People should be able to recognize the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect, as there has been increasing reports of these incidents in the U.S.
When Ohio residents place their family members in a nursing home or long-term care facility, they expect that their loved ones will be given special care and attention. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many nursing home residents are victims of neglect and abuse. In some cases, this abuse can result in serious injuries and even death to this innocent and fragile population.
According to the Ohio Department of Aging, approximately 80,000 people reside in over 1,000 nursing homes statewide. This population is expected to grow substantially as more baby boomers move into their senior years. Research from Adult Protective Services shows an increase in elder abuse reports. However, there are many nursing home abuse cases that go unreported. Some victims of abuse may be reluctant to point out their aggressors for fear of retaliation. Family, friends and other staff members may also fail to detect the signs of abuse.
Types of nursing home abuse
The National Center on Elder Abuse reported that there are several types of nursing home abuse. These include:
- Neglect: When nursing facilities are understaffed or have negligent workers, patients may not get the care and attention they need.
- Emotional abuse: Workers who belittle residents or verbally inflict anxiety, fear, depression or pain on patients through their words are emotionally abusive.
- Sexual abuse: Taking sexual advantage of a vulnerable elderly person by touching them inappropriately, or engaging in some other type of unwanted sexual behavior.
- Physical abuse: When a resident is hit, pushed, kicked, pinched or treated in a violent way. Shaking, using physical restraints and force-feeding patients are also physically abusive behaviors.
- Financial exploitation: People who gain access to an elderly person's money and uses it in an unauthorized way.
Incidents where a resident is being abused may be caught on camera or witnessed by another care worker as well.
A closer look at nursing home neglect
Elder neglect occurs when nursing home staff does not meet the basic needs of a resident. This could mean that the resident is not properly fed, bathed or given the right daily medication regimen. A situation may arise where a resident is unable to change his or her clothes, and is made to stay in soiled clothing for a long period of time. Neglected residents often develop bed sores or other medical problems from this improper treatment. Additional signs of neglect include dehydration, weight loss and unclean living conditions.
Preparing a legal case
When you first realize that your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you may feel very emotional. An attorney who understands Ohio laws regarding nursing home abuse may be helpful to you during this hard time. It can be comforting to speak to an established lawyer who will help you understand your legal options.
Keywords: nursing home, abuse, neglect