A nursing home is a residential facility for people, particular elder one, which provides twenty-four-hour care. The services offered are the most extensive nursing care a person can get outside a hospital.
Nursing home abuse is an inadequate act of care, supervision, or medical malpractice which causes unreasonable suffering and misery, that can lead to illness, injury or even death.
Nursing home neglect and abuse cases are always hard, but personal injury law firms are usually are large and strong enough to stand up and fight for vulnerable people.
1. The Rights Of Nursing Home Residents
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California and the federal government have extensive laws and regulations in order to cover and protect the rights of nursing home residents. These regulations are extremely detailed, and we can mention few:
- Seniors have the right to respect and dignity
- Equal access to quality care
- Residents may exercise their rights as citizens of the United States and California State
- Adequate and appropriate clinical care and treatment
- Privacy and confidentiality
2. TYPES OF NURSING HOME ABUSES
Abusers often use victim vulnerabilities in order to control, or due to their aggressive profile.
To fend off misconducts, you must recognize the types of abuses.
This type of abuse is deliberately hurting, causing injury or trauma to another person. Physical abuse can have short and long-term effects on a person’s health.
Emotional abuse is an attempt to manipulate another person. The perpetrator uses emotion as a weapon of choice. Emotional abuse can take various forms, includes verbal abuse, intimidation, manipulation, undermining, being made to feel guilty, threats.
Psychological abuse is referred to as psychological violence, emotional abuse or mental abuse, often leaving the abused feeling worthless, with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Negligence in a nursing home is the failure to care properly, a form of breach of duty or substandard care, which causes harm to the resident who has been neglected. Neglect also exists when the family member is frequently left alone, ignored or berated. Medical negligence exists when the nursing home staff is failing to provide the necessary treatment, medication, basic needs or hygiene. (See also: What to Look For When Choosing a Nursing Home?)
3. How to spot nursing home abuse. Signs
Sometimes it can be very hard to detect signs of abuse. Emotional abuse, for example, is subtle and insidious. Do not fall in the trap of ignorance or minimization. Because older adults have less physical strength and they are less able to defend themselves from physical abuse, they may also not be able to inform you they have been the victims of abuse or neglect. Below are a few examples of nursing home abuse signs:
- Increasing depression
- Passivity, withdrawal, evasiveness to talk openly
- Change in sleeping or eating habits
- Anxiety, feeling of powerlessness
- Unexplained bruises, scars, broken bones
- Failing to take medication accordingly
- Isolation from family and friends
- Taking no action on the resident’s requests
- Lack of care in medical issues
- Unsanitary and unclean conditions
These warning signs are very important for the safety and health of your loved one.
“The body is crumbled, grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone where once I had a heart,
But inside this old carcass, a young girl still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells.”
The fragment above is part of a poem written by an elderly lady who died in a geriatric ward of a hospital.
4. Who Are the Abusers?
Abusers have behaviors that may indicate a potential aggressor: insincerity, manipulative and controlling or narcissistic behavior, they may be vicious and cruel.
Unsuitable placement of mentally ill patients in nursing homes can lead to abuse. Mentally ill individuals should not be placed in nursing homes. By not separating the residents who have mental illness from the other residents, nursing homes become directly responsible when residents abuse each other.
It is also vital to have highly trained staff, with skills that match the needs of the patients. Unfortunately, there are often cases where the abusers are the nursing home employees themselves.
5. Nursing Home Abuses Implications and Effects
The impact of all types of abuses over the elder is significant. On the long term, it takes high levels of distress and depression to increase the risk of expanding anxiety reactions and posttraumatic stress disorders.
Wrongful death of a person in a nursing home facility may be the effect of negligence on the part of the staff who has failed to perform their duties accurately, resulting, in the end, in the death of the older adult in their care.
To support a senior who has suffered poor treatment and neglect as a nursing home resident, keep in mind that a personal injury attorney can help you bring the justice and compensation your loved ones deserve. (See also: How to Help Seniors Stay at Home Rather than Go to a Nursing Home)
6. How Can Injuries Be Prevented
Nursing home injuries may be prevented if the employees remain vigilant and keep improving the entire health and safety system. Monitoring the aspects of mental and physical health and medications is essential in the prevention process. Steps to reduce elder abuse: stay in touch with the elders, keep them active, encourage them to talk about their problems, don’t allow elders to cohabitate with someone who is mentally ill or known to be abusive, don’t allow a family member to put an elder at risk for financial exploitation, or another form of abuse.
You can prevent harm in the nursing homes by knowing your legal options and rights.
“If no one reports the crime the law does little good. It is approximated that for every case of reported elder abuse, five more go unreported. This is why it’s so important for friends, family, health care professionals and others to understand what elder abuse is, recognize the warning signs and report suspected cases to the proper authorities” says John M. O’Brien, Sacramento, and Elk Grove elder law attorney.
About the author:
John M. O’Brien is a passionate personal injury attorney with more than 20 years of experience in nursing home abuse and wrongful death law. He is the founder and principal attorney at John M. O’Brien & Associates and is recognized throughout the California legal community as a dedicated and effective advocate.