According to the most recent U.S. census, over 40 million people in the United States are over 65 years of age. The number of people in this age category has only grown larger since the 2010 census because Baby Boomers continue to arrive in their golden years. Unfortunately, a shocking number of older Americans suffer elder abuse, committed by caretakers, including in a nursing home.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has defined elder abuse, including in a nursing home setting, as being “any abuse and neglect of persons age 60 and older by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust.” If you believe that your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, or neglect, you need to understand the legal rights of that individual and what can be done to best protect those vital interests.
The Incidence of Nursing Home Abuse
The rate of nursing home abuse in the United States is alarming. The highly-regarded National Center on Elder Abuse undertook a study of this issue, a course of research that produced startling results. According to this research study, 44 percent of nursing home residents reports that they had been abused. 95 percent of residents reported that they had personally been neglected or seen other individuals in their care centers neglected. Perhaps the most alarming statistic of all is that 50 percent of nursing home employees in the study admitted that they had mistreated nursing home residents in some manner.
The National Center on Elder Abuse notes that nursing home abuse and neglect is thought to be significantly under reported. Even in the research study, in which confidentiality was assured, the Center believes that residents, and certainly staff, under reported the incidence of abuse and neglect.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Nursing home abuse comes in many forms. These include physical abuse, emotional abuse, and psychological abuse. Nursing home mistreatment can also come in the form financial exploitation.
Other types of nursing home mistreatment include the provision of improper nutrition and failure to provide medication appropriately. A recurring issue is the inappropriate consignment of patients to bed, without attending to them properly, resulting in serious bedsores, which become infected and major health issues.
If you suspect a loved one is suffering nursing home abuse, you need to take action immediately. You need to make an appropriate report to the adult protective services agency in your state. In addition, if the resident appears to be in immediate harm, you need to contact law enforcement. Finally, you need to seek out advice for your loved one from an experienced nursing home abuse attorney.