Elder Law Lawyer
Assisted living facilities like nursing homes are required to offer residents with a certain level of care. This is the level of care that any person would reasonably expect from a qualified doctor and caregivers. When an elderly resident enters a nursing home, their loved ones may wonder if their relative could be at risk for mistreatment. Abuse and neglect in a nursing home can be related to many things, such as nutrition, medical needs, hygiene, socializing, and overall well-being. If a nursing home fails to provide the expected standard of care, or are guilty of committing abuse, then relatives must intervene immediately to protect their senior person.
Any kind of physical contact that results in injury, whether unintentional or intentional, may be considered physical abuse. Examples of physical abuse can entail hitting, pinching, forcibly grabbing, slapping, shoving, punching, pushing, and aggressive use of physical restraints. If you notice physical injuries on your loved one that are unexplained, or the reasoning for them doesn’t seem valid, then you may want to investigate further to see if abuse is in fact happening.
Mental and emotional abuse can happen in nursing homes, and can include swearing, yelling, humiliating, belittling, patronizing, name-calling, dismissing, embarrassing, insulting, and other ways of controlling, isolating or manipulating the senior resident. Signs that someone may be emotionally abused is if they suddenly become fearful and anxious, withdraw from loved ones, or appear on high alert (especially around certain caregivers).
Neglect is a type of abuse in which a person’s basic care needs are not met. Instances of neglect include failing to help a senior person with their hygienic needs, failing to provide nutrition and hydration, failing to provide medical needs a medication, and failing to protect against safety hazards in the senior person’s living area or within the nursing home facility.
Sexual abuse entails any non-consensual or unwanted sexual contact, such as groping, rape, sexual assault, and other forms of sexual interactions that is not consensual. Seniors who have medical conditions that prevent them from being able to communicate for themselves may be particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse at the hands of a caretaker or other people who frequent the nursing home facility.
Similarly to neglect, abandonment happens when a senior person is purposefully deserted by someone who is responsible for their care. Abandonment of an elder can include discharging them from the facility without ensuring that their future care will be attended to. Senior residents who have conditions that cause confusion and memory problems may not know where they are, understand what has happened to them, or have the ability to care for themselves.
Those who work at the nursing home facility may have access to the senior resident’s personal information, including their bank accounts and other financial documents. If you notice odd transactions, a sudden change in their estate plan, or money transfers that don’t seem right, then a nursing home caretaker may be the culprit.