No one wants to think about nursing home abuse and neglect, but the sad reality is that it happens all too often. It is estimated that around 1 in 6 nursing home residents experience some form of abuse or neglect, which can cause significant physical and emotional harm. If you believe that your loved one has been a victim, you can seek justice. You may be able to file a claim against the facility to pursue compensation for the damages that have been done.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Nursing home abuse and neglect is a serious problem affecting thousands of people annually. Abuse involves direct action against a resident and can take many forms, including physical, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse. In contrast, neglect is failing to provide required care and basic needs such as food, shelter, medical treatment, or supervision.
Abuse and neglect can have devastating effects on nursing home residents. Victims may suffer from physical injuries, emotional trauma, and even death. In addition, nursing home abuse and neglect can lead to financial exploitation.
What Types of Acts Constitute Abuse and Neglect?
Many types of conduct can be considered nursing home abuse or neglect.
They include the following:
- Physical abuse involves physical force used against a resident without their consent. Examples include hitting, slapping, kicking, shoving, or using a weapon. Signs that physical abuse has occurred include, but are not limited to, broken bones, bruises, scratches, or other injuries.
- Sexual abuse consists of sexual contact or conduct made without the resident's consent. Acts can include fondling, rape, or sodomy. Residents subject to this abuse may withdraw from social activities or avoid specific individuals.
- Psychological abuse is verbal or nonverbal communication that causes emotional anguish or distress. Residents might endure name-calling, threats, humiliation, intimidation, or isolation.
- Financial abuse is the unauthorized use of a resident’s money or property. This can include stealing cash, checks, credit cards, or jewelry. It may also involve the perpetrator tricking the resident into "voluntarily" giving up assets.
- Lack of care is when a nursing home fails to provide necessities to a resident. Negligent conduct might include withholding food, water, shelter, clothing, or personal hygiene items. Neglected residents can develop a range of health conditions, including bedsores, infections, dehydration, or malnutrition.
What Are Some of the Causes of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Various factors can contribute to nursing home abuse and neglect. One of the most common is understaffing. When facilities are short-staffed, employees are often overworked and stressed, which can lead to burnout. This can result in them taking shortcuts with resident care or even acting out in frustration.
Another issue is inadequate training. Staff members can make mistakes if the facility does not properly train them in handling difficult behaviors or providing quality care.
Finally, negligent hiring practices can also lead to abuse and neglect. If background checks are not properly conducted or red flags are ignored, dangerous individuals can slip through the cracks and end up working with vulnerable residents.
How Can Filing a Claim Help Victims Seek Justice?
When an older person is abused or neglected in a nursing home, their loved ones may want to take legal action. First, they may report the incident to local authorities, which can result in criminal charges against the perpetrator and/or facility. Next, they can file a claim against the nursing home to seek justice further.
Victims of nursing home abuse or neglect may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. They may recover damages for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses and expenses. In some cases, punitive damages may be available. Filing a claim can also help prevent future abuse.
Turn to a Lawyer for Help with Your Case
Taking legal action against a nursing home can help hold it accountable for its staff’s wrongful conduct. It can also send a message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated. Filing a claim against a nursing home can be a complicated process. If someone you love has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, reach out to an experienced attorney to discuss your options.
Schedule a consultation with a member of our Columbus team at Rourke and Blumenthal LLC by calling (614) 321-3212 or submitting an online contact form today.