher risk of more constant and severe forms of injury and abuse.

shutterstock_264466154-11-300x200The statistics about the frequency of nursing home abuse and neglect are far too common. It doesn’t even take in consideration, the numerous cases that go unreported every year. When it does happen to them, nursing home residents may be reluctant to speak out because they are afraid that reporting it will result in additional abuse. Sometimes victims of abuse carry shame and embarrassment and sometimes they suffer from dementia and other ailments which make it difficult to report the mistreatment. To help protect your relatives and loved ones, you can ask them questions that can get them talking and can result in exposing nursing home abuse.

 Questions about Daily Activities

 It’s important to ask about the residents’ daily activities and whether anyone is interfering with them. When this does occur, it can be considered willful deprivation and shows signs of neglect or a form of emotional abuse that attempts to exert control over individuals. Here are questions to ask:

shutterstock_240339163-300x200When you and your loved one decides that it’s time for them to move into a nursing home, you have likely made the decision based on the difficulty of them staying in their own home. You expect to depend on the care that they will receive from the nursing home staff. On some occasions, your loved one may need additional help that the nursing home can’t directly supply.

When something goes wrong with a nursing home resident, the first course of action is often to treat the problem onsite first. Depending on the level of harm, this may not be enough to treat the resident. The type of medical issues that older people generally have may require more specialized care that makes a visit to the hospital necessary.

This is why efficient hospital care is a pivotal part of an elderly person’s health care management and should be part of the consideration for nursing home residents. Included in this plan is making certain that speedy transportation is readily available.

shutterstock_1741881821-300x199For residents moving into nursing home facilities, there are a lot of things they must face when they move out of their own homes. Unfortunately, one of the things that they may encounter is abuse of various types, including physical, sexual, emotional, financial, and neglect. But one aspect of the abuse faced by seniors is that a lot of it remains unknown. Some studies indicate that as many as fourteen or fifteen cases of elderly abuse go unreported. Understanding why this happens isn’t simple, but there are possible factors that help to explain this phenomenon. Read on to learn about five reasons why nursing home abuse is frequently unreported.

  1. Failure to Recognize Signs: Nursing home abuse isn’t always obvious, even to the victims. Many of the relatives and loved ones of nursing home residents aren’t familiar with the signs of abuse and thus, don’t take note of them when they occur. Even the nursing home staff may not properly identify the signs of abuse either because they erroneously associate the symptoms with the residents’ age, medical conditions, or cognitive issues, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. This impacts the residents’ own perceptions of what happened to them and makes it difficult to describe the situation or in some cases, adequately recall the experience if they are suffering from emotional conditions, such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, or are disabled. While different forms of nursing home abuse manifest in multiple ways, there are various red flags to look out for. Watch out for the following indicators of abuse:
  • Bedsores;

shutterstock_1717046857-300x203When you and your family make the decision to place your elderly loved one into a nursing home, you want to have the reassurance that they are safe. This is especially true when they suffer from a cognitive disorder like Alzheimer’s or dementia.  You rely on the facility to monitor them and to always know what they are doing. But what happens when the nursing home staff isn’t keeping a close eye on their residents and they move around freely or actually wander away? Read on to learn about what you should know about wandering and elopement in nursing homes.

How Does it Happen?

Wandering or elopement in nursing homes occurs when residents walk throughout the facility or even more troubling- wander outside of the home. This usually happens as a result of inadequate care likely because the staff isn’t watching or monitoring the residents closely. For example, a nursing home resident with dementia could be confused and believe that they need to complete a task, such as taking out the trash. They wander around the facility to try to find the garbage and then continue looking for more trash until they can finish the job.  At any time, a memory from the resident’s past can trigger them into action and the urge to leave the facility immediately. Meanwhile the staff members have no idea where this resident has gone. Specifically, this type of situation can stem from understaffing, improper training, or because the staff is not following protocol.

shutterstock_170786774-300x164Being a victim of nursing home abuse is devastating for both the actual victim and for their family members. That is why it can helpful to the injured party to get justice when bringing an elder abuse claim against the nursing home where the abuse took place. Holding a wrongdoer accountable for their bad act(s) goes a long way in helping to right a wrong. There is also the matter of being able to recover compensation. While a victim might be hesitant to go through the sometimes emotionally exhausting experience of filing a lawsuit, (in addition to the time and money involved) it may help to know what to expect if you are able to prevail. There are a lot of concerns as to whether it is worth it to pursue litigation.  Read on for important information concerning the recoverable damages available in an elder abuse claim in California.

Statutory Damages for Nursing Home Abuse

Elder abuse is illegal under California state law. If you’re a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the nursing home and you can prevail by showing that the nursing home violated any state or federal regulation, that is relevant to elder care or committed violations under the California Patients’ Bill of Rights, then you can pursue statutory damages.

shutterstock_251528320-300x200One of the main reasons for placing your loved one into a nursing home may be that they need care and supervision they simply can’t get at home. However, this very important factor may be undermined by understaffing in nursing homes. Unfortunately, understaffing in nursing homes is a common problem throughout the country. Read on to learn about the understaffing problems in nursing homes and how the resident to staff ratio can impact the quality of care in these facilities.

Immobile Residents

Since many nursing home residents have mobility issues and have difficulty moving independently, they rely heavily on staff for help. For instance, understaffing can lead to occasions when the staff members are unable to turn the residents in bed enough times or to move them around to avoid muscle atrophy. Because they occur when an individual remains in the same position for too long a period, bedsores can also occur. Immobility can also lead to skin infections, and falls, which can result in even more serious injuries.

shutterstock_6578288924-300x225According to the FDA, medication errors account for over 1 million injuries annually. A nursing home medication error is defined as a preventable drug-related mistake that impacts a nursing home resident. If you or your loved one is in such a facility, then it’s important to learn more information about this topic.

 Common Types of Medication Errors

The majority of nursing home residents use some kind of prescription medication, and there are a lot of ways things can go wrong when it comes to dispensing it. Here are some examples:

shutterstock_251528320-300x200Skilled Nursing facilities are places for seniors and others who don’t need hospitalization, but can no longer care for themselves at home. Unfortunately, the place that is supposed to be a safe haven is just the opposite when the residents are subjected to abuse. Compared to other forms, sexual abuse in nursing homes doesn’t occur as often, but it appears to be increasing. According to the Administration for Community Living, there have been over 20,000 complaints of sexual abuse in nursing homes over the past 20 years. This equates to be about three people being sexually abused at a nursing home every day.

Because there’s no national database, it’s difficult to know how extensive this problem really is. Given the stigma associated with sexual abuse and the illnesses such as dementia that many patients suffer, many cases go unreported. The Covid-19 panic has only made things worse due to social distancing that has made it more difficult to detect signs of abuse.

Definition of Sexual Abuse

https://www.californiaelderabuselawyer-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/132/2020/10/20.10.16-300x200.jpgOne big fear many families have regarding nursing homes is the lack of appropriate and personalized care for their loved ones. Over the years, there have been countless cases of the elderly being abused and neglected in long term care facilities and nursing homes. Families need to be aware that neglect and abuse in a nursing home do not always present with obvious physical injuries, but rather as emotional abuse. In the majority of cases, elderly patient abuse in nursing homes is due to the actions or inactions of the nursing home staff.

What type of neglect can occur in nursing homes?

  1. Medical Health Neglect: This occurs when the nursing staff fails to attend to, prevent, or treat an existing or new health problem in the senior. For example, patients with strokes who are bedridden are prone to bedsores. Universally there are established protocols to help prevent these skin problems, which are sometimes not followed. For instance, diabetic patients not only need their medications/insulin on time, the nursing staff has to simultaneously monitor the blood sugars, which if not controlled can lead to worsening of any open wound, urinary tract infection, or sepsis. Any time a senior has a change in his/her health status like the development of confusion, weakness, inability to walk or speak, this must be reported immediately to the primary care provider to determine the cause. Failure to do so can seriously compromise the health of the senior.
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