7 Types of Abuse that Takes Place in Nursing Homes
The World Health Organization defines elder abuse as a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, that occurs within a relationship of trust that results in harm or distress to an elderly person. It can be physical, sexual, emotional, financial, or caused by neglect whether intentional or unintentional by a caretaker or a relative. A nursing home attorney at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. notes all these underlying details when abuse to an elderly person brings about a medical malpractice lawsuit and should be contacted if there is any suspicion of abuse.
With over a million elderly people living in nursing homes, the chances of there being intentional or unintentional instances of abuse are many. In fact, over 95 % of residents and patients in nursing homes complain of neglect due to shortage of staff, inadequate living conditions, or nonexistent policies, practices, and procedures. Abuse of the elderly is high on the list to attract a medical malpractice attorney’s attention at our law firm.
7 Types of Abuses
1. Emotional Abuse
When an elderly person is emotionally abused in a nursing home situation they are usually isolated from their friends and family members. At times they can be treated like a child, disciplined for bad behavior, and removed from the social flow of the facility. Insensitive staff and other residents may insult a person, harass them, or ignore them to inflict emotional pain and distress.
2. Sexual Abuse
Sexual contact with a person who is unable to provide consent is considered sexual abuse. Inappropriate touching, intercourse, coerced nudity, and submitting the person to pose for nude pictures are all considered to be sexual abuse. Some things to look for when a person is being sexually abused are genital infections, bruises on the breasts or anus, and bleeding from the vagina or anus.
3. Physical Abuse
There are many types of physical abuse, and some are clearly recognizable while others are not. Shoving, kicking, or slapping may go unnoticed, and even inaccurate drug administration could slip by undetected. More apparent signs are fractured skulls, bruises, welts, lacerations, or broken bones. Visitors should be wary if they are not allowed in to see a resident, and if the patient exhibits sharp changes in attitude and interactions with others.
4. Abandonment of the Elderly
A person or caregiver who has responsibility for the care of an elderly person could be abusing the person by leaving them at a shopping mall or in a train station or bus station. Abandonment may also occur when the person responsible stops visiting or keeping contact by severing all means of communication.
5. Financial Abuse
There are many instances when a nursing home staff member, a relative, or another resident may take advantage of an elderly resident by obtaining their credit card information and using it to make unwarranted purchases. Other types of financial abuse might be within the family when wills are changed, or property is sold or mishandled. Nursing home administrators need to be on the lookout for situations where the resident is not receiving the appropriate care in relation to their stated income or too many services that place them at risk financially.
In a nursing home, sometimes residents will refuse or fail to use their prescribed medications, glasses, or other medical devices. This also includes instances where personal hygiene lapses or they put their safety at risk by walking away or fleeing the nursing home premises.
7. Neglect of the Elderly
A refusal to provide an elderly person with the basic comforts of life can be considered abuse. All elderly people deserve a safe and sanitary place to live, and they also deserve to have the appropriate food to eat and clean clothes to wear. A caretaker or relative who is responsible for the care of the elderly person, but who refuses to provide these basic needs can be charged with abuse. Nursing homes can be guilty of this if they charge high fees but offer services that are below the minimum expected.
Our elderly population deserves the best comfort and care in their later years that we can provide. At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. understand the importance of caring for the elderly in our communities, and we are prepared to litigate for families where elderly abuse occurs. Contact us at Cochranlaw.com or call 1-866-MICH-LAW (1-866-642-4529) for a free consultation.