Recognizing the Warning Signs of Elder Abuse
How common is nursing home abuse in the U.S.?
According to a number of different studies that have been conducted about the prevalence of nursing home negligence, elder abuse is a growing problem in the United States. In fact, one out of every three nursing home facilities in the country has been cited at least once for instances of abuse or neglect. As if this isn't shocking enough, it has been reported that about 5% of all nursing home aides in the U.S. have criminal records. These are the people that have been entrusted to oversee the care of our loved ones, so retrospectively, is it really not that surprising that many elderly residents are not getting the level of care that they deserve.
This does not mean, however, that this is a problem that should be ignored. With more than 50% of nursing home patients reportedly suffering from untreated pain, it is time for loved ones and family members to get involved. In doing so, there is a better chance that instances of nursing home abuse and neglect will be recognized and stopped before the problem gets any worse. For this reason, the West Palm Beach personal injury attorney at our firm thought that is was important to shed light on this devastating issue. By being able to recognize the early warning signs, you can take action to protect your loved ones and pursue the rightful compensation that they deserve.
Types of Elder Abuse in West Palm Beach, FL
Being able to recognize the signs of nursing home abuse is important for anyone who has placed a loved one under the care of such a facility, as many elderly victims are, unfortunately, hesitant to speak up about instances of abuse. Whether out of fear, embarrassment or a physical inability to communicate, many nursing home residents deal with the ramifications of abuse for a prolonged period of time before the issue is recognized by a third party. For this reason, our firm wants to ensure that you are aware of the types of abuse that most commonly takes place. In our experience, specific instances of elder abuse usually fall under one of four categories, including:
- Physical abuse: Physical abuse can be carried out both intentionally and unintentionally. In many cases, the attending nurse or staff member will simply fail to provide an adequate level of care – thus leading to instances of dehydration, malnutrition, bed sores, etc.
- Sexual abuse: Sexual abuse can occur between two residents of the same nursing home facility or between a resident and a staff member – with most cases involving the latter. Warning signs could include bruising around the genital area and/or breasts.
- Emotional abuse: Emotional abuse is perhaps the most common form of elder abuse, as this can be carried out through verbal threats, abusive language and purposefully demeaning behaviors. This may cause depression or psychological trauma in the victim.
- Financial exploitation: Financial abuse is, unfortunately, a more common occurrence than most people would believe. This can occur when a caretaker or nursing home aide takes advantage of a resident's poor health or deteriorating mental capacity.
Recognizing Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Recognizing the signs of nursing home abuse is not always as easy as it would appear. Many times, the signs are subtle – including unusual weight loss, a slight change in attitude or concealed physical marks – so it is all the more important that you know what to look for. If you suspect that physical or sexual abuse has taken place, for example, you should look out for any physical indications. This could include any unexplained bruising, lacerations or broken bones, as well as any unusual marks around the genital area. When looking for signs of emotional abuse, however, you should be attentive to any sudden behavioral changes, including signs of fear, self-consciousness or depression. Should you suspect that foul-play has occurred, do not hesitate to bring this to the attention of a West Palm Beach injury lawyer immediately.
Have you noticed any red flags? Let our firm help!
If you have noticed any telling signs of nursing home abuse when visiting a loved one, or they have expressly stated that they have been abused or neglected by a staff member at the facility, you should not hesitate to get in touch with a West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer at our firm. We are highly experienced in representing cases of this nature, so we encourage you let our team get involved. Your loved one deserves to be compensated for the harm that they have suffered, so you can rest assured that we will do everything in our power to ensure that justice is served. Call The Law Offices of Casey D. Shomo, P.A. today at (800) 690-7868 for your free initial consultation.