Nursing Home and Elder Abuse Facts
There are more than 3.2 million adults currently living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in the United States. Approximately 50% of Americans reaching age 65 will require long-term care services at some point in their lives. As the population of the U.S. continues to age, the number of residents in nursing homes is also going to go up. While many people in nursing homes receive quality care, some suffer from elder abuse. Below we outline facts about nursing home abuse. We also provide a list of signs to look for in the event you suspect that your loved one is suffering nursing home abuse.
Nursing Home Abuse Facts and Statistics
Elder abuse, especially when it involves someone in a residential care facility, is often difficult to detect. Additionally, for every reported case of abuse, there are more than five cases that go unreported. Nursing home abuse is a serious concern. Consider the following facts about nursing home abuse:
- Seniors who suffer abuse have a 300% higher risk of death as compared to those who have not been mistreated.
- In a study conducted by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), 44% of nursing home residents reported they experienced abuse at some point while in a nursing home.
- In the same NCEA study, 95% of residents claimed they were neglected or witnessed other residents neglected.
What Does Nursing Home and Elder Abuse Involve?
There are several types of nursing home abuse, the most common include:
- Physical Abuse – This includes things such as intentional hitting or pinching, overuse of restraints or a lack of physical care.
- Sexual Abuse – Refers to sexual attention given to patients who are unable to express their wishes or who are cognitively compromised.
- Psychological Abuse – This can include things such as humiliating, criticizing, yelling or shaming the patient in other ways.
- Financial Exploitation – This can occur when a caregiver takes advantage of the access he or she has to a person’s financial information, stealing from them or compromising their financial status.
- Neglect – In many cases, this is unintentional and occurs when a nursing home resident’s needs are not taken care of.
- Resident to Resident Abuse – This occurs if one resident abuses another resident psychologically, sexually or physically.
Signs of Nursing Home and Elder Abuse
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse, you should take action. Some of the indications and signs that this issue may be present include:
- Fractures or broken bones
- Welts, cuts and bruising
- Frequent infections
- A caregiver does not want the patient to be left alone with you
- Indications of dehydration
- Changes in a person’s mental status
- Lack of cleanliness or poor physical appearance
- Unexplained weight loss
- Refusal to take medication or eat
- Reclusiveness or the refusal to speak
- Emotional outbursts or mood swings
Keep in mind, not all patients who are suffering from nursing home abuse are going to show these signs. However, if you feel as though something is amiss with their care, it is best to investigate the situation further.
How Can You Help?
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse, you need to take action right away. You can encourage your loved one to avoid becoming isolated by encouraging them to associate with others. Residents who have more friends are usually less likely to be targeted for abuse.
You should also make sure that you look for signs of abuse, in case it does occur. If you notice any of the signs highlighted above, or suspect abuse, it is also a good idea to contact our legal team at Miller Kory Rowe LLP. Our Arizona nursing home abuse attorneys can review the information and help you figure out if you have a case to pursue damages against a nursing home or staff member. We can help ensure your elderly loved one is taken care of and their rights are protected. Call (602) 737-0342 today to schedule a free consultation.