Nursing Home Abuse: An Overview

The Signs, Statistics and Legal Remedies for Nursing Home Abuse

At a time of their lives when they should be treated with respect and care, some elderly patients in nursing homes are instead subjected to mistreatment in the form of abuse or neglect. Unnoticed and unchecked, these atrocious acts may leave our elderly loved ones seriously injured. That is why we are committed to increasing awareness of nursing home abuse and negligence across the nation. We believe that obtaining basic information on the subject can help family members recognize the warning signs and make the right choices about taking legal action when necessary to stop abuse or to ensure their loved ones are not harmed in the first place.

The fight against nursing home abuse begins with obtaining a clear understanding of this subject.

About Elder Abuse
The term elder abuse is used to describe various forms of physical, sexual and/or mental abuse or harm to older adults. The elderly may be particularly vulnerable to abuse due to physical frailty, illness or diminished mental capacity. When recognized and reported, elder abuse may not only give way to criminal charges but may result in a civil lawsuit against the at-fault individual or facility as well.

Elder Abuse Statistics
It is estimated that some form of elder abuse or neglect occurs in one of three nursing homes across the U.S. According to statistics presented by Elder Abuse Daily, there are nearly 6 million cases of elder abuse every year. Many of these cases will go unreported, and this can lead to further injury or even the wrongful deaths of elderly victims. With the highest number of elderly residents, California has the highest number of elder abuse cases, accounting for more than 10% of the national total.

Nursing Home Abuse & Your Rights
Many people do not fully understand their legal rights in the face of nursing home abuse. For this reason, many cases go unreported. Elderly patients of nursing homes have the right to be informed of the facilities' policies on nursing home abuse and how to file a complaint. While in the care of nursing homes, elderly patients have the right to refuse treatment and to make decisions about their medical care. These rights should be protected to the utmost extent.

Taking Legal Action: Criminal & Civil Remedies
A person who has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect has the right to take legal action. This may include reporting the incident to local authorities, which may even result in criminal charges depending on the findings. This may also include filing a civil lawsuit against the responsible party to sue for damages. There are options; it is helpful to understand these so you know how to approach your case.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
There are specific signs to watch for when it comes to nursing home abuse. By being fully informed of these, the families of elderly patients will know what to look for and can take fast action to stop the abuse from continuing to occur – before it's too late. Some signs include: unexplained injuries, depression, anxiety, withdrawal, dramatic weight loss, bedsores, malnutrition, prolonged and unexplained illness and recurring injuries.

Stopping Nursing Home Abuse
Stopping nursing home abuse is an important mission that we must all take part in if we are to succeed. You can do your part by becoming informed of the signs of abuse and your legal options if you suspect that mistreatment is occurring at a nursing home. You can also file a civil lawsuit or contact your local law enforcement agency to report abusive treatment. These steps may help ensure that an abusive caregiver is fired or that a negligent facility is shut down, or at the very least that they are held legally accountable and that standards are raised so abuse no longer occurs.

What You Can Do
If you suspect that a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, there are steps you can take to protect their well-being and hold the responsible party accountable. Be aware and take note of any discrepancies you see. Report the incident to the nursing home. If your loved one is in imminent danger, call 911, but you can also file a complaint with your state's Adult Protective Services Department. Contacting an attorney is also a helpful step to take, as this will ensure you receive personalized attention and advice.

For the help you need, find a local nursing home abuse attorney.