It is estimated that around two million Americans live in facilities for elders. That means a substantial number of people may be vulnerable to being abused or neglected by their caretakers. Nursing home regulations at the federal level state that residents have the right to be free from sexual, verbal, physical and mental abuse, along with free from involuntary seclusion and corporal punishment.
If you suspect that your loved one is facing mistreatment from the staff at their nursing home, it’s time to recruit an attorney for help getting them somewhere safe. Your attorney can also give you information on how to hold the facility accountable for the actions of their caretakers.
How is abuse and neglect defined?
Abuse is when someone commits intentional harm against another in which there is injury, intimidation, unreasonable confinement, deprivation of care, or punishment. Neglect is the intentional or unintentional failure to provide someone with the services needed to ensure they are free of pain and harm. Neglect could also be when someone fails to react to a dangerous situation that causes harm or anxiety to the resident.
What are the different types of abuse and neglect?
There are many ways that a resident may be mistreated. Family members can help reduce the chances of their loved one enduring abuse or neglect in a nursing home by visiting often, dropping by unpredictably (not letting staff know ahead of time), and talking with their loved one without any staff present. If abuse or neglect is going on, it may be happening in any of the following ways:
- Assault and battery: slapping, pinching, kicking, beating, threats, emotional abuse, or verbal abuse.
- Lack of proper care: depriving residents of food, not giving them prescriptions or other care they need for a medical condition, not changing clothes daily, not assisting with hygiene, etc.
- Rape or sexual assault: caretakers may take advantage of residents, and those with illnesses where they cannot speak up for themselves may be at an increased vulnerability to sexual assault.
- Overuse of restraints: staff may misuse or be overly aggressive when utilizing restrains for medical treatments.
What can I do to protect my loved one?
The best way to protect your relative is by being involved in their care, staying attentive to changes in their behavior or health, and asking questions such as how they are feeling, whether any staff members are mean to them, and if they are getting the care they need. Keep in mind that if your loved one is scared into being quiet by a staff member, they may not openly tell you what is going on. If that is the case, then you will need to stay alert to any signs that something is wrong. If you see any of the signs below, speak with an attorney today:
- Dehydration and malnutrition
- Unexplained bruises, cuts, or other injuries
- Emotional outbursts
- Change in personality
- Avoiding certain staff members
- Refusing to take medications
- Withdrawing from loved ones
If you or someone you know might have been abused in a nursing home, contact a nursing home abuse lawyer today.