A nursing home is a place where you trust that your loved one will be taken care of; it provides custodial care to the elderly. The nurses at these facilities are responsible for literally everything that a resident may need care for. The help provided ranges from getting the person into and out of the bed, feeding, bathing, dressing, etc.
However, sometimes the caretakers in nursing homes are abusive to the residents or neglect their custodial care duties. The U.S Department of Health and Human Services defines nursing home abuse as: “any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.”
Nursing home abuse is exceedingly prevalent in today’s society. Research suggests that 1 out of 3 elderlies have been the target of nursing home abuse at one time or another.
Furthermore, according to a survey conducted by World Health Organization (WHO), every 2 of 3 staff members working in a nursing home had abused elderly residents. Surprisingly, these are the figures collected only from the cases reported.
According to an NPR report, 97% of nursing home cases are not even reported.
Nursing home abuse is not only extremely degrading to the resident, but, more importantly, it is a crime punishable under the law. However, for the victims and their families, the legal route is not an easy one to take. If that’s the case with you, you can check out these nursing home abuse law firms that will provide you with the right advice and direction to pursue your legal course in this regard.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse:
Nursing home abuse can occur in different forms. It can be physical, emotional, negligent, sexual, and so on. You need to know the different types of nursing home abuses to be able to help a loved one accordingly.
- Physical Abuse: This is the type of abuse where a caretaker physically assaults the victim residing at the nursing home. Physical abuse can be of different forms. For example, kicking, hitting, punching, and so forth. If you suspect foul play, watch out for these signs:
- Sudden Injuries or bruises
- Broken bones,
- Sprained joints,
- Broken eye-glasses
If the resident has any of the above mentioned signs, you should immediately take action to stop the abuse from continuing.
- Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse in a nursing home is not so common, as according to WHO’s report, only 0.7% of the people in a nursing home suffer sexual abuse. The reason for low incidents of sexual abuse in nursing homes could be due to the low reported cases of sexual abuse overall.
But, no matter how rare, it is prevalent and can be emotionally damaging for your loved one. Consequently, it is important to be looking at some important signs that may represent a sexual assault.
These signs can be:
- Unexplained genital infections
- Bruising around the sexual areas
- Unexplained STDS
- Unexplained Vaginal or Anal bleeding
If any of the above signs are present in the resident, immediate action should be taken.
- Emotional Abuse: Any sort of activity or action that harms the senior’s psychological health comes under emotional abuse. It includes all sorts of non-physical abuse, such as insults, harassment, yelling, or threatening.
Elderly people deserve to be treated with the utmost affection and love. Any sort of harsh behavior can destroy their esteem. Hence, to ensure that your loved one is not being emotionally abused, you need to look out if there are any signs of the following:
- Withdrawal from social activities
- Fear or reluctance to be alone with a caretaker
- Mumbling to oneself
- Reluctance to take medications
- Showing unusual and repetitive behaviors.
Nevertheless, you need to subtly identify any change of behavior in your loved one and take relevant action accordingly.
4. Neglect: Nursing homes may neglect certain responsibilities in providing care to their residents. This negligence spells problems for the elderly. Usually, negligence in a nursing home arises due to understaffing, burnout, or the presence of untrained employees.
Negligence negatively affects the health of the resident. The residents that are neglected are left unattended for long periods of time, leaving them at the mercy of potential risk.
This disregard of duties can result in several complications for the residents, such as malnutrition, infections, bed sores, and a lot more.
There can be some alarming signs indicating neglect such as:
- Unhygienic or poor appearance,
- Chronic dehydration,
- Frequent infections,
- No one available to clean soiled diapers/bed sheets,
- Weight loss
The key to avoiding your loved one any negligence abuse is to stay cognizant of their condition by keeping in constant communication with them. This will help you recognize such disregard and prompt you to report it before serious damage could be done.
Related Blog – 4 Things To Know About Nursing Home Abuse
5. Other types of Abuses: Sadly, there are several other forms of abuse that are predominant in nursing homes. Financial exploitation, unnecessary medical treatments, healthcare frauds, etc. It is advised to not only monitor the health of the elderly, but also monitor for their various other needs.
Your loved ones are special. When you admit them to a nursing home, you expect their needs will be tended to. However, nursing home abuses are on the rise. The abuses occur in various forms, including emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, and negligence. Nonetheless, you can always ensure that your loved ones aren’t faced with such abusive practices by keeping constant communication with them, visiting them regularly at the nursing home, looking for signs mentioned above, and taking strict legal action against the perpetrators.