Nursing Home Abuse Guide
There are more than 3.2 million American adults living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. As many as 40 percent of all aging adults enter these types of homes during their lifetime. Because the Baby Boomer generation is aging, there are more of these aging Americans with each passing day. So the number of people entering nursing facilities is also growing.
Sadly, many of these adults are victims of elder abuse. Elder abuse is a difficult to detect type of abuse that occurs in nursing homes and in-home care environments. For each reported case of nursing home abuse, there are five unreported cases.
Statistics of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse increases likelihood of death within the three years after that abuse by 300 percent. It is believed that one in every six nursing home residents are victimized by abuse or neglect each year.
This abuse is more prevalent than most people think. Although many residents receive the positive care they need, in more than 75 percent of nursing home abuse cases the perpetrators are caregivers.
Examination of nursing home records in a two year period reflected one in three nursing homes received violation citations indicating potential for nursing home abuse. Almost ten percent of nursing homes were cited after causing actual harm. These statistics were reported by Congress.
Up to 44 percent of residents in nursing homes admit they have been abused during their residency and 95 percent witnessed another resident’s neglect or abuse.
According to a U.S. General Accountability Office study, state regulators overlook signs of abuse. The GAO reports 70 percent of state surveys failed to recognize significant deficiencies and 15 percent failed to recognize actual harm or immediate danger to nursing home residents.
These types of reports are why legislatures in all U.S. states have passed anti-elder abuse laws. Still, the abuses continue to occur in nursing homes.
What is nursing home abuse?
Nursing home abuse can involve:
- Physical abuse resulting in physical harm, whether that physical abuse is intentional or due to neglect
- Sexual abuse, include unwanted sexual attention or exploitation and/or given to a patient unable to express consent or cognitively compromised
- Psychological abuse such as yelling, criticizing, humiliating or shaming, often resulting in behavioral changes
- Financial exploitation, such as when a caregiver takes advantage of patient financial matter management, steals, or otherwise compromises their financial status
- Neglect, whether unintentional due to poor staffing or purposeful, such as when patient hygiene, nutrition, clothing or other care needs are not met
- Resident to resident abuse, when one resident abuses another physically, sexually or psychologically due to poor protections of the abused patient
Signs of nursing home abuse may include:
- Broken bones, bruises, cuts or welts
- Bed sores
- Frequent infections
- Dehydration and poor nutrition
- Mood swings or emotional outbursts
- Refusal to speak, eat or take medications
- Unexplained weight loss
- Poor personal hygiene
- Mental status changes
- Hovering caregivers who do not want patient left alone with other people
Not everyone with these symptoms suffers nursing home abuse. But these signs are reasons to investigate further.
If you believe someone you love has suffered nursing home abuse in Arizona, call an experienced elder abuse lawyer immediately.