According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 6 people over the age of 60 have been victims of elder abuse or neglect. The same research has also shown that long term care residents are at a much higher risk of abuse and neglect than those who are cared for at home.
Sadly, home care is expensive and may not be available to everyone. This article identifies the red flags and offers advice on how to make sure your elderly family members are protected.
What Constitutes Neglect or Abuse
Caregivers and workers in nursing homes are trained professionals who are supposed to offer better care for your elderly loved ones than you can.
Unfortunately, some of these nursing homes betray your trust and abuse the elderly. Here are the types of abuse.
Physical Abuse: This refers to the use of unnecessary force on the residents of the facility. It may involve kicking, shoving, hitting or physically restraining the elderly. In extreme cases, it involves sexual abuse. Physical abuse results in both physical injuries and emotional harm.
Emotional Abuse: This form of abuse occurs when the residents are verbally assaulted through name-calling and intimidation. It often leads to depression.
Financial Abuse: Financial abuse is much harder to detect. It occurs when the caregivers and workers in the nursing home steal money from the residents. It involves faking financial documents, tricking them into signing papers or overcharging them for services offered.
Neglect: Negligence refers to the failure of the caregivers to carry out their duties. Such refusal to provide medication, nutritional requirements or proper sanitation.
The elderly may not be in a position to tell you that they are being abused. The following are warning signs that should tip you off.
- Physical Abuse
Physical abuse can be detected by unexplained physical injuries on the body. These are evident through bruises, skin tears, dislocations, swellings. Restraint marks on the chest, neck or wrists.
- Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse signs are, unexplained genital infections, bruising near private parts and blood-stained undergarments.
- Signs of Neglect
They include unexplained weight loss, signs of dehydration like sunken eyes, poor personal hygiene, bedsore and rashes
- Financial Neglect
Keep an eye for hefty payments for services that are less likely to be used. Monitor the loved one’s accounts for unusual withdrawals.
Why You Need an Attorney
A competent lawyer who specializes in nursing home abuse and neglect cases makes all the difference. The following are some of the reasons why you need to get an attorney involved.
Information Gathering: Your case will hinge on the evidence you can provide at the trial. An attorney will guide on how to collect and document relevant information. From photographs, statements or medical records.
Initiate Legal Process: The process of filing a claim form, and serving the defendants with notices can only be done by an attorney.
Settlement: Most cases never make it to trial. An attorney will help negotiate fair compensation for your loved one.
Litigation: Should the case go to trial and your attorney is convinced there was wrong-doing. Then your attorney will organize the evidence earlier collected and present it to the court to ensure you get justice.
No human being, regardless of age, should be subjected to any forms of abuse. A majority of elderly abuse and neglect cases go unreported and unpunished.
It is your duty to speak up if you see any signs of abuse. Victims of abuse in nursing homes get into depression and even death in extreme cases.
Nursing homes are run by huge corporations with financial might and legal teams at their disposal. Hiring an experienced attorney is the only way you stand any chance to win. It ensures other people don’t suffer abuse and neglect under their care.