Peoria nursing home abuse lawyers
More than 3.2 million adults live in American nursing homes and long-term care facilities. And as the American population ages, the number of elderly patients in nursing homes will continue to rise. The harsh reality is that some of these elderly patients may become victims of nursing home abuse.
Nursing Home Abuse
The National Council on Aging reports that 1 out of 10 Americans older than 60 have experienced elder abuse. A significant amount of this abuse occurs in nursing homes. An estimated 1 in 6 nursing home residents possibly experience abuse every year. But it’s also estimated that less than half of abuse cases are reported to authorities.
Nursing home abuse includes abandonment, neglect, exploitation, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and physical abuse perpetrated by nursing home staff. Some elderly patients might not recognize abuse when it happens. Here are some things patients and their family members should be aware of:
Physical abuse – causing physical injury or pain to an elderly patient. This can include pinching, hitting, and slapping.
Sexual abuse – sexual intercourse, groping, or fondling of the elderly patient. Any sexual contact which the patient is forced to perform, or is unable to understand or give consent. Patients with dementia, other cognitive problems, or the inability to speak are often victims of sexual abuse.
Emotional abuse – intimidation, harassment, verbal assaults, and threats. Emotional abuse may or may not also involve physical abuse. As such, it’s one of the most difficult types of abuse for family members to recognize.
Confinement – restraining or isolating a patient for non-medical reasons. This may be done to punish or frighten the patient.
Passive neglect – Depriving the patient of medial care, clothing, food, water, or care with personal hygiene. Often happens because of improperly trained or inadequate staffing.
Financial exploitation – withholding a patient’s resources, such as money provided by family members. Can also include theft of personal information, such as social security number to apply for credit or loans.
Resident Abuse – occurs when nursing home patients are allowed to abuse each other. The abuse is physical, psychological, or sexual. Nursing home staff is supposed to prevent the patients from abusing each other.
Signs that Could Indicate Abuse
The following signs are possible indicators of nursing home abuse. It’s important to note that these signs don’t automatically mean abuse has occurred. But you, as a family member, should be aware of the possibility. Some signs include:
1. Fractures or broken bones
2. Unexplained drastic weight loss
3. Bruises, cuts, and unexplained swelling
4. Dehydration or malnutrition
5. Emotional outbursts, sudden crying, signs of fear
6. Bed sores and infections
7. Drastic change in attitude or mental status
8. Dirty physical appearance, unwashed clothes or linens.
9. Nursing home staff doesn’t want patient to speak with family members.
Your Rights as a Family Member
Never ignore the signs of nursing home abuse. If you suspect abuse has occurred, then take action immediately. Call 911 or the police if you suspect the patient is in immediate danger.
If there isn’t an immediate threat, discuss the issue with your loved one. Keep in mind that they may be afraid to talk about the situation. They could possibly fear what will happen if they talk. Or in some cases, they might not be aware that abuse has occurred. It might have happened while they were asleep or drugged.
You should also discuss your concerns with the supervisor or manager of the facility. If that yields no results, then contact your state’s Adult Protective Services department. You should also contact a nursing home abuse lawyer for further assistance.
How a Lawyer Can Help
A nursing home is legally responsible for the safety and well-being of its patients. If your loved one has experienced nursing home abuse, then you can consider filing a civil lawsuit.
Your family is possibly entitled to compensation for the abuse. The compensation can cover medical bills, a new nursing home, and pain and suffering. Your lawsuit could even persuade the nursing home to provide better care.
For more information about how a lawyer can help, contact us to discuss your case. Nursing home abuse is a crime, and we’re ready to get justice for your loved one. Contact the nursing home abuse lawyers at Zayed Law Offices today.