Resident within assisted living facilities and nursing homes are already susceptible to mistreatment, neglect, and abuse, but elder individuals who have cognitive disorders like dementia or Alzheimer’s, are extremely vulnerable to injuries and death that come from mistreatment, neglect, or abuse by health care staff members within these facilities. Individuals with these conditions may be disoriented or confused, which can be the cause of them suffering an injury as they wander off. In order to keep these individual’s safe, being placed in a secure memory care facility and being supervised 24/7 is required. Unfortunately, that all sounds too good to be true. Trust is sometimes betrayed by those who are supposed to be ensuring the safety and care of these residents.
Many issues can occur within a memory care facility including a lack of monitoring a patient, neglecting the resident, not providing the patient with adequate security, or staff members intentionally inflicting harm upon the resident. Depending on the circumstance, mistreatment of elderly in nursing homes lawyers understand and are educated on the various harms that can come from neglect, abuse, or mistreatment in these medical care facilities. Some complications and conditions that can develop include bedsores, malnutrition, dehydration, sexual abuse, physical abuse, slip and falls, elopements, and infections, just to name a few. None of these things mentioned above should be occurring. In fact, if they do occur, the facility or staff member that inflicted the harm can be sued for mistreatment, abuse, or negligence by a skilled elder harm lawyer.
Family members may be thinking that their loved one is being cared for appropriately, but with the many statistics indicating otherwise, it is important the family member plays an essential role in ensuring the safety of their love. They need to regularly watch out for signs indicating that their loved one may be being mistreated, neglected, or abused within the memory care facility. If there are suspicions, immediate action needs to be taken and communicating with an abuse of elder’s lawyer is a must.
Indicators of Abuse/Mistreatment Against Cognitive Disorder Patients
Because those with cognitive disorders are more prone to becoming victims, here are some indicators that can demonstrate that the patient is being abused:
- Sudden appearance of physical injuries including burns, abrasions, bruises, and lacerations
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Reduction in communication
- Health problems that suddenly develop
- Behavior changes that are uncommon
- Signs of agitation or aggressiveness
- Financial problems that were not there before
- Worsening of the cognitive disorder
These are just a fraction of the many indicators that someone is being mistreated or abused. Learning the various signs is vital in securing the well-being of a loved one. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Asking questions and demanding answers needs to be done, especially if the resident is unable to do so for themselves.
Forms of Neglect Inflicted Upon Residents
Every case is unique to its circumstance. The forms of abuse that take place vary from case to case. The most common forms of abuse are the following:
Neglect either socially or emotionally: This occurs when an elder person is left alone frequently, is ignored when attempting to communicate, is not taken out to socialize with others, or a nursing home staff member snaps at them because they are stressed out. Emotional and social neglect can be even more harmful than physical abuse because it begins to affect the mental health of the individual.
Neglect during personal hygiene: Some residents require assistance to maintain good personal hygiene. Lacking staff members or having staff that is stressed can be the cause of neglect of their personal hygiene. It includes lacking the assistance to properly shower or bathe, brush their teeth or hair, clip their nails, or even wash their clothes.
Neglect for their basic needs: Everyone requires basic needs, not just an elder person, but an elder person might not be able to provide those basic needs for themselves. Neglecting the elder persons basic needs includes not providing them with reasonable food, not supplying them with a safe environment, not giving them adequate water, or not ensuring that their living space is kept clean.
Neglect of their medical care needs: If there is neglect for any medical need of the resident, then the facility can be held accountable for their neglectful actions. Residents may develop conditions like bed sores or infections that will require immediate medical attention, or they may already have an existing medical condition that needs regular treatment and supervision.
Methods To Prevent Abuse, Neglect, and Mistreatment
There are a number of methods that can be adopted by the facilities and applied by the staff members who work there. Because many of these occurrences are preventable, facilities need to ensure that they have disciplines and regulations set in place to ensure the best quality of care for their residents. Here are some methods:
- Making the nursing staff immediately available to the patient
- Checking on patients of high-risk more recurrently
- Resolving environment issues promptly, including safety issues and sanitary issues
- Flushing of the mattress with bed frame
- Monitoring of changes of mental or mobile capacity; and
Research has indicated that resident who have family, friends, and loved ones visit them on a regular basis helps prevent them from becoming a victim of mistreatment, neglect, and abuse by health care providers. In addition, having effective communication between the relatives and nursing home staff is vital in the care of the patient. Not only should the facility adopt these methods, but the family members of the resident must also take preventative measures by keeping an eye on them.
Neglect, Mistreatment, and Abuse Statistics Within Health Care
- 30% of residents within a nursing home are subjected to some form of abuse
- In the year 2005, 91.7% of every nursing home across the United States had at least one deficiency named against them
- 90% of abuse cases that occur are caused by someone who is known, not a stranger
- In 1999, there were 5,000 deaths associated with neglect
- During an 8-hour shift, about 30 cases of aggression can take place
- The majority of abuse cases are never reported; only 20% are brought to the light
- At least one convicted criminal is employed in 92% of nursing homes
- Antipsychotic drugs are provided to about 33% of patients
- There are more residents than there are beds to serve them
- About half of all residents do not have a close family member
- The average ratio of resident to nurse if 1:15, but the recommended ratio is 1:6
- 90% of Old Folks’ Home lack staff members
- In 2001, 1 out of every 4 memory care facilities received a citation for a serious injury or death of a resident
- In 2007, there was an average of 20 complaints filed per nursing home; total of 257,872
FAQS About Resident Mistreatment, Neglect, and Abuse Within Nursing Home Facilities
Question: Is Elder Abuse Common in a Nursing Home?
Answer: There have been many cases involving abuse in a nursing home setting. In addition to abuse cases, there are thousands of neglect and mistreatment cases that surface throughout the United States every year. Recognizing the indicators of abuse is vital in preventing further harm to the resident.
Question: What are signs of self-neglect by a resident?
Answer: There are times where a resident will neglect themselves, which is termed to be “self-neglect”. Self-neglect can lead to injury or medical conditions. Some signs of self-neglect include:
- Refusing medical treatment
- Poor personal hygiene
- Unattended stove
- Not taking medication
- Not maintaining area sanitized
- Inappropriate clothing
While an elder person may neglect themselves, their loved ones who recognize these signs need to take action. It is among the most reported to adult protective services.
Question: What are factors that make an elder person susceptible to abuse?
Answer: Abuse can present itself in many ways. While anyone can become a victim of abuse, the elder population, especially those with certain factors, are more susceptible to abuse. Some factors include:
- Cognitive disorders
- Domestic violence in the past
- Personal problems between resident and the abusive individual
- Being socially isolated
- Living with another person
Elder Neglect, Abuse, and Mistreatment Attorneys Representing Victims
No form of neglect, abuse, or mistreatment should take place within any type of health care facility. Realistically speaking, it occurs more than it should. Every year, thousands of people are killed and injured by it, and every year, the firm of neglect towards elder lawyers at Percy Martinez Law help individuals who have suffered a preventable injury or death due to the above actions. For the effective safety and health care of a resident, it is vital that everyone involved with the treatment and care of the older person provides them with the quality care that they deserve. In order to properly treat someone, the health care provider must show compassion and place themselves in their shoes. How would you like to be treated?
Locations for attorneys who specialize in Nursing and elderly abuse
Related Topics for Nursing home Negligence