Reports of elder abuse and neglect up 11 percent in Ohio

Nursing home abuse continues to pose a problem for residents in Ohio.

Cases of elder abuse are a serious problem in Ohio. A recent report by The Columbus Dispatch notes that there were 16,579 reports of abuse, neglect or exploitation during the state's most recent fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2017. These figures are up 11 percent from reports of similar incidents six years ago.

How big of a problem is elder abuse?

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 16 percent of those over the age of 60 are subject to some form of abuse. The most common examples include psychological, financial and physical forms of abuse. Although elder abuse is frequent, it continues to be one of the least investigated and treated issues in the nation.

It appears Ohio is taking steps to help better address this issue.

What is being done to help ensure the safety of elder residents?

Those who are residents of nursing care facilities or receiving care from another source should be assured safe and reliable care. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Various agencies in Ohio are responsible for investigating reports of unsafe care situations. Examples include the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging and local adult protective-services organizations.

In the past, these organizations often worked individually. Sometimes casework would overlap. Rarely the groups would share information.

Times have changed. In certain situations, both groups will refer the most difficult cases to interdisciplinary teams. The teams are referred to as I-Teams and consist of specialists from various fields. A team may include law enforcement officers, fire experts, emergency medical support professionals and social services workers as well as legal experts. Each professional comes together to be a part of the team, striving to help the elderly that need it most. Together, this group will investigate the assigned case.

What if a loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect?

If you suspect or know that your loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect the first step is to find help. Get any medical concerns treated and ensure your loved one's safety. Legal remedies are also available. These can be used to hold the guilty party or faulty facility accountable for the injuries suffered by your loved one. As such, it is wise to seek the counsel of an experienced nursing home abuse attorney. Your lawyer will build a case designed around your situation, and helping to better ensure a successful outcome.