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What Is Nursing Home Neglect? 4 Common Types of Abuse

What Is Nursing Home Neglect? 4 Common Types of Abuse

By Trapp & Geller

With 1 in 10 older Americans suffering from some kind of elder abuse at the hands of a caretaker, it’s important to take nursing home neglect seriously. Nursing home neglect takes place when people are at their most sensitive and vulnerable. It’s a deplorable act that can even merit legal action.

Here are 4 of the most common types of abuse related to neglect.

1. Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is one of the scariest potential things that can happen in a nursing home. For many families, choosing to put your aging loved one in a nursing home is a choice that has their safety in mind. When your loved one moves to a home, it’s often because they could get hurt if they stayed in their home all alone.

When you see signs of physical abuse, your loved one might have excuses ready for you. They might be in denial that the abuse happened. They may even claim that they deserved it or that it was their fault.

This is a common reaction to physical abuse and shouldn’t make you upset with your loved one. While it might be frustrating to navigate their protection for their abuser, it’s understandable.

If residents are the ones abusing your loved one, this is a form of neglect. When a nursing home fails to step in, they are culpable for the neglectful harm of their loved one.

You don’t know what kinds of retribution others in the home may have suffered when speaking up about their abusers. Word gets around fast and your loved one may not want to speak up against the people who handle their food and their healthcare.

What you can do is document every instance you see or any evidence like cuts, bruises, or abrasions. Your emotions may get the best of you but you have to keep a level head about things. Acting out could hurt your case when you seek a lawsuit against the care provider.

2. Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is a terrible thing for anyone of any age to go through. It’s especially hurtful to people who need care in a nursing home. They’re often in a vulnerable position, either physically or mentally unable to do things for themselves.

It’s a special kind of terrible person who would insult or take advantage of someone in this position.

However, it’s not uncommon. Staff at some nursing facilities might insult or berate the people who are living there. If they’re not trained, someone who has a cognitive learning disability will frustrate them.

This is a case where you could file a suit with the owner of the facility.

If residents are harming one another, this is an instance of neglect that the facility is responsible for. When you link abuse to neglect, you build a strong case.

Emotional abuse is hard for you to quantify. While your loved one might be able to write down or record instances in some cases, this isn’t always possible. You’ll have to rely on testimony and a history of complaints.

If one member of staff receives frequent complaints or the facility suffers negative feedback because of emotional abuse, you could have a case. Speak with other families of people at the care facility. If you notice a pattern, you could file a powerful class-action suit against the facility.

Emotional abuse is no less dangerous than physical harm to the health and well-being of vulnerable people. Put a stop to it as soon as you suspect it.

3. Theft

While theft might not be the first thing that you think of when you think of nursing home abuse or neglect, a link does exist.

Theft is a form of abuse because it’s often based on taking advantage of people who don’t have a strong ability to advocate for themselves. If they put their trust in the staff or in the other residents of the nursing home, that trust can be abused. When people steal from their loved ones, they are abusing their patients. Their vulnerable position is being taken advantage of.

Theft is also a condition of neglect because of the kinds of fraud that the elderly and sick are vulnerable to. If someone comes into the building to sell fake insurance plans or to try to hustle your loved one out of their money, they shouldn’t get past security. If they can, this means that people are neglecting their responsibility to secure the facility.

Theft at the hands of staff is prosecutable. When it’s a result of neglect, the conditions could be harder to prove, unless there was no one on hand to protect them in the first place.

4. Poor Hygiene

There are signs of neglect and abuse that are less obvious than others. While some people become depressed and despondent as they get older, most people still try to take care of themselves. They will still bathe, clean up their space, and try to maintain dignity.

If you notice that your loved one isn’t as clean-shaven as they want to be or isn’t as clean as they should be, speak to the staff. Get an understanding of who should be responsible for this and why they haven’t been doing their job. You should be able to hold someone responsible.

If this problem persists for days or weeks, it could be time to file a lawsuit. Poor hygiene can lead to illness which is dangerous for elderly people.

Take Nursing Home Neglect Seriously

If you suspect your loved one is the victim of nursing home neglect, you should intervene. There’s no excuse for nursing home neglect, especially when you’re paying for eldercare. Take precautions to protect your loved one and, if necessary, don’t hesitate to call a lawyer.

If you suspect nursing home neglect, check out the settlements we’ve been able to get for cases like yours.


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