Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse occurs when employees of nursing facilities purposefully take advantage of their patients' vulnerable physical and mental conditions. As the population ages and more and more people entrust the care of their loved ones to professionals, nursing home abuse has become a serious and widespread problem. Currently, there are about two million cases of elder abuse reported every year, and almost one out of every ten elderly individuals will experience elder abuse at some point. However, many believe that the majority of cases of elder abuse go unreported, so it is likely that the problem is even more severe than statistics would indicate.What Does Nursing Home Abuse Involve?
Nursing home abuse can take many forms, including:
- Physical abuse: This is any contact that causes physical harm, which can be either intentional through hitting, pinching, or other offensive contact, or through intentionally neglecting a patient’s basic needs.
- Psychological abuse: Can include yelling, criticizing, humiliating, berating, or otherwise shaming the patient.
- Sexual abuse: This is unwanted sexual attention given to a patient who is unable to resist the perpetrator's advances.
- Neglect: This occurs when a patient's needs are not taken care of adequately, such as when the patient is not provided food, clothing, or water, or when they are not given proper personal hygiene.
- Resident to resident abuse: Not all nursing home abuse is at the hands of the staff. Often, nursing home staff will either allow one resident to abuse another or fail to take proper measures to prevent or stop it.
Nursing home patients are not always forthcoming about revealing when they have suffered abuse at the hands of nursing home staff. There are a number of reasons why this might be the case; the patient may be ashamed to admit they are being abused, the abusive staff member could be threatening them about revealing the abuse, or they may not be able to communicate that they are being abused due to mental deterioration. However, there are several signs that a patient is suffering from nursing home abuse, including:
- Unsanitary and unclean conditions
- Falls, fractures, or head injuries
- Unexplained injuries (such as cuts, bruises, or welts)
- Unusual or sudden changes in behavior (including fear of being touched, sucking, biting, and rocking)
- Bed sores
- Rapid weight loss or gain
- Heavy medication or sedation
- Reluctance to speak in the presence of staff members
- Frequent illness and illnesses that are not promptly reported to physicians and family members
The first step you should take if you believe that a loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse is to make a formal oral or written complaint to the administrator of the facility, to which the administrator is required to respond. If this complaint is not resolved, then you should submit an oral or written complaint to the Georgia Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. Regardless of whether these steps resolve the issue, you should always speak to an attorney to determine whether you or your loved one can file a claim.Call Slappey & Sadd, LLC Today to Speak with an Atlanta Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If you believe that a loved one has suffered abuse in a long-term care facility, you should have your case reviewed by a lawyer immediately. We serve the entire state of Georgia, including the following locations: Atlanta, Roswell, and Sandy Springs. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Atlanta nursing home lawyers, call Slappey & Sadd today at 404.255.6677 or send us an email through our online contact form.