Signs that a Nursing Home is Being Negligent

elder neglectWe’ve always been told to “respect our elders”, but looking at the news and hearing the horrific stories of elder abuse, it’s clear that not everyone holds elders in high regards.  Elderly individuals, over the age of 60, are at higher risk for maltreatment and such elderly neglect takes place everywhere, but most often in the nursing home setting.  In nursing homes, residents are vulnerable as they often rely on others (such as nursing aides) to assist them with everyday living.  Unfortunately, many elders are physically, mentally, sexually, financially exploited, making them victims of a large and sometimes “silent” problem, elder abuse.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 500,000 older adults (aged 60 +), in the U.S., are believed to be abused or neglected each year.  However, the startling and overwhelming statistics are most likely underestimated due to the number of elder abuse that is not reported.  Like many abuse victims, many elders are unable or afraid to report the abuse to police, family, friends, or others who can protect them.  Family and friends who have a loved one in a nursing home facility should stay involved, informed, and be on the lookout for any suspicious behavior in either the resident or a worker.

Warning Signs of Elder Abuse in a Nursing Home

When visiting a friend or family member in a nursing home pay attention to the way he/she looks and acts.  If you suspect elder abuse, report it.  Protect seniors by bringing suspected abuse to the attention of the appropriate authorities such as a local adult protective services agency.  Many people are afraid to report suspected abuse because they fear they might be wrong, but if you don’t report suspicious activity, your elderly loved one could continue to be abused and in worse cases, die because of the abuse.  Take action and report if you see, hear, or suspect the warning signs of neglect in a nursing home:

–          Your loved one might be Financially exploited if:

  • He/she has a lack of affordable amenities and comforts in their room.
  • Uncharacteristic or excessive giving of gifts or financial reimbursement for care and companionship.
  • The victim is not getting proper care to fulfill needs, even if money is available for such costs.
  • Has made legal or monetary transactions, but does not understand what they mean.

 

–          Your loved one may be a victim of physical or emotional abuse if he/she:

  • Has inadequately explained fractures, bruises, welts, cuts, sores, or burns
  • Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
  • Unexplained or uncharacteristic changes in behavior, such as withdrawal from normal activities, or unexplained changes in alertness
  • Caregiver is verbally aggressive or demeaning, controlling, or uncaring

 

–          Your loved elder may be a victim of overall Neglect if he/she:

  • Lack of basic hygiene or appropriate clothing
  • Lack of food and basic needs
  • Lack of medical aids such as glasses, dentures, medication, hearing aids.
  • An individual with dementia is left unsupervised
  • An individual confined in bed is lacking care
  • The room is cluttered or dirty or in need of repairs and lacks amenities
  • Untreated bed sores or pressure ulcers (indication of lack of care)

Elder abuse and neglect in a nursing home affects thousands of innocent senior citizens each year.  Many suffer in silence because they are unable to communicate and they live in fear.  Be the voice for neglected elders.  Respect your elders; don’t turn your back on them.

 

Signs Your Loved One Might Be the Victim of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

nursing home neglectEvery person wishes they were in the situation where they could care for their parent when it is needed, but the truth is that most people just don’t have the time or the resources to do so. Because of this there is a large industry that caters toward caring for elderly patients who need constant observation or have pressing medical needs. Wherever there is a large industry in a certain field there will be people who pop up to exploit it, not caring for their paying clients and working only to make a quick buck. If you’re not careful, you may accidentally leave your loved one in the care of somebody who will exploit, mistreat or physically injure them. But how can you tell if your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse? Here are some common symptoms.

Signs of Physical Abuse on an Elderly Patient

Anybody who has been around an elderly family member knows that sometimes they don’t want to be a bother, so they keep their lips shut about things they should discuss. This is true with nursing home abuse as well, especially when there is a lingering threat from the guilty party. Physical abuse can sometimes be easy to spot. Most symptoms will appear on the arms or legs, the areas where they will be grabbed or thrown from. Look for bruises, cuts, and scrapes, and keep an eye on whether or not they choose to wear long sleeved shirts whenever you visit. This can be a sign that they are trying to cover up the nursing home abuse. Even if you suspect there might be abuse, but do not have proof you can still ask for help confidentially.

Signs of Neglect to an Elderly Patient

What’s even worse than physical abuse is nursing home neglect. Elderly patients need constant care and even the tiniest of slip-ups could lead to a serious medical issue. Look for bedsores – they are signs that your loved one is spending too much time in their bed. Bedsores may indicate that nursing home staff members are not checking in on patients regularly. Dehydration and malnutrition are two major forms of nursing home neglect. If your loved one is always thirsty when you visit or seems very lethargic or pale then it may mean that they are not receiving proper meals.

Why is This Treatment Common in Nursing Homes?

Nursing home employees tend to be divided into two different categories of people: workers who have decided to dedicate their lives to this field and educated themselves, and uneducated people who needed any job they could get and took one at a nursing home. The former group tends to be higher paid and find work at more expensive nursing homes, while cheaper nursing homes in lower income areas don’t try as hard to find competent employees. This leads to a hiring process that is less than adequate, which is why it’s very important to do proper research before making the decision to put your loved one in a care facility or nursing home.

Nursing home abuse and neglect is a very difficult subject to discuss with a loved one. Many elderly people become embarrassed because they can’t physically defend themselves. This feeling of hopelessness is one major reason these forms of attacks are not reported. Bring up the topic carefully but let them know to be honest with you. Nursing home abuse and neglect needs to be reported so that the guilty parties can be punished.

If you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected, report it immediately and seek the help of an experience legal professional.  Mariano Morales Law is composed of a team of nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers located in Yakima, Washington.  For more information about the abuse and neglect of elders, visit the website at www.MarianoMoralesLaw.com.

What Is a Vulnerable Adult and How Do We Protect Them?

Vulnerable adults are people older than eighteen years of age who need a caregiver, and who are unable to protect themselves or look after themselves. Vulnerable adults include elderly people in nursing homes, people who are sick or frail, people with memory problems, or people who have difficulty communicating with others. Individuals with physical or mental disabilities are also classified as vulnerable adults. Unfortunately, because these individuals need care and are unable to look after themselves, they are at greater risk of abuse. Read on for more information regarding vulnerable adults and how we can protect them.

Why Are Vulnerable Adults Targets for Abuse?

Unfortunately, there are many reasons why vulnerable adults are the victims of abuse. Violence toward vulnerable adults can be a single outburst, or it can be a premeditated attack. Sometimes vulnerable adults are targeted for abuse because caregivers are frustrated at the adult’s inability to communicate or inability to act “normal.” Lack of knowledge or training by health professionals working in nursing homes, hospitals or residential homes can result in violence, as professionals are not taught how to appropriately deal with this frustration.

While poor management and inadequate training can result in abuse toward vulnerable adults, sometimes violence can result simply because caregivers have a violent history. Caregivers are not always health professionals, and therefore training in how to appropriately help vulnerable adults is not required.

What Are the Signs of Abuse Toward a Vulnerable Adult?

Some vulnerable adults, especially elderly individuals, may be reluctant to speak out about the abuse they are suffering from. They might excuse their bruises as being “nothing.” Having injuries and not fully explaining where they came from can be a sign of abuse. Unexplained physical symptoms, such as bruising or scarring, can be explained by abuse. The appearance of the vulnerable adult might also change: they might look dirtier or thinner than before due to improper care or neglect.

Also keep an eye out for behavioral changes. A vulnerable adult who is suffering from abuse or violence might become withdrawn, quiet or depressed. However, behavioral changes on the other end of the spectrum are also possible; a vulnerable adult might become inexplicably angry or aggressive. Not wanting to be alone with certain individuals is also a red flag.

How Do We Protect Vulnerable Adults?

There are several ways to protect vulnerable adults. The most effective way to help and protect vulnerable adults is never to ignore signs of abuse and never to shrug them off as nothing. If you are suspicious, ask questions. It’s best to speak with the vulnerable adult in private. If your suspicions of abuse are confirmed, you can either call a General Practitioner or you can speak with a social worker. Depending on the nature of the abuse, you might even want to get the police involved, as abuse toward a vulnerable adult can be a crime. Additionally, help lines and help from Adult Protective Services are available specifically for these instances.

Vulnerable adults are most at risk for abuse and violence, and because of this they need to be protected. If you suspect that a vulnerable adult you know has been abused or neglected in some way, speak with them and figure out how you can help them. Don’t ignore the situation, but speak out so something can be done to protect them.

If you have evidence that a loved one is being abused, report it to the police immediately, and seek legal counsel to represent the case.  Hughes & Coleman, Injury Lawyers are nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys located in Kentucky.  For more information about nursing home abuse and neglect, visit the website at www.NursingHomeNeglectLawyers.com.

Ensuring Optimal Nursing Home Care for Your Loved One

Elder CareTransitioning an elderly family member into a long-term care facility can be a stressful and emotional process. Doing your homework on where your family member will be residing will help you to make an informed decision on the best residence and care for your loved one. The most obvious concern of having a loved one in a nursing home is the potential for abuse.

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), elder abuse is defined as any intentional abusive act or negligence by a caregiver or other trusted individual. There are many types of elder abuse including physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, and financial. The NCEA estimates that for every one case of elder abuse that is reported, at least five go unreported. In 2010, the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman investigated over 211,937 complaints.

In order to ensure the most comfortable and enjoyable experience for your family member while residing at a nursing home, consider the following as part of your planning.

Geographic Region-

How many nursing homes are available in your area? What will be the distance to travel for family members who will be visiting regularly? Of the nursing homes available, what are the differences and similarities between them?

Comparison-

Once you have a list of the possible care facilities, you should contact them to get specific information about their policies and procedures, and standards of operation (such as staffing levels and licensure).  The care facilities you’re considering will likely vary greatly in size. In what type of environment would your loved one feel most comfortable?  A visit to each facility you’re considering should be made. It may be best to schedule a visit ahead of time to ensure staff members are available to meet with you, to provide a tour, and to answer any questions you have. You may want to keep a notebook to write down questions you have prior to the visits and also to record the answers you receive. You can also use this checklist to assist you with recording the information.

There are many on-line tools you can use to find and compare nursing homes in your area.  Among them, the Nursing Home Compare tool is perhaps the most comprehensive. Upon searching each nursing home you’re considering, you will be provided with information about how that facility ranks in the areas of staffing, health inspections, and overall quality.

Insurance-

 What level of care will your insurance cover? Will there be out-of-pocket expenses associated? Be sure to get detailed information about the prices of all care facilities you’re considering. If planning for care for a loved one, you will need to assess his/her financial situation to determine that adequate funds are available if out-of-pocket expenses are expected.

Special Considerations-

Does your family member have any specific medical conditions that would require care above and beyond what is offered at the facilities you’re considering?  If so, make sure to inquire about their willingness and ability to make accommodations. Would there be extra costs associated with accommodations? For example, if your family member suffers from Alzheimer’s or has dementia; you may want to consider facilities that have some type of memory care unit.

What are your family members specific religious/spiritual needs? Are there services available to meet those needs? If not, can accommodations be made?

What level of family involvement is acceptable? Some facilities may have limited visiting hours or may only allow a certain number of visitors each week or day. Some families are able to have very regular contact and to be involved in the daily care of their family member. If so, make sure that level of involvement will be supported by the care team. On the other hand, if the family members are unable to be involved regularly due to geographic distance or other limitations, make sure that is communicated and supported as well.

If you or a loved one is the unfortunate victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, it is crucial to seek legal representation.  Hughes & Coleman is a nursing home neglect and injury law firm located in Kentucky. For more information visit the website www.NursingHomeNeglectlawyers.com.

What is Elderly Abuse? How Can I Help?

(US Law) Elderly Abuse is known as the different acts that involve harm to older people. Other terms are associated with elder abuse such as old adult maltreatment, old adult abuse and senior citizen abuse among others. There are plenty of organizations that deal with elderly abuse, but the general rule of thumb is that any excessive force, either physically or psychologically, is considered abusive. This can even be if your intention is to help the elderly person, which creates some grey area problems for health workers.

Several cases of elderly abuse are included in the kinds of family or domestic violence. Elderly abuse does not involve any criminal acts to the elderly, such as victimization in robbery, theft, or ambush. They are classified as criminal offences, not elderly abuse. Elderly abuse is now a social dilemma because of its high incidence. What is more saddening is that many cases are not reported or unknown.

Elderly abuse is a complicated case and people often have misapprehensions regarding this kind of abuse. Contrary to what people think, elderly abuse does not just occur in nursing homes. Although it may happen, the usual kind of elderly abuse does not take place there. It could happen anywhere, even at places we are in. Truth is, several cases of elder abuse occur at home, where the close relationships of the elderly are. The typical kind of abuse in the home is neglect of the elderly. Physical and emotional abuse occurs as a result of the weakness and dependency of the old adult to the family members. As old adults age, it is understood that they become frail and feeble, and they cannot do things without assistance. Lack of patience and understanding in the part of the caregiver can lead to abuse.

The usual victims of elderly abuse are ailing, feeble, mentally challenged, disabled and miserable old adults. Then again, even those who do not have these characteristics are still risk; but those stated prior are the most susceptible to elderly abuse.

The physical harm of elderly can be in forms of pushing, jostling, slapping and in severe forms tying in ropes and beating. Any person who uses force against an elder that results to trauma and pain, is an abuser. The deprivation of primary needs and home imprisonment of old adults are also forms of elder abuse.

Here are common examples on the types of elder abuse:

• Physical Abuse: This includes beating, slapping, shoving, thumping, kicking, tying up/restraining, false confinement, and any use of physical force that leads to injury.

• Emotional Abuse: This includes provoking fear, shouting, degrading, embarrassing, rejecting, accusing, disrespecting, mocking, condemning and ignoring an elderly.

• Financial Abuse or Exploitation: This is the unlawful use of the elder’s money, properties and possessions achieved through trickery, force or pilfering. The non-provision of financial support and expulsion from the home which belongs to the elderly are also included.

• Sexual Abuse: This includes coercing an elderly to participate in any sexual act and discussion against his or her will, even in cases where the elderly can not willfully give permission due to dementia.

• Neglect: This is the kind of abuse where the elderly is deprived of their primary or basic physical needs like food, clothes, medications and medical assistance. It could be on purpose, or due to lack of awareness.

There are also other kinds of abuse like abuse of human rights or elderly rights, abandonment or desertion of elderly and institutional abuse which is the physical and emotional abuse to elders in health institutions/nursing homes.

There are ways on preventing and reducing the incidence of elder abuse. First, you can reach out to seniors, this way seclusion will be reduced. You can reach out through visits or getting involved in activities that provide elder support. You can also invite them small family activities and gatherings. Let them get involved by asking them to teach knitting or cooking skills to you and the family. You can also volunteer in nursing homes to have hands on care to older adults. Promote senior involvement by inviting them in programs for the elderly.

If there is suspicion of occurrence of abuse or if you actually witnessed an abuse, call the emergency number of your community. Any form if abuse should never be tolerated. Contact immediately the support for the elderly institution or department to prevent further abuse.

Pete Wise is a Content Marketer. If you or a loved one has been involved in elder abuse and neglect, you should also seek an elder abuse attorney to represent you. An elder abuse lawyer can help walk you through what legal options are available and which course of action should be taken. If you liked the article, check out his site for Denver SEO: PeteWiseSEO.com