Nursing Home Abuse – A Guide to Elder Abuse 

According to statistics, more than two million cases of elder abuse are reported yearly, and almost one out of every ten elderly individuals will experience some form of elder abuse. It’s no secret that mistreatment of nursing home residents frequently occurs at a high rate worldwide. 

Abuse in nursing homes happens when workers intentionally injure or harm patients. Abuse can include intentional and unintentional damage, which in extreme cases, can lead to wrongful death.

What is elder abuse? Elder abuse is any intentional or accidental action that directly harms an older adult or elderly one. An elderly person is defined as someone who is at least 60 years old. 

Causes of Elder Abuse by Caregivers

Elder abuse is more common than you think. Stress and other problems that prevent caregivers from adequately caring for the elderly are the most common reasons for abuse.

Other causes of abuse in nursing homes include:

  • Shortage of personnel and qualified employees: An understaffed nursing facility will likely have an increased risk of elder abuse. The caregivers are violent or neglect the residents, causing them harm.
  • Acute stress caused by prolonged exhaustion: Acute stress can impair a nurse’s ability to provide quality care to nursing home patients. The nursing home employees may be unable to carry out their duties properly due to their heavy daily workload and responsibilities.

Who Are Most Likely to Be the Victims of Elder Abuse?

Women, the elderly, and vulnerable people with chronic diseases like cognitive disorders, impairments, Alzheimer’s disease, and bed sores are most likely victims of elder abuse in nursing homes. 

Reporting Elder Abuse

If you have any suspicions of your loved one being abused, you should have a private conversation with the person. It’s acceptable to voice your worries by mentioning that you sense something is off. You can also use the help of some adult protective services.

Contact us at JustPoint for a free legal case review and discuss your legal options.

What Is an Abusive Caregiver’s Behavior?

Examples of abusive behavior by caregivers  include:

  • Possessing overtly authoritarian attitudes and actions
  • Caregiver’s continuous lateness, which leads to delayed prescription or medication usage by residents
  • Working while intoxicated or under the influence of illegal substances
  • Emotionally abusing the residents
  • Financial exploitation of residents
  • Physical violence towards the elderly

Warning Signs of Elder Abuse

A nursing home abuse victim must tell someone they trust about the abuse they suffer or have suffered. You can then report to the necessary organizations about the incident if you need assistance. 

The warning signs of elder abuse include:

  • Injuries such as bruises, cuts, or broken bones
  • Malnourishment or unexplained weight loss
  • Symptoms of anxiety, depression, or confusion
  • Unexplained financial  transactions or loss of money
  • Withdrawal and isolation from family members or friends

What Factors Make an Older Adult Most Vulnerable to Elder Abuse?

Older adults’ ability to care for themselves declines due to physical frailty. Factors that increase susceptibility to abuse include:

  • Chronic illness or disability
  • Dementia
  • Depression or other mental health conditions
  • Grief
  • Lack of family support

Common Forms of Elder Abuse by caregivers 

Abusive behavior toward the elderly can take various forms and could be an intentional act or by accident. 

 The common forms of elder abuse are as follows:

  • Physical abuse: Physical abuse is defined as the intentional infliction of bodily pain on an aged person. An example of physical abuse is when a nursing home patient is slapped, shoved, or kicked and, as a result, experiences bodily discomfort, disability, or pain. Physical abuse is extremely harmful since it can result in permanent and life-threatening injuries, unlike other forms of abuse.
  • Emotional abuse: Abuse of the elderly on an emotional level is particularly harmful since it can cause extreme mental pain to a group already at risk. Threats, humiliation, and insults are all examples of emotional abuse in a nursing home.
  • Verbal abuse: Verbal abuse occurs when a nursing home staff member says something that causes the resident emotional suffering, distress, or dread. The victim’s pain may be amplified if the offender is an authority figure in the workplace.
  • Financial abuse: Financial abuse is another form of nursing home abuse that involves the illegal, unauthorized, or theft of an elder’s money, benefits, belongings, property, or assets.
  • Sexual abuse: Sexual abuse is nonconsensual physical or sexual contact with an older adult or elderly one. When an older adult is confused or unable to express consent, even harmless physical contact can be considered abuse.

What Are the Effects of Elder Abuse?

When an elder is abused, it can profoundly affect their overall health physically and mentally. Often, the victim could be left with long-term emotional trauma. However, even if a minor physical injury can heal, the senior can experience fear and emotional trauma.

Some of the adverse effects of elder abuse include:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorders
  • Suicidal  thoughts or suicide 
  • Cognitive problems 
  • Death

Strategies for Dealing With Elder Abuse?

Those with loved ones in nursing homes may not be able to keep a close watch on their loved ones as they would like, but they can help protect them from abuse. They  may help prevent elder abuse in a nursing home by:

  • Being informed about the various forms and signs of elder abuse
  • Constantly checking in with their loved ones via phone calls or in-person visit 
  • Immediately notifying employees or other authorities of any concerns regarding the care of an elderly person
  • Taking prompt action when their loved ones show abusive symptoms or make a continuous complaint about specific caregivers

Nursing homes may help prevent elder abuse by:

  • Designing effective methods for providing medical treatment to patients
  • Installing and establishing Measurement and Verification Systems for quality care services
  • Providing regular training on elder abuse and neglect issues to staff

Ending elderly abuse needs everyone’s cooperation. Unfortunately, many elders are too embarrassed to report being mistreated or worry that the abuser will find out and escalate the situation further. 

Protect Your Loved Ones From Elder Abuse

The effects of elder abuse on victims and their loved ones are devastating, but you are not alone. Contact us at JustPoint to start your free case evaluation to find out if you have a chance of getting the compensation you deserve.

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Wrongful death in nursing homes

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