A Manchester Nursing Home Injuries Lawyer Answers Elder Abuse and Nursing Home Injuries FAQ
How Prevalent Is Elder Abuse?
Exact numbers are difficult to calculate, but most experts agree that as many as one in ten senior citizens, defined alternately as those age 60 or 65, are abused each year. One of the largest problems not only in determining the scope of the problem but in addressing the causes is the fact that according to the National Center for Elder Abuse, fewer than 20 percent of the cases of elder abuse are reported.
Is Elder Abuse Limited to Physical Abuse?
The NCEA recognizes seven different forms of elder abuse. In addition to physical abuse, there may be emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse and exploitation, abandonment and neglect. The final category is what a Manchester nursing home injuries lawyer reports as self-neglect, which is a situation where the elder refuses the needed assistance of a care giver. Consequently, self-neglect may take the form of any of the other types of elder abuse.
Who Are the Abusers?
Sadly, the statistics are clear that in the overwhelming number of elder abuse incidences, the abuser is someone the senior knows and is often his or her caregiver and/or a family member.
Where Is the Abuse Occurring?
Much abuse occurs right in the elder’s own home, where a spouse or adult child is often the abuser. However, nursing home abuse is on the rise dramatically. With the large number of baby boomers entering their senior years, nursing home populations are increasing and unfortunately, there is a lack of quality facilities that provide loving and safe care for elders.
What Is the Cause of Nursing Home Abuse?
The problem must be assessed individually for each facility, but there seems to be some common issues that experienced nursing home injuries attorneys regularly see:
- A nursing home is understaffed: one of the primary factors to look for in choosing a proper facility is the ration of attendants to residents. Even if there are no other issues, a ratio of too many elders to too few care givers is a recipe for disaster.
- Undertraining of the staff: in many instances, duties that should be performed by registered nurses or certified nurse assistants are in fact conducted by unlicensed employees of the nursing home. Other than constituting a violation of the facilities’ obligation, these individuals are simply unable to provide an adequate level of care.
What Signs Can Indicate a Problem?
Even for those who truly care for their loved one, it is impossible to be at a nursing home every day to monitor the care given. It is important, therefore, to be vigilant when one is around and know what to look for. Overt signs of improper care can include bruising, cuts, soiled clothing or bedding, and a lack of proper personal hygiene. Less obvious indicators may be observed in the resident, such as withdrawal, unresponsiveness, or apparent fear. Finally, it is also essential to observe how the facility itself operates. If visitation during regularly scheduled hours is denied or if a visitor is not permitted to be alone with a resident, those could be signs of a larger problem.
What Can Be Done?
You must be your loved ones’ advocate. Many elders cannot sufficiently communicate, and others are fearful of reprisals. If you have any reason to suspect any form of elder abuse, it is highly recommended you contact an experienced elder abuse lawyer. There are both criminal and civil penalties for those responsible for the abuse. Knowing the difference between an emergency situation that requires immediate attention and one that requires more investigation can be critical.
Contact a Manchester Nursing Home Injuries Lawyer for Legal Advice
A senior citizen has the legal right to proper care. Be sure you have all the facts. Call the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC, Manchester nursing home injuries attorneys, at (603) 624-7200.