What Should I Do if I Believe My Parent is a Victim of Nursing Home Abuse?
July 10, 2020
One of the most difficult decisions a person will make will be when they decide to move their parent to a nursing home. The decision is never taken lightly and for many families, it’s often a last resort when their loved one can no longer safely or adequately take care of themselves. There are countless guides on the internet that talk about how to select the perfect nursing home. These guides tell you to “look past the lobby,” be cognizant of the staff’s demeanor and to ask as many questions as you can while visiting. Once you’ve located the nursing home that meets your loved one’s needs and of course, your own standards, you can breathe a sigh of relief. After all, you’re entrusting that the nursing home you selected will properly care for your loved one. But sometimes that trust is broken – and it can leave you with countless questions about what to do next.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
The National Council on Aging has identified at least seven different types of elder abuse. These include:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Financial abuse
- Sexual abuse
It’s important to recognize the warning signs of abuse and neglect, however, it’s important to remember that neglect may have different meanings depending on the individual’s needs. However, below are some of the most common examples of nursing home abuse and/or neglect:
Examples of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Physical abuse is when someone uses intentional force to harm someone else. Most commonly, physical abuse in nursing homes may come in the form of punching, slapping, hitting and even using medical restraints improperly. Be cognizant if you notice any of the following:
- Broken bones
- Unexplained bruises and/or other types of injuries
- Tooth loss
- Sudden hair loss
Sexual abuse, is of course, when someone engages in unwanted sexual activity with another person. Nursing home residents may have certain cognitive diagnoses such as dementia or Alzheimer’s that specifically prevents them from consenting to a sexual act. Common signs of sexual abuse often include:
- Pelvic injuries
- Newly diagnosed sexually transmitted diseases
- Bruised genital areas
- Difficulty walking and/or sitting
- Social withdrawal
- Panic attacks
Changes in personality such as social withdrawal and panic attacks may also be a sign of emotional abuse. Psychological abuse is when someone purposely tries to intimidate and inflict mental anguish on someone else. Common signs of psychological elder abuse can include:
- Mood swings
- Difficulty sleeping
- Withdrawal from social interactions
- Isolation from friends and family
- Low self-esteem
- Eye-contact avoidance
Furthermore, if you find that your loved one’s hair is unwashed or that their bed or clothes are soiled and unwashed, it may be a sign of negligence. Other forms of negligence can include malnutrition, dehydration and poor hygiene.
Why Does Nursing Home Abuse Occur?
Studies show that only 1 in every 14 cases of nursing home abuse are reported. However, what causes this type of abuse and neglect in the first place? Experts weigh in and believe the most common causes of these forms of elder abuse occur because of the following:
- Poor supervision and management
- Insufficient training
- Staff shortages
- Underpaid staff
- Individual resident risk factors
Studies show that residents who have severe physical and/or cognitive disabilities are at most risk for being victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. Studies also show that women, veterans and LGBT individuals are also at a greater risk of suffering abuse and neglect. If you believe your loved one was the victim of abuse and neglect, trust your gut and call an attorney who can advocate on your loved one’s behalf.
Contact A Rochelle Park Personal Injury Lawyer To Discuss Your Nursing Home Abuse Case In New Jersey
Did your loved one sustain serious injuries due to nursing home abuse in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at the Epstein Law Firm, P.A. represents clients injured because of nursing home abuse and neglect in Ridgewood, Mahwah, Montvale, Teaneck, Fort Lee and throughout New Jersey. Call 201-231-7847 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 340 West Passaic Street Rochelle Park, NJ 07662.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.