Arizona Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Frequently Asked Questions
Learning that your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse is a horrific realization. After all, you trusted the nursing homes and caregivers there to provide exceptional care for your elderly loved one during their most vulnerable times. When they fail in this duty, you and your loved one have a right to hold them accountable for this abuse and neglect. However, doing this is not always easy. If you suspect your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, it is important to discuss your situation with an experienced Arizona elder abuse attorney.
The Arizona elder abuse attorneys at Miller Kory Rowe LLP have the resources and experience you need to navigate through this difficult time. We know that you have many questions about your unique situation. Below we provide the most frequently asked questions we hear. We also encourage you to call us and for a free in-person or virtual consultation. During this evaluation, we can answer even more of your questions and explore your legal options.
What Is Elder Abuse and Neglect?
Elder abuse and neglect refers to the mistreatment, exploitation, neglect, or harm of a vulnerable resident. This mistreatment typically results in injury, pain, suffering, or, in some instances, death. It can occur in nursing homes, residential care facilities, or any type of long-term care unit.
How Common Is Nursing Home Abuse?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are approximately 15,600 nursing homes in the United States. These facilities provide care for nearly 1.3 million Americans every year. An additional 1 million live in residential care facilities across the country. Unfortunately, each year one in ten Americans over the age of 60 will experience some form of elder abuse or neglect. Many instances of abuse or neglect that occur in these facilities go unreported. In fact, an estimated 84% of nursing home abuse cases go unreported or unrecognized.
Nursing home residents and/or families do not report instances of abuse or neglect out of fear of retaliation, a lack of knowledge of their rights regarding the nursing home’s obligations to their residents, or because they do not want to burden their families. Additionally, not all victims are able to communicate that abuse or neglect has occurred, or is occurring.
What Are the Common Types of Elder Abuse?
There are five major categories of elder abuse recognized by the National Center on Elder Abuse. Those are:
- Psychological or emotional abuse
- Financial Abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Physical abuse
What Causes Nursing Home Abuse?
Many cases of abuse and neglect stem from nursing homes that are chronically understaffed with poorly trained caregivers. One nurse’s aide may care for up to 30 elderly residents in many Arizona nursing homes. Understaffed nursing homes are also often inadequately supervised and poorly managed. This increases the likelihood of abuse and neglect occurring and going unrecognized.
Who Is Most Vulnerable to Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home residents with any type of cognitive or physical limitation are at the highest risk for suffering abuse and neglect. This includes elders with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as patients who are wheelchair-bound. In fact, according to statistics from the National Association of Nursing Home Attorneys, elderly women with a disability reported a 33% prevalence of experiencing interpersonal violence in a nursing home.
What Can Families Do to Protect Their Loved Ones?
If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, it is important to take the following steps:
- Report your fears and suspicions immediately to the supervisor and manager of the nursing home.
- Call the Eldercare Locator Hotline at 1-800-677-1116 or reach out to a local Ombudsman to report the abuse or neglect.
- Contact your loved one’s doctor or physician immediately for a full medical evaluation.
- Gather evidence of the abuse, such as video surveillance, eyewitness accounts, emails, or medical documentation.
- Contact an elder abuse attorney for a free legal consultation.
HOW CAN OUR ARIZONA ELDER ABUSE ATTORNEYS HELP?
The Arizona elder abuse attorneys at Miller Kory Rowe LLP can help you hold the nursing home accountable for damages. Those damages can include pain, suffering, financial loss, and medical expenses. We investigate and represent clients who suffer from the following acts of nursing home abuse and/or negligence:
- Bedsores, pressure sores, decubitus ulcers
- Physical abuse including assault or battery and sexual abuse
- Verbal Abuse
- Psychological/mental abuse
- Wandering and elopement
- Falls involving fractures, especially hip fractures
- Failure to properly clean the patient’s dressing or bed clothes
- Dehydration / Malnutrition
- Understaffing and negligent hiring of unqualified, incompetent, or poorly trained staff
- Failure to follow doctor’s orders
- Medication errors
- Failure to develop and maintain a comprehensive care plan for the resident
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