What You Should Know About Nursing Home Abuse

Jul 16, 2020
by The AMA Law Team

What You Should Know About Nursing Home Abuse

When you place your elderly loved ones in the care of a nursing home or assisted living facility, you expect that those in charge of caring for them will do so with the highest level of respect imaginable. After all, these individuals are cherished members of your family, so you want nothing more than to see that their needs are met. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Here in Oklahoma and across the country, far too often, we see members of families, who are an elder patients, subjugated to nursing home abuse.

As of 2018, there were 52 million Americans over the age of 65, making up 16% of the population. By 2034, experts project that older adults will outnumber children under 18 for the first time in U.S. history. As you can expect, that also means that more elders will need assisted living and may be placed in a long-term care facility, such as a nursing home. With the projected number of residents in nursing homes expected to increase, it’s crucial that everyone is aware of nursing home abuse and the signs of elder abuse.

Our elders are beloved members of our families. We want them to be treated with the highest level of care possible. When we are unable to do this on our own, we put our trust in nursing homes. However, nursing home abuse continues to be a problem across the country. If you or a loved one was a victim of elder abuse, you need the assistance of a nursing home abuse attorney on your side. Give AMA Law a call today to learn how we can help.

Nursing Home Abuse Statistics 

As we have already mentioned, the population of Americans who will soon become a nursing home resident in the foreseeable future is rising. Unfortunately, that also means that the cases of elder abuse may rise, as well. To get a better understanding of nursing home abuse, we have compiled a list of statistics:

  • One out of ten adults 60 and over experience elder abuse in some form.
  • An estimated five million elder Americans experience abuse every year.
  • An elder patient that experiences abuse is at a 300% higher risk of death than those who don’t experience mistreatment.
  • A study reported that as much as 24.3% of residents experienced physical abuse at least once.
  • Only one in 14 cases are reported to authorities.
  • Elderly women are more likely to suffer abuse than men.
  • Due to financial exploitation, the financial losses range between $2.9 billion and $36.5 billion.
  • 27.1% of nursing home abuse is physical abuse. 22.1% is nursing home resident-on-resident abuse (either sexual or physical). 19.4% is psychological abuse, 15.3% is gross neglect, and sexual abuse and financial exploitation are both 7.9%.
  • Of the self-reported cases of abuse, between 5-10% are physical, 60% are verbal, and 14% are neglect.
  • Unfortunately, over 50% of nursing home staff has admitted to abusing their residents in some form.
  • The state of Oklahoma investigated 4,208 complaints of mistreatment in long-term care facilities.

As you can see, nursing home abuse is rampant throughout the country, including here in Oklahoma. Many of these cases often go unreported, which means these patients continue to live with abuse. If you suspect your loved one is being abused, contact AMA Law and let us fight for you.

Types of Abuse 

Unfortunately, there is more than one way a nursing home resident can experience abuse. When you think of abuse, physical abuse is often the first type of abuse to pop in your minds. However, nursing home abuse comes in various forms, some of which include:

  • Physical Abuse: Intentionally inflicting pain or injury on a resident, which includes the act of punching, kicking, slapping, bruising, physically restraining, hitting with or throwing an object at a resident, and more.
  • Emotional Abuse: Intentionally causing emotional or mental pain or anguish on a nursing home resident through verbal and nonverbal acts, which includes insults, threats of violence, intimidation, ridicule, condescending remarks, and more.
  • Sexual Abuse: All acts of non-consensual sexual contact with an individual who cannot comprehend the situation, cannot consent, is threatened or coerced, or is physically forced.
  • Neglect: This occurs when a caregiver or another member of the nursing home staff fails to provide basic life necessities, including food, clothes, shelter, healthcare, protection, and more.
  • Financial Exploitation: Involves exploiting a nursing home resident for their financial gain, which includes the illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of their funds, property, or assets.

If you have a loved one in a long-term care facility, it’s crucial that you are aware of the most common types of nursing home abuse so that you can keep a closer eye out for the potential signs of abuse.

Warning Signs

Because many nursing home abuse cases go unreported, it’s crucial to be aware of the warning signs so that you can stop the abuse before it gets worse. Here are some key warning signs to keep an eye out for:

  • Physical injuries, such as broken bones, bruises, burns, pressure marks, cuts, and more
  • Unusual anxiety and depression
  • Isolation, withdrawing from normal activities
  • Jumpiness
  • Paranoia
  • Bruises or other physical injuries around the genital areas
  • Strained relationships with friends and family
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Reclusiveness
  • Bedsores, ignored health conditions, or poor hygiene
  • Sudden changes in financial situations

These are some of the most common and telling signs of nursing home abuse. If you recognize these signs and suspect elder abuse of any kind, you should contact the authorities immediately. It may also be in your best interest to employ the help of a trusted nursing home abuse attorney to ensure that you and your loved ones receive the compensation you deserve.

Preventing Abuse

No one wants to see their loved one go through any form of trauma or abuse. You place your elders in assisted living facilities so that they can receive quality care, but this isn’t always the case. However, you can help prevent nursing home abuse from occurring by following the simple steps below:

  • Believe your loved one: You should never dismiss a complaint your loved one has. Always investigate it. Far too many complaints get written off, which leads to abuse continuing. It also discourages them from reaching out in the future.
  • Stay in contact: Regularly keep in contact with your loved one, whether through a phone call or visiting them in person. Ask them how they have been and look for signs in their voice and their body language.
  • Review a facility: Before you choose an assisted living facility, thoroughly review your options. Prices, appearances, and reviews do not guarantee quality care. Visit the facility first and look for signs of poor hygiene, unsanitary facilities, and understaffing.
  • Watch for warning signs: Just understanding the types of abuse and warning signs can help you prevent or mitigate the damage done.

Your elders are cherished members of the family. You want them to receive the highest level of care and respect imaginable. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse does happen far too often. If you notice any instances of suspected abuse, contact AMA Law and let a trusted nursing home abuse attorney help you.