Nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other long-term care facilities are equipped to provide care for people who can no longer take care of themselves. According to the CDC, more than 4 million Americans either are admitted to or already live in a nursing home every year. Families choose a place for their loved ones carefully, but sometimes these facilities aren’t as warm and caring as they seem.
The data is disturbing and indicates the following:
- Between one and three million assisted living residents contract serious infections every year.
- Common types of infection are urinary tract infection, staph infections that resist antibiotic treatment and digestive system diseases.
- As many as 380,000 residents die of these infections every year instead of living out the remainder of their lives and dying of old age.
- While some residents receive poor treatment that leads to infection, others experience outright abuse. One study estimates up to 24.3 percent of residents experienced an incident of physical abuse in a nursing home.
Nursing Home Abuse Types
Elder abuse that happens in a nursing home looks different from one long term care facility to another. Sometimes staff is malicious, sometimes they’re overworked, often they’re just uneducated on the needs of their patients. It’s also important to note sometimes abuse comes from other residents, not from nursing home staff members. Here are the most common types of nursing home abuse.
Neglect – When staff doesn’t provide proper care, that’s neglect. Residents might be left alone for long periods of time. Staff might neglect to provide food or medication. Physical hygiene help might be infrequent or insufficient. Complaints or requests for help might be ignored.
Psychological abuse – Sometimes the pain inflicted is emotional. Staff should never engage in name-calling or belittling residents, but it happens. Emotional abuse is any action that causes fear and mental trauma.
Physical abuse – It’s heartbreaking to think of your loved one being hit, kicked, bitten, shoved or confined. Physical abuse can cause life-threatening injuries and lead to death.
Sexual abuse – Any unwanted sexual activity causes emotional and psychological damage. It often goes unreported unless it’s noticed and reported by a family member.
Financial abuse – Staff, other residents, even visitors can manipulate nursing home residents for their own financial gain. Financial abuse might involve keeping the resident from accessing funds, stealing their money or possessions or deceiving them into giving money away.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
If your loved one is in an assisted care facility, be on the lookout for these signs of a problem:
- Unexplained bruises, scars, cuts, broken bones or sprains
- Signs they haven’t been taking medication on schedule
- Unexplained weight loss
- An unkempt appearance – dirty clothes, body odor etc.
- Being inappropriately dressed for the season or weather
- Bedsores in a patient who is bedridden
- Missing possessions
- Unexplained or frequent infections
- Signs your loved one is nervous, fearful, depressed or withdrawn
- Frequently finding them alone or unattended
If you believe your loved one might have been the victim of nursing home abuse, he or she deserves justice. Schedule a free consultation and talk with one of our attorneys today.