Abingdon, Bristol and Johnson City
Nursing home abuse is a term all of us dread to hear. We all have parents or grandparents that we love and want them to be taken care of and kept safe. Many of us know that eventually our loved ones will get to a point in their lives in which they will need help, although many of us may not be able to care for our loved ones ourselves. We all want to be able to provide exceptional care for our loved ones in their time of need. The scary part is that many of us have heard terrible news stories about nursing homes that mistreat their residents.
If you are considering placing your loved one in an elderly care facility, you may have these questions running through your mind.
How can one be vigilant to this breach of trust? What is considered nursing home abuse? What are the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect? What recourse do you have if nursing home abuse and/or neglect are discovered? Are there laws and punishments concerning nursing home abuse and neglect?
The Law Offices of Michael R. Munsey, P.C., have provided some facts to help you better understand the issue of nursing home abuse and neglect, and what you can do about it should this unfortunate circumstance occur.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, there were more than 1.5 million people living in nursing home/assisted living facilities in the United States in 2015. The Nursing Home Abuse Guide has divided nursing home abuse into six categories.
Those categories include:
- Physical abuse is any intentional condition or event that causes physical harm or neglectful practice such as the overuse of restraints or lack of physical care.
- Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual attention or exploitation of a patient that cannot express his or her wishes or is cognitively compromised.
- Psychological abuse includes yelling, criticizing, or humiliating a patient.
- Financial exploitation can be direct theft, theft from banking accounts, or identity theft.
- Neglect occurs when a patient’s needs such as hygiene, food, water, or clothing are not met.
- Resident to resident abuse occurs when one patient is allowed to abuse another.
What are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
There are many signs that a nursing home patient has been abused. These signs are manifested in both physical and psychological ways. Physical signs of abuse may include broken bones, bruises, bedsores, dehydration, and frequent infections. Psychological signs of abuse may include mood swings, emotional outbursts, refusal to speak, fear of caregivers, and refusal to eat or take medications.
Are There Laws and Punishments Concerning Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Elder abuse is a crime. A person can be convicted of aggravated assault for the physical neglect or exploitation of a patient in a nursing home. A court can also award damages for the abuse. These damages may include compensation for theft or property damage, punitive damages, court costs, and attorneys’ fees.
The National Council on Aging reports that 1 in 10 Americans aged 60 years or older have experienced some form of elder abuse. The Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee found that 30% of nursing homes in the United States were cited for instances of abuse over a two year period (1999-2001). If you or your loved one has experienced nursing home abuse, contact the authorities, and then contact your attorney by calling (276) 451-2056 to schedule a free consultation.
Keep in mind that elderly abuse does not always occur just in a nursing home or assisted living facility. It may even occur among private care in which you have a caregiver come to your loved one’s home to care for them. In these instances, the caregiver can still be charged with neglect or abuse, should it occur.
The Law Offices of Michael R. Munsey, P.C., are proud to serve clients in Bristol, Kingsport and Johnson City, TN, as well as Bristol, VA.