Deciding to entrust the care of a loved one to a nursing home or other long-term care facility is a profound act of trust. It is with deep concern that many families learn of the potential neglect or abuse that their loved ones may face. Benton & Benton is here to advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves.
When you look at the numbers, they are alarming. Approximately 1.6 million individuals reside in nursing homes in the U.S., with another 1 million in various long-term care settings. Given their dependency on staff for essentials from nutrition to medical treatment, these individuals, often elderly, are among the most vulnerable members of society.
Understanding Nursing Home Abuse
The Administration on Aging succinctly defines abuse as:
“The willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or cruel punishment with resulting physical harm, pain, or mental anguish or deprivation by a person, including a caregiver, of goods or services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness.”
When intentional mistreatment by nursing home staff results in physical or emotional harm to a resident, it’s termed nursing home abuse. It can manifest in various forms:
Physical Abuse in Nursing Homes
- Using unnecessary restraints
- Pulling hair
Emotional Abuse in Nursing Homes
- Rough handling
- Sarcasm or other forms of bullying
- Forcing degrading acts
Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
- Sexual harassment
- Unwanted touching
- Sexual assault
- Sexual battery
- Forced nudity
Understanding Nursing Home Neglect
Different from abuse, neglect is defined as a lack of intention. It happens when nursing homes fail to meet the essential needs of residents, resulting in injuries or fatalities. Underlying causes often include:
- Overburdened staff
- Negligent hiring
- Insufficient training
- Poor management
Types of neglect encompass:
- Lack of Basic Needs: Not providing essentials like food, water, heating, a clean environment, or appropriate clothing.
- Inadequate Medical Care: Failing to administer correct medications or attend to medical conditions.
- Emotional Neglect: Isolating or ignoring residents.
- Poor Hygiene or Unclean Facilities: This leads to illnesses, bed sores, and other health hazards.
Signs to Watch For
If your loved one is in a nursing home, it’s essential to be vigilant for signs of abuse or neglect:
- Frequent falls
- Unexplained injuries
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Unsanitary conditions
- Rapid weight changes
- Personality shifts
- Chronic hospital visits
- Medication errors
- Torn clothing
Making the Distinction
Understanding the difference between nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and assisted living facilities is crucial. Skilled nursing facilities, synonymous with nursing homes, cater primarily to Medicare or Medicaid beneficiaries, offering 24/7 medical care. In contrast, assisted living facilities are for those requiring minimal assistance.
How Benton & Benton Can Help
If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, turn to Benton & Benton for legal support. Our attorneys have an impressive record of securing significant compensation for clients.
We recognize the gravity of entrusting a loved one to a facility only to feel that trust shattered.
Our attorneys, equipped with robust negotiation and litigation skills, tackle even the most intricate cases. Our commitment goes beyond legal expertise; we genuinely care for our clients.
For guidance on nursing home abuse or neglect, please contact us or call +1-866-974-0330 for a FREE consultation.