written by: Adrian Greene, Sokolove Law
April 1, 2021
Nursing homes are designed to provide high-quality care to residents whose families cannot care for their elderly or disabled loved ones on their own. However, residents at nursing homes and assisted living facilities may be at risk of abuse and neglect. Sokolove Law has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for families affected by the unacceptable act of nursing home abuse.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse has been a nationally-recognized problem since the 1970s, according to the U.S. National Research Council.
It occurs when elderly residents suffer serious harm or neglect while living in a nursing home. The abuse or neglect of elders can lead to mental problems, serious illnesses, and even death.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), 1 in 10 adults at least 60 years old or older will experience elder abuse in any given year.
Families often have no other choice but to place an elderly loved one in a nursing home. This is often the case for seniors who suffer from physical or mental conditions that need round-the-clock care.
Most families trust that their elderly loved one will be well taken care of in a nursing home — as these facilities are designed to keep seniors safe and healthy.
Unfortunately, there are reports of residents being seriously injured or dying in nursing homes throughout the United States. Many of these incidents can be traced back to nursing home abuse.
Nursing home residents can be:
- Emotionally abused
- Verbally assaulted
- Physically harmed
- Financially exploited
- Seriously neglected
- Sexually abused
No matter what form abuse takes, it brings serious harm and is unacceptable.
Causes of Nursing Home Abuse
Not all nursing homes are able to provide the same standard of care. Some facilities lack the resources and oversight needed to ensure all residents receive quality care.
Some nursing homes are chronically understaffed and may be unable to take care of their many residents.
We understand that many nursing home staff members work long, hard hours. Many of these caregivers are a blessing to families who cannot care for an elderly loved one on their own.
Unfortunately, nursing home staff are not immune to the challenges that arise from understaffing and poor management, and sometimes intentional abuse occurs.
Nursing home staff members may experience:
- Burnout and overwork
- Improper training
- Lack of management or supervision
- Shortages and understaffing
Any of these external factors may contribute to nursing home abuse or neglect.
Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
It cannot be overstated: If you know the signs of nursing home abuse, you can be the one to end it.
Elderly citizens may be at higher risk of abuse if they have mental or physical ailments that make it harder for them to speak up. For example, a resident with dementia may not be able to tell you if another resident has hurt them.
Despite this higher risk, there are steps you can take to help keep your loved one safe.
Take a look at the list below. If you notice that your loved one exhibits any of these abuse warning signs, do not wait — take immediate action.
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Unexplained bruising
Signs of Neglect
- Dehydration or malnourishment
- Improper medications
- Poor hygiene
- Soiled bedding
- Agitation, withdrawal, or fear
- Frequent crying
- Complaints of poor treatment
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse
Many incidents of nursing home abuse go unreported — as many as 24% of incidents are not reported, according to the DOJ.
If you suspect that someone you love has been abused, there are options available. If needed, you can remove your loved one from the nursing home.
Always call 911 if someone’s life is in immediate danger. In all abuse cases, the health of the victim should be the biggest priority.
If you suspect abuse, you can also file a report with local, state, and national authorities. Keep in mind, some reporting procedures vary by state.
Each state has Adult Protective Services (APS) agencies. APS operates with state governments to keep elders safe. Every state also has a long-term care ombudsman program. Ombudsmen are volunteers who listen to the concerns of nursing home residents and work toward solutions.
To learn more about your options, view our list of nursing home abuse resources by state.
Reporting elder abuse is a crucial step. By bringing to light the abuse, you hold the nursing home and the abusers accountable. This can bring about positive change and protect other families from suffering.
Once the abuse is reported, you may also wish to seek justice and compensation through a nursing home abuse lawsuit. To get the process started, contact Sokolove Law, a trusted nursing home abuse law firm.
Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers and Lawsuits
Nursing home abuse causes suffering — both to residents and their families. The victim may have suffered injuries that require medical attention. Those who trusted a nursing home to care for their loved one may be emotionally distraught. No matter your financial circumstances, you have access to justice.
Nursing home abuse lawyers can help you:
- Collect documents, statements, and records to strengthen your case
- Receive financial compensation through a legal claim
- Hold the abusers accountable
General lawyers may not have the resources or experience to properly handle your case, so families are encouraged to work with a nursing home abuse lawyer. Don't wait until neglect has gone on for too long. Report it now.