Elder abuse has occurred for a long time and is not uncommon, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But abuse has taken place with more frequency against nursing home residents. Victims and their families have the right, however, to pursue lawsuits for nursing home abuse.
According to the CDC, there were almost 1.3 million nursing home residents in this country in 2015. Data from the National Center on Elder Abuse revealed that almost one in three nursing homes were cited for violations. Approximately one in 10 facilities had violations causing serious injury or harm, including injuries that were life-threatening.
Almost 50 percent of nursing home staff admitted to mistreating residents. Neglect was the most common mistreatment according to NCEA.
Forty-four percent of residents reported abuse and 95 percent said that they were neglected or witnessed neglect of another resident, according to NCEA.
There are six types of nursing home abuse complaints:
- Physical: 29 percent.
- Resident abusing resident: 22 percent.
- Psychological abuse: 21 percent.
- Gross neglect: 14 percent.
- Sexual abuse: Seven percent.
- Financial exploitation: Seven percent.
Residents may show physical and mental signs of nursing home abuse or neglect. These include bedsores, signs of wandering, seeming malnourished or dehydrated, asphyxiation, broken eyeglasses, frequent infections, frequent falling, trouble sleeping, weight gain or loss, behavior changes and acting aggressive or uncooperative.
Other signs include being withdrawn, appearing upset or agitated and being uncommunicative. Victims may have frequent injuries that are unexplained such as broken bones, sprains, bruises, or dislocations.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that you immediately call 9-1-1 if you suspect that a person is in a life-threatening situation or immediate danger. You may also report concerns to local police or Adult Protective Services.
New York has a 24/7 complaint hotline (1-888-201-4563). Pennsylvania residents can call a hotline for nursing home complaints (1-800-254-5164) or personal care and assisted living facilities. (1-877-401-8835).
These typically include lost wages if the victim was working when they were injured or died and damages for reduced ability to earn if the injury prevents the victim from working.
Other damages may be sought for pain and suffering, medical bills, disfigurement, funeral costs, loss of companionship, metal anguish and loss of enjoyment of life.
An attorney can take action to assure that a loved one is treated safely, competently and with dignity and respect. Lawyers can also help assure that a lawsuit is timely filed.