Elder abuse in nursing homes is not uncommon, with nearly 1 in 6 adults over the age of 60 suffering every year. Nursing home abuse can come from caregivers, nursing home staff, and fellow residents. The elderly, who tend to be weaker mentally and physically, usually have difficulty standing up for themselves. Ultimately, family members and friends must be vigilant to make sure nursing homes treat their loved ones with the love and respect they deserve.
Talk to an Experienced New York Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If you suspect a loved one has suffered elder abuse, you should immediately contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney. Nursing homes provide long term care to seniors who cannot take proper care of themselves. If a nursing home fails to provide proper care, it must be held accountable.
Our experienced lawyers at Halperin & Halperin P.C., will guide you through the complex legal process and help you fight for your rightful compensation. We will seek compensation to cover any resultant medical bills, and hopefully, find shelter for your loved ones in a safer care facility. Contact us today for a free case review.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Abuse comes in a variety of forms, all of which can cause lasting physical and psychological damage. More often than not, it is an individual tasked with caring for an elder that ends up being their abuser. Identifying the form of abuse taking place and taking legal action will keep your loved ones safe and free from future harm, and will protect other nursing home residents.
Physical abuse is the most identifiable form of elder abuse in New York. Most seniors are physically frail; physical harm can have lasting and, in some cases, grave consequences. Physical abuse is any form of violence that results in bodily injury. Perpetrators can be staff members or fellow residents. Types of physical abuse include hitting, punching, kicking, pushing, shoving, scratching, or slapping. When a nursing home resident is restrained to prevent self-harm, the misuse of restraints is physical abuse. This includes leaving a senior restrained for a long time or using restraints for discipline. Elders who are disabled, suffer from cognitive problems, or are isolated from friends and family are more likely to be physically abused.
If you suspect your loved one has been physically abused, be sure to check for:
- Bruises, welts, or scars, especially around the upper arm, wrists and ankles.
- Hair loss.
- Tooth loss.
- Dislocated joints.
- Broken or fractured bones.
- Burns from cigarettes or appliances.
- A pattern of hospitalization for similar injuries.
- Delayed medical care for an injury.
- Poorly explained or unexplained injuries.
- Withdrawal from social activities.
- Discomfort towards a particular caregiver or resident.
Unfortunately, we are not as physically resilient as we age, and even one episode of physical abuse of a senior can affect their physical and mental health for a long time. If you suspect physical abuse of a loved one, immediately file a report with local authorities and contact an experienced New York nursing home abuse lawyer.
Emotional abuse refers to any deliberate actions by a caregiver to an elder that causes emotional and psychological distress. Unlike physical abuse, it is hard to spot because the signs are not as apparent. However, it can be just as damaging, and it can severely reduce a senior’s quality of life.
Psychological or emotional abuse by caregivers encompasses:
- Terrorizing or threatening
Since it is harder to spot, emotional abuse can go on for an extended period and harm a senior’s mental state, especially if they were already suffering from an age-related cognitive defect. Signs of nursing home abuse include:
- Reduced self-esteem
- Avoiding eye contact
- Appearing withdrawn or depressed
- Engaging in self-injurious behavior
- Wild mood swings
- Sudden changes in eating or sleeping patterns
- Withdrawing from social and familial activities
- Attempts to hurt others
In some cases, emotional abuse can result in unusual behavior that resembles dementia, such as thumb sucking, mumbling, or rocking back and forth in place. Report any suspicions of emotional abuse in the nursing home to local authorities immediately and make sure you consult with an experienced New York nursing home abuse attorney.
Elder sexual abuse refers to any unwanted sexual overtures made by a caregiver to an elder. Victims are often suffering from medical conditions including dementia that makes it difficult for them to report the abuse. Sexual abuse in nursing homes comes with physical and emotional abuse, and its consequences can be grave and long-lasting. A sexually abused elder may have:
- Pelvic injuries
- Problems sitting and walking
- A sexually transmitted disease
- Bruises on their genitals or inner thighs
- Irritation or pain of the genitals or anus
- Bleeding from genitals or anus unrelated to a medical condition
- Signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) such as panic attacks
- Inappropriate or unusual behavior that points to a sexual relationship
- Suicidal ideations or attempts
If your loved one is suffering from sexual abuse in a New York nursing home, report it to the authorities and seek legal counsel. Victims are less likely to have someone believe them, so make sure you take any abuse claims very seriously.
Senior citizens are oftentimes sitting on nest eggs they accumulated after years of hard work. Seniors are prime targets for unscrupulous individuals looking to make a quick buck. This risk compounds when they are in a long-term care facility and dependent on a caregiver. Studies have found that senior citizens tend to focus on the positive, and they are not as vigilant against threats. Suffering from age-related mental issues like dementia makes them even more susceptible. A caregiver who is financially abusing an elder may:
- Forge their signature on checks and other documents
- Steal money or property from the elder
- Use their possessions without permission
- Force the elder to sign a deed, will, or power of attorney for the caregiver’s gain
- Promise care in exchange for money
- Charge things to the elder’s credit card without authorization
If you suspect your loved one is financially exploited by a caregiver, watch out for:
- Unexplained withdrawals from their bank accounts
- Changes in their financial situation
- Changes to their insurance
- Additional names on the signature card of their credit card
- Lack of medical care despite having funds for adequate healthcare
- Purchase of unusual goods, services, and subscriptions
- Missing belongings or property
Elders who are isolated and unfamiliar with personal finance and those with mental or physical disabilities are more at risk of being financially exploited. Unlike other forms of nursing home abuse, elders are more likely to report financial abuse. Contact an experienced New York elder abuse attorney if you suspect or know of any exploitation.
Neglect refers to substandard care by caregivers that result in physical or psychological harm. While other forms of abuse involve conscious efforts to directly harm the elder, negligence causes indirect damage through substandard, inadequate care. Most seniors in nursing homes cannot handle day-to-day activities on their own and need constant help. When a caregiver leaves an elder to fend for themselves, it is considered neglect. Forms of neglect include:
- Medical negligence
- Failure to provide basic needs, such as food, water, and a clean environment
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Social and emotional
Common signs of caregiver neglect in New York nursing homes include:
- Poor hygiene
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Weight loss due to inadequate nutrition
- Loss or lack of mobility due to little or no exercise
- Unexplained injuries
- Bedsores from sitting or lying in one position for too long
Neglect occurs in understaffed and inadequate trained facilities, and it can have harmful effects on an elder’s health. If you suspect nursing home neglect, do not hesitate to report it to the authorities and seek legal help. An experienced nursing home abuse attorney will help you work on your case and significantly increase your loved one’s chances of being compensated.
Should I Hire A Nursing Home Abuse Attorney?
Yes. When we take our loved ones to nursing homes, the last thing we expect is to have them abused. Sadly, nursing home abuse happens often, and we must be vigilant to make sure our loved ones are safe, while also being treated with love and respect.
Do you suspect your loved one is suffering in a nursing home? Our experienced New York nursing home abuse attorney is your best bet at getting your loved one the compensation they deserve. Contact us today for a free case review.