Types of Nursing Home Abuse

Even though we often think of nursing homes as places of compassion and healing, they unfortunately can turn into scenes of abuse, neglect, and suffering. In a study conducted by the United States General Accounting Office in 1998, one in three California nursing homes was cited for serious or potentially life-threatening care problems.

If your family or loved ones have suffered from nursing home abuse you must take immediate legal action. Depending on the seriousness of your situation you may be entitled to collect a financial settlement for the physical and emotional anguish. Don't wait - laws called statutes of limitations restrict the amount of time you have to pursue justice. Don't let your family or loved ones suffer any more. Contact a knowledgeable nursing home abuse lawyer today.

Nursing Home Abuse - Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is one of the most common but underreported crimes in the United States today. Any type of physical or mental intentional or unintentional inflicted on a person over the age of 60 can be classified as elder abuse. Abusing an elderly person is much like abusing a child; typically the victim cannot defend themselves against a stronger or aggressive person, or perhaps does know now how to report the abuse. Those who take advantage of elderly people are the worst type of bullies.

Elderly people are extremely vulnerable to a number of types of abuse. This abuse can be at the hands of friends, relatives, nursing home staff, or anyone who wishes to be cruel to and victimize a defenseless adult. Some of the more common types of elder abuse include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse, either psychological or verbal
  • Neglect or abandonment by caregivers
  • Self-neglect without intervention
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial exploitation of elders
  • Healthcare fraud or healthcare abuse

These are certainly not the only types of abuse the elderly can suffer; they are simply the most reported. People rarely consider that elder abuse exists, but unfortunately it is all too real for the millions of seniors who are abused, neglected, or abandoned on a daily basis.

No one should spend their golden years as the victim of inhumane abuse. If you suspect your loved one is a victim of elder abuse you must take it upon yourself to take legal action on their behalf. Those responsible for their cruelty must be held accountable for their crimes. The first step is contacting an attorney who can help you find the justice you and your loved one deserves. Do it today.

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Negligent Care

Many elderly and infirmed people require specialized care that family or loved ones cannot provide. In these difficult situations, family members must entrust the health, safety, and wellbeing of loved ones to the care facilities like nursing homes and are asked to have faith that the people who staff these centers will treat them with the respect and care they deserve. Unfortunately this is not often the case.

It is not always easy to distinguish what constitutes negligent care in a nursing home. Obvious conditions such as bed sores, dilapidated facilities, and unclean medical facilities are often due to the lackadaisical attitudes of the owners, staff, and employees in a nursing home. Many victims of negligent care in a nursing home suffer not only physical neglect and improper care, but also emotional and mental neglect as well.

Any time a person in the care of another is victimized by the negligence or the carelessness of their alleged "caretakers" is not only a crime against the patient, but a crime against everyone. Do not let your loved ones suffer at the hands of their nursing home. Contact a compassionate, experienced nursing home abuse lawyer today.

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Inadequate Facilities in Nursing Homes

A nursing home requires specialized equipment, numerous medical devices, and easily accessible facilities in order to provide their patients with the correct standard of care. These facilities and equipment must be constantly maintained and repaired, for elderly people can have medical crises that demand immediate attention.

Tragically, many nursing homes subject their patients to inadequate or obsolete facilities. These institutions not only deprive their clients of the care they need, but also charge exorbitant sums of money and misrepresent their facilities as top quality nursing centers.

If your loved one resides in a nursing home that fails to provide the necessary facilities you may able to take legal action against the institution. The statute of limitations restricts the amount of time you have to pursue your case, so you must contact a knowledgeable and experienced nursing home abuse attorney immediately.

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Below Standard Care

Even though the decision to seek a nursing home for our loved ones is often a difficult and trying situation, we all believe that the people we entrust with our family will be of the highest moral quality. Unfortunately this is not often the case. A study conducted by the U.S. Congress Committee on Government Reform in 1999 found that only one home out of 439 in Los Angeles maintained all federally regulated standards for care.

Many cases of substandard care involve inadequate nutrition, improperly maintained facilities, unclean rooms, and unsafe living conditions. In other instances, the staff at these homes is not prepared to meet the mental, physical, and emotional needs of their patients, causing a great deal of frustration and misery for both client and patient. The nursing home may be intentionally depriving their patients of the standard of living they deserve in order to illegally take money intended for the care and support of their clients.

It is often difficult to prove the extent of below standard nursing home care which is why you need to contact a lawyer immediately. The extent of below standard care maybe much more complicated than only your loved one. It's essential to find a nursing home abuse attorney who has the knowledge, dedication, and experience to fight for the justice that your loved one deserves.

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Failure to Medicate

Elderly patients in nursing homes often need a wide selection of medications to treat their conditions and to alleviate pain and discomfort. When pain relieving or other vital medications are withheld for no good reason it can be construed as abuse.

Sometimes the failure to medicate derives from the negligence or irresponsibility of the caretakers at the facility. Those who own, run, and operate nursing homes have the duty and obligation to ensure that their clients receive the drugs they need. Failing to provide lifesaving pharmaceuticals at their prescribed intervals is unfortunately all too common in many nursing homes throughout the country.

If someone you love has suffered harm because of the negligence, irresponsibility, or cruelty of their nursing home staff members, you must take immediate legal action. Statutes of limitations restrict the amount of time you have to pursue your case, so the sooner you begin the sooner you will have justice. Contact an experienced and compassionate nursing home abuse lawyer today.

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Physical Abuse in Nursing Homes

Physical abuse in nursing homes can take many forms, from actual harm directly inflicted onto a victim, to neglected physical ailments such as bedsores, to the use of unwarranted physical restraints. Because many people in nursing homes can be physically very frail, any form of physical violence can result in serious injuries that will most likely go unreported.

It is often difficult to distinguish normal physical ailments from deliberately inflicted injuries. Sometimes unscrupulous nursing home employees will go to great lengths to conceal signs of abuse from other staff, family members, and even the victims themselves. Overmedication is an easy form of control that enables cruel and sadistic people to conceal the traces of their crimes.

If your loved one is a victim of physical abuse you must take immediate action against those responsible. An experienced, compassionate attorney can help you hold those responsible for inflicting pain on your family accountable. Contact a nursing home physical abuse lawyer today.

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Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes

Truly one of the most offensive and repugnant forms of nursing home abuse is sexual abuse at the hands of caretakers, staff, or other patients. The victims of nursing home sexual abuse frequently cannot defend themselves against their aggressors, and cannot turn to anyone for help in preventing unwanted sexual content.

In extreme cases, sexual abuse goes unreported because the victims themselves are not aware of the abuse. Some cases of institutionalized sexual exploitation of the elderly involves the overmedication of innocent victims in order to keep them passive so that sadistic people can use them for the own purposes. Nursing home sexual aggressors can take many forms, including staff members, residents, strangers, and even family members and spouses. It is the duty of the nursing home to protect their patients and to prevent abuse of any kind.

No one needs to be told how reprehensible nursing home sexual abuse is. If someone you love is a victim of sexual abuse you must contact a nursing home lawyer and take immediate action. A compassionate nursing home abuse attorney can help you receive justice today.

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Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is one of the most subtle forms of abuse in a nursing home. Often the victims of such pervasive abuse will feel powerless to change their situation, or fear that reporting such abuse will only make it worse. Emotional abuse can also inhibit the healing process, and make recovery from long-term or chronic injury that much more difficult.

Emotional abuse is defined as "the infliction of anguish, pain, or distress through verbal or nonverbal acts." Residents of nursing homes are extremely vulnerable to this form of abuse, for often they feel powerless to stand up to their abusers out of fear of retribution. Furthermore, the aggressors often feel empowered by the fact that their abuse leaves no physical evidence, and few people heed the complaints of emotionally traumatized elderly people. Aside from verbal assaults, threats, and insults, emotional abuse can also be caused by isolation, silent treatment, or the deliberately treatment of a grown adult like an infant child.

It can be difficult to determine if your loved one has been the victim of emotional abuse during their stay at a nursing home. If in fact they have been emotionally abused at the hands of their "caregivers" you need to take immediate legal action. They may be entitled to a settlement based on their anguish, pain, and suffering. Contact a compassionate nursing home abuse attorney today.

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Abandonment/Failure to Provide Care

The primary goal of a nursing home is to provide care for those who cannot care for themselves. These caregivers must sometimes cater to a wide variety of needs, medical conditions, and mental issues, so it is absolutely critical that the people employed in these places have up to date training and proper supervision. When nursing homes fail in their primary duty it is the responsibility for those who love and care for the victims to take action necessary to prevent such abuse.

Abandonment is one of the classic types of nursing home abuse. It is a commonly known fact that most nursing homes are severely understaffed; in fact, statistics indicate that 54% of all nursing homes fall below the minimum standard of two hours of care each day per patient. A more disturbing statistic is that 31% of nursing homes fall below the standard of a registered nurse attending a patient for as little as 12 minutes a day. It is no wonder that so many nursing home residents suffer from abandonment or inadequate care.

Abandonment and failure to provide care can be extremely difficult to detect, but can cause untold suffering. If your loved one has been the victim of abandonment at their nursing home you may have the right to take legal action against those responsible. Nursing home litigation can be extremely complicated, but a dedicated, compassionate, and experienced attorney can help you fight for justice today.

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Financial and Material Exploitation

It is an unfortunate fact that many people who need nursing homes no longer have the mental faculties to oversee their finances. At times unscrupulous people employed to aid people in nursing homes exploit the situation for their own personal gain. The abuse of financial resources is often one of the most unnoticed and underreported crimes against nursing home patients.

Nursing home financial and material exploitation can include:

  • Cashing checks without authorization or permission
  • Forging signatures
  • Misusing or theft of money or possessions
  • Forcing or deceiving a resident into signing any document (contracts or will)
  • Improper use of conservatorship, guardianship, or power of attorney
  • Sudden changes in bank account or banking practice
  • Unexplained or unauthorized withdrawal of large amounts of money
  • Additional names or signatures on a resident's ATM or bank card
  • Sudden alterations in a will, estate, or other financial documents
  • Funds or valuable possessions suddenly disappearing
  • Substandard care or unpaid bills despite available financial resources
  • Forged signatures for financial transactions or the titles of the possessions of the patient
  • Previously uninvolved relatives demanding access to a patient's affairs and possessions
  • Unnecessary services provided to patient in order to charge extra fees.

If you believe your loved one's nursing home is taking advantage of someone financially, you must take action immediately. Contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney today, so that your loved one isn't left empty-handed tomorrow.

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Medical Errors

Many Americans owe their lives to various medications. Elderly patients tend to take many different drugs that are needed to preserve their health and this can sometimes make it difficult for inadequately trained caretakers to distinguish who receives what medication.

It is the responsibility of the nursing facility to ensure that their employees have the proper understanding and training to adequately administer medication to their clients. Furthermore, it is the duty of those who own nursing homes to screen their employees with great care to prevent hiring negligent, incompetent, or cruel people.

If a loved one suffered injury or harm because of a medication error in a nursing home, you may have the right to take legal action. You may be entitled to seek compensation for the hardship caused by the actions or inactions of your nursing care facility. Contact a dedicated and compassionate nursing home abuse lawyer today.

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Malpractice

Nursing home patients often require dedicated and specialized medical care more than people in standard medical facilities. Tragically, many nursing homes are so understaffed that they cannot properly administer medication to their patients in a timely fashion. In fact, a study by USA Today in 2003 showed that half of all people in nursing homes suffer from untreated pain. Even though nursing homes must have a nurse on duty 24 hours a day, these overworked and underpaid individuals cannot cope with the 1.6 million Americans who live in these facilities.

Malpractice can also be responsible for serious medical conditions, including death. A government study found 9000 individual cases of medical malpractice, and similar study found that 5000 death certificates issued for patients at nursing listed starvation, bedsores, or dehydration as the primary cause of death. These deaths are inexcusable, and could have been easily prevented had appropriate medical care been available. Nursing homes can also intentionally overmedicate their patients to keep them subdued or prevent them from expressing their concerns to family or loved ones.

If your loved one is the victim of nursing home malpractice you have rights. The law is extremely clear in stating that nursing homes must maintain a certain standard of care for their patients, and any violation of these standards can result in legal action. You and your loved one may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. Statutes of limitations restrict the amount of time you have to pursue your case, so contact a dedicated nursing home malpractice lawyer today.

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List of commom problems and types of nursing home abuse page updated on 12/04/2006.