Statistics show 43% of people who reach the age of sixty-five will live in a nursing home at some point in the future. It is estimated that 1.6 million people live in nursing homes around the USA, and the National Institute of Health also estimates there are over 17,000 homes housing these residents. It is likely you know someone in your family who has lived in long-term care for a significant period of time.
This is why it is important to recognize the signs and know what to do if you suspect nursing home abuse in one of your loved ones. Most health professionals at nursing facilities strive to do the right thing, but sadly there are workers who may mean harm. Remember, there are no “perfect” nursing homes
Know the Signs of Nursing Home Neglect
Studies show 1 in 3 older adults aged 65 and older will fall this year. While older people are more likely to fall, part of the job of the home is to ensure their residents are safe. If your loved one keeps falling, the home might not be doing enough to keep them safe.
Any force used to inflict physical or pain on a resident is considered physical or emotional abuse. If a worker is slapping, pushing, shoving, restraining, punching, burning, or kicking another resident, this is abuse.
If your loved one no longer has access to their debit card or credit cards, it is possible the caregiver is stealing their financial assets.
If a loved one in a home complains about being yelled at, humiliated, or intimidated by workers, this is definitely something you want to investigate further.
This is one of the most common complaints from the relatives of nursing home residents. Many times, a resident does not get the appropriate medical care for various reasons. If the home does not give the required medical treatment, this is medical negligence.
Abandonment or Wandering Off
Patients suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia do not understand they are in cognitive decline. If they leave the home on their own accord, this probably means the facility does not have appropriate supervision to stop residents from wandering off.
How to Respond When Abuse Occurs
Once you have determined your loved one is being abused in the home, there are a few steps you can take to stop it. If they are in immediate danger, dial 911, and explain the situation. This will begin the process of documentation and get local law enforcement involved in your case.
If you are not sure what to do, ask your loved one specific questions which may reveal the abuse they are feeling. Some residents in worse cognitive condition may not be able to communicate how they are feeling; trust your gut to know whether there is abuse happening.
Document everything you learn from your investigation of the abuse. Take photographs of bruises, scratches, dirty living conditions, and any other issues you see in the home.
Get In Touch With an Attorney
These cases are often complex and not easy to prove, so you will want to speak with the nursing home abuse attorneys at Epperly & Follis, P.C. to see how they can help. They deserve justice for the abuse they are experiencing, and they can be compensated for their damages and injuries. Call Craig Follis at 804-648-6480 to begin the investigation.