People who require nursing home care are vulnerable to abuse or neglect in many forms. Some suffer from dementia and are easily confused, in addition to their physical frailties. Some are afraid to speak out in their own defense against abusive caregivers for fear of retaliation.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), more than half of the nursing home staff in one studyhad admitted to mistreatment of elderly residents within the previous year. Also according to the NCEA, a survey of certified nursing assistants revealed that 17 percent had shoved, pushed or grabbed a resident, 23 percent had insulted or sworn at a resident and 51 percent had yelled at a nursing home resident.
At Marasco & Nesselbush, we are committed to pursuing justice for victims of all types of nursing home abuse. We believe that our elders deserve the utmost respect and highest quality of care, and we are dedicated to holding negligent nursing homes and staff accountable for the harm they cause.
Contact us now to find out how we can help keep your loved one safe and seek the justice he or she deserves. We are here to hold negligent nursing homes accountable for the harm they have caused your loved one.
Types Of Abuse In Nursing Homes
Far too many nursing homes cut corners in order to turn a bigger profit and fail to provide the safe and nurturing environment their residents deserve.
Some nursing homes hire too few or poorly trained and unqualified employees, then fail to supervise them properly. Some even hire individuals with criminal backgrounds. Nursing home managers may fail to maintain their facilities and keep them clean and safe. Negligent nursing homes may over-medicate residents to make them more manageable (called “chemical restraint”), or fail to provide adequate food, sanitation and basic care.
The general categories of nursing home abuse are physical, emotional, sexual, financial exploitation and neglect. Vulnerable nursing home residents may suffer abuse or neglect in a number of ways.
Common Types Of Elder Abuse
- Malnutrition is very common in nursing homes, even when sufficient food is provided, because negligent staff members fail to monitor food consumption and help residents who need assistance with eating.
- Dehydration is also very common and often results from sheer neglect and the failure of staff to provide fluids to residents. Many nursing home residents are not physically capable of getting their own drinks.
- Physical abuse is committed when a nursing home staff member inflicts any kind of physical pain or injury on a resident, including slapping, hitting or restraining by physical means.
- Emotional abuse, often verbal, takes place when staff members humiliate, threaten, intimidate, or cause mental anguish or distress to residents in their care.
- Sexual abuse of residents does occur in nursing homes, at least partially due to the failure of nursing home management to carefully screen employees. Any kind of non-consensual sexual contact constitutes abuse, as does forcing a resident to watch sexual activity.
- Medication errors, such as omitted doses, unnecessary multiple doses, wrong patient, expired doctor’s orders, etc., occur more frequently when facilities are understaffed or when staff are poorly trained or unqualified.
- Over-medication or chemical restraint occurs when nursing home staff members intentionally give residents high dosages of medications not prescribed for them in order to subdue them.
- Falls occur frequently in nursing homes because of environmental hazards, over-medication and inadequate assistance from staff for physically weak and unstable residents.
- Bed sores (pressure sores or decubitus ulcers) are the result of neglect when staff members fail to turn or change the position of bedridden residents frequently enough. Serious bed sores can be fatal, and allowing them to develop constitutes extreme neglect on the part of the nursing home.
- Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening bloodstream infection that develops more frequently in older adults with weakened immune systems. It can begin with bed sores, wounds, respiratory infections and other infections that are not treated promptly in nursing homes.
- Clogged breathing tubes deprive the brain of oxygen, causing brain damage or death. Negligent nursing home staff members who fail to monitor breathing tubes and keep them free of debris can cause serious injury or death in elderly residents.
- Choking occurs when food or medication goes into the windpipe instead of the esophagus of a person who has difficulty swallowing. Negligent nursing home staff members often fail to enforce dietary restrictions and do not pay close enough attention to residents at risk for choking.
- Burns happen in nursing homes generally due to a lack of safety precautions taken by management. For example, residents may be severely scalded by bathwater that is too hot. Because of lessened mobility, seniors are also at great risk in a fire.
- Wandering and elopement occurs when negligent staff members allow cognitively impaired residents to wander into unsafe situations or away from the nursing home.
What To Do If You Suspect Neglect Or Abuse
For knowledgeable legal assistance, call Marasco & Nesselbush now and take advantage of our free case evaluation. Victims of nursing home abuse and their families may be entitled to compensation for these and other forms of abuse and neglect. Our Rhode Island personal injury lawyers can evaluate your potential claim and help you seek justice for elderly loved one.