Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Learn From the Experience of Our Arizona Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

When nursing home staff abuses or neglects your loved one, the pain and heartache can be infuriating. The choice to place an elder family member or friend in a nursing home facility is never easy. As such, you deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing your loved one is both valued and safe.

Unfortunately, proper care sometimes slips through the cracks. But there is something you can do about it. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about nursing home abuse and neglect:

What Is the Difference Between Neglect and Abuse?

Nursing home neglect takes place when staff members fail to provide life’s basic necessities. This can include things like food, medicine, and proper hygiene. In some cases of neglect, staff members do the best they can with the time and resources they have. Many times, these issues originate from mismanagement and failure to follow policies and procedures. In other cases, staffers simply do not consider an elderly individual’s needs.

Nursing home abuse happens when caretakers use physical force or emotional manipulation to harm a patient. This type of abuse may include threats, intimidation, or isolation. Nursing home abuse is a criminal activity in which there is a clear abuser and a clear victim.

How Common Is Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse?

Nursing home abuse and neglect is far more common than people realize. One study from Michigan found that nearly a quarter of residents experienced at least one instance of physical abuse during their time in a nursing home. This estimate is likely low compared to the actual number of abuse victims. In reality, many victims are unwilling or unable to report their abuse in an official capacity. These trends of elder abuse are often seen all across the nation, including here in Arizona.

According to The National Center for Victims of Crime, the breakdown of elder abuse complaints is as follows:

  • 4 percent physical abuse
  • 1 percent resident-on-resident abuse
  • 4 percent psychological abuse
  • 3 percent gross neglect
  • 9 percent sexual abuse
  • 9 percent financial exploitation

What Are the Warning Signs of Abuse?

The signs of nursing home abuse may include unexplained injuries, bruises or welts on the body, signs of restraint, broken glasses, unusual behavior, personality changes, or the refusal to allow visitors to be alone with the patient.

If you have noticed any of these warning signs, file an official complaint to begin a formal investigation.

What Are the Warning Signs of Neglect?

Nursing home neglect can be a little more difficult to spot than abuse. Warning signs might include:

  • A general lack of hygiene,
  • Poor living conditions,
  • Untreated or numerous bedsores,
  • Frequent injuries, or
  • Failure to properly administer medication.
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss

If you have noticed any of these signs, speak with nursing home management to get these issues fixed. If the facility fails to address your concerns, you may consider filing an official complaint.

What Factors Make Someone More Vulnerable to Abuse?

There are many factors that may make someone more vulnerable to abuse. For example, while both men and women are at risk of suffering nursing home abuse, women are statistically more likely to be victims.

Other high-risk categories for abuse include:

  • Patients who suffer from mental impairment,
  • Patients in poor medical health, or
  • Patients who are socially isolated.

There is also evidence that residents with a history of trauma and abuse are more likely to become victims again in the future. This is often blamed on the “sixth sense” of abusers, who can pinpoint which residents are least likely to report the crime.

What Are the Criminal and Civil Penalties for Abusers?

There are a number of laws that address criminal penalties for nursing home abuse. If you believe your loved one has suffered severe abuse at the hands of a nursing home employee, you should absolutely contact the authorities to report the crime.

You may also choose to consider civil restitution by filing a personal injury lawsuit. This lawsuit will seek compensation for your loved one’s injuries, pain and suffering, and medical bills. Experienced Arizona nursing home abuse lawyers can help you along the way.

How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?

In the state of Arizona, you have two years from the date of injury to file a personal injury lawsuit against the nursing home or staff member responsible for abuse or neglect.

Contact Our Dedicated Arizona Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers to Represent Your Family

Do you have reason to believe your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home? Our experienced Arizona nursing home abuse lawyers have helped families all over the state. Our skilled representation helps our clients get the compensation they deserve. You can contact our Phoenix office by dialing 602-737-0342 or by filling out our online contact form.