Placing an elderly loved one into a nursing home can cause family members a considerable amount of trepidation. News stories and rumors regarding the abuse that occurs in nursing homes make it difficult for you and your family to know which facility to trust.
Though there is some truth to the old saying that you get what you pay for, even expensive nursing homes may not be immune to the potential for abuse. The problem became pervasive enough for the U.S. Department of Justice to start an Elder Justice Initiative. The USDOJ also provides the following information regarding the types of abuse that your aging loved one could suffer that your aging loved one could suffer in a nursing home.
Your loved one could suffer from neglect
Some nursing home staff members either unintentionally or intentionally deny the following help or care to residents:
- Food and water
- Basic hygiene assistance
- Transportation to medical or dental appointments
- Toilet assistance
- Clean and safe living environment
Every resident of a nursing home is entitled to these basic services. The failure of a nursing home to provide them could result in severe injury or, in extreme cases, death.
Your loved one could suffer from psychological abuse
It’s not unheard of for nursing home staff members to perpetrate the following psychological abuse on residents:
- Verbal attacks
- Isolating residents from others
- Refusing to speak to residents
- Talking down to residents
- Stalking residents
The resulting mental anguish can cause distress, fear and other psychological damage.
Your loved one could suffer from physical or sexual abuse
In addition to psychological and emotional damage, the following physical or sexual abuse of residents can result in death, injuries and illness:
- Hitting or slapping
- Biting or shaking
- Pushing or shoving
- Holding down or grabbing
- Over or under medicating
- Sexual assault
- Photographing an unclothed or partially clothed resident
- Forcing the removal of clothing
The above do not constitute an exhaustive list of the physical or sexual abuse that a resident may suffer in a nursing home. You may not even realize that physical contact isn’t always necessary in order to result in these types of abuse.
Exploring your legal options
Elderly nursing home residents risk triple the chance of premature death and could suffer from illnesses or injuries they never should endure due to abuse. If your loved one suffers any type of harm at the hands of a nursing home, its staff or its residents, you may have legal options. More than likely, you already attempted to resolve the matter by going to the head of the nursing home. That may not have gotten you the answers you need, however.
After you ensure the safety of your loved one, you may benefit from scheduling a consultation with an attorney. This person can advise you of your rights and help you figure out your next steps.