There are many different types of nursing home abuse. Some cases involve physical violence, while others involve the sexual abuse of residents, while others deal with financial exploitation or theft. In other situations, a nursing home staff member will abuse a resident by intentionally withholding food or water, or punish a “bothersome” resident by physically confining the resident. An abusive staff member may even sedate a resident by administering an excessive dose of medication.
While there are numerous forms of nursing home abuse, all have the power to result in emotional anguish, physical injury, wrongful death, or financial devastation that wipes out a lifetime of savings. Regardless of which type of abuse has occurred or is occurring, the victim may be entitled to financial compensation for various damages, including medical bills, pain and suffering, and financial losses related to the abuse.
An experienced nursing home abuse lawyer can help you and your family fight for the compensation and even more importantly, the justice that your loved one deserves. To talk about your nursing home injury claim in a free, no-obligation, and completely confidential legal consultation, contact Brent Wieand.
What Are the Most Common Types of Abuse in Nursing Homes?
It is widely known that nursing home abuse is vastly underreported, largely due to two factors: the systemic failure of regulatory agencies to detect and classify violations, and the hesitance of many victims to come forward with their painful stories.
While it is difficult to confirm statistics on the incidence of nursing home abuse in the U.S., the National Council on Aging (NCOA) estimates that roughly one in 10 seniors aged 60 or older have been abused at some point. Much of this abuse takes place in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, with the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reporting that “within the year 2014, 14,258 (7.6%) of approximately 188,599 complaints reported to Ombudsman programs involved abuse, gross neglect, or exploitation.”
While there are many different examples of what constitutes abuse in nursing homes, most cases will fall into one, or more, of the following three categories:
- Physical Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Financial Abuse
Nursing Home Physical Abuse
There are many examples of physical abuse in care homes for the elderly. Actions that constitute physical abuse of nursing home residents include:
Physical abuse can result in a wide array of injuries and because elderly people are highly susceptible to infections and bone fractures, even a seemingly minor injury can rapidly progress into a life-threatening condition. Injuries and illnesses that can result from physical abuse of nursing home patients include:
- Back Injury
- Broken Bones
- Broken Ankles
- Broken Collarbones
- Broken Nose
- Broken Ribs
- Pelvic Fractures
- Wrist Fractures
- Bruising and Contusions
- Cuts and Lacerations
- Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Scarring and Disfigurement
- Soft Tissue Injury
- Sprain Injuries
- Strain Injuries
- Torn Ligaments
- Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) and Paralysis
Using physical restraints to constrain a resident is also considered to be a form of abuse, and is explicitly prohibited by federal law. The same applies to use of chemical restraints, meaning the intentional and medically unnecessary sedation or medication of residents.
Nursing Home Sexual Abuse
No one wants to consider such a heinous possibility; but the disturbing reality is that rape, sexual assault, unwanted touching, and other forms of sexual abuse and molestation are common occurrences in U.S. nursing homes. Predatory staff members can easily prey on the most vulnerable residents, often targeting those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other conditions that make it impossible for patients to fight back or defend themselves.
Warning signs of nursing home sexual abuse include torn, bloodied, or soiled undergarments, bruising or bite marks around the buttocks or genital area, and changes in the victim’s mood and personality, which may manifest as depression, anxiety, fearfulness, irritability, apathy, or all of the above.
Nursing Home Financial Abuse
Financial abuse occurs when a nursing home employee improperly seizes control of, or gains access to, a resident’s financial resources. The employee might accomplish this by lying to, threatening, or misleading a resident in order to gain his or her sensitive financial information. The employee might take advantage of a resident’s medical condition, such as Alzheimer’s, to obtain “consent” or get a signature, knowing full well that the resident is incapable of making an informed financial decision.
Once accessed, a resident’s financial information such as a social security number, credit card number, or routing number can be used to commit identity theft, go on a spending spree, or seize control of valuable assets. In other cases, a nursing home employee will simply steal the resident’s most valuable possessions, such as the resident’s jewelry.
Contact Our Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers About Injury Compensation
If your mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, spouse, or other elderly loved one was a victim of abuse at a nursing home anywhere in the United States, our personal injury attorneys can help your family fight to recover financial compensation. By holding the facility’s employees accountable for their cruel and malicious actions against your family member, you could even save other seniors from suffering through the same experience.
When you hire our caring and experienced nursing home abuse attorneys, we will work tirelessly with the goal of securing justice for your family member and obtaining the resources your loved one needs to get quality care and support. Our mission as nursing home injury lawyers is to help right the wrongs that have been perpetrated against some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
If you believe you might have a personal injury claim or wrongful death claim involving negligent or abusive nursing home staff, please do not hesitate to contact our law offices for answers to your legal questions. We offer free initial consultations, and will always keep your information private. To arrange your free legal consultation with a nursing home injury attorney, contact Brent Wieand for immediate assistance.