Elderly Care: Top Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse is a serious issue that can happen to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, old or young–nursing home abuse affects people of all different backgrounds and levels of income.
Unfortunately, the elderly often find it difficult to speak up about the abuse they are experiencing from caregivers because they feel embarrassed or ashamed. In case you notice any abuse taking place, it would be best to seek help from a nursing home abuse attorney.
This post will discuss the top forms of nursing home abuse, so you know what to look out for!
Financial abuse is one of the most common types of nursing home abuse. It can take many different forms, from taking advantage of a resident’s diminished mental state to steal their money or property to outright theft by staff members themselves.
In addition, financial abusers may use coercion and threats to coerce residents into signing over power-of-attorney privileges and other legal documents that give them access to financial assets like bank accounts or stocks.
They may also tamper with wills, forge signatures on checks, withdraw funds without authorization, fail to pay bills for medical equipment not provided by the facility (or at all), refuse help with finances even when requested multiple times, keep secret records, and misappropriate property, and more.
Emotional abuse can be challenging to detect because there may not be any physical signs. In addition, emotionally abused residents suffer from neglect that is different from the other types of emotional abuse, which means they are being ignored and do not receive care at all by staff members.
Most elderly patients who have experienced some abuse will suffer from depression or anxiety long after leaving an abusive environment. This makes it difficult for them to function in society and live an everyday life outside their nursing home setting.
Physical neglect is also known as material abuse or deprivation of necessities by the caregiver. This type of nursing home abuse may include skipping doctor’s appointments, withholding food and water, not providing needed medical care such as medication or therapy, neglecting to help with hygiene needs like bathing, and denying a resident from going outside when able to do so on their own accord.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult for authorities and caregivers alike to detect in many instances because there may not always be any evidence or witnesses. The signs of an older adult getting abused physically include bruising on their body, unexplained fractures, bedsores that haven’t gotten appropriately treated, and other wounds or sores that have not healed correctly or at all.
Furthermore, loss of weight without medical justification; visible control marks such as rope burns from binding them against their will (known as “rope trick”).
Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home neglect is the most common form of abuse. Nursing homes can be legally liable for this type of mistreatment if it gets known they have done nothing to prevent, stop or report.
They should notify when a resident got harmed by another resident, staff member, family member, or friend who visits them in their room. Neglect also includes:
- Failing to provide proper medical treatment and care.
- Failure to hire enough qualified staff members.
- Failure to train staff adequately on how best to handle patients’ needs.
- Not paying attention during bathing or toileting activities with a patient due to distractions like TV watching.
There are many ways you as a caregiver can help watch out for signs of nursing home abuse: look carefully at your loved one’s skin for signs of bedsores, bruises, or other types of unexplained injuries; look at their arm to make sure there is no bruising where a blood pressure cuff was placed hours before; keep an eye on the patient’s mood to see if they seem sad, fearful or withdrawn.
Sexual abuse, including rape and molestation, is one of the most prevalent types of nursing home abuse. One in six residents falls prey to this type of sexual violence every year.
Sexual assaults are often perpetrated by someone who has access to a resident’s bed or room-such as another resident, visitor, physician, nurse assistant, or even family member. Unfortunately, residents may not protect themselves against these predators because they are physically frail due to illness or injury.
The elderly are one of the most vulnerable populations in society. The high rates of abuse and neglect that have gotten documented over recent years are troubling, which has only increased with time as more people continue to age.
This article has outlined the common types of abuse committed against elderly individuals in nursing homes, including physical abuse and neglect. There is a need to increase public awareness about these abuses to be prevented in the future, hopefully.