When it comes time to place your loved one in a nursing home, you trust they will receive the care and attention they need. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. It is estimated that 5,000,000 elderly Americans are abused each year, with a large percentage of the abuse taking place in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
Elder abuse can have a devastating impact on the health and well-being of your loved one. If you believe your family member has been the victim of abuse, we urge you to contact our Columbus nursing home abuse attorneys immediately. Our compassionate legal team at Slater & Zurz will ensure your loved one is quickly removed from harm and receives the care and support they need to recover. We treat every nursing home abuse victim as if they are a member of our own families and fight tirelessly to protect their rights. Our elder abuse attorneys will aggressively pursue justice on you and your loved one’s behalf, holding the responsible party accountable for their actions.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
The term “nursing home abuse” often brings to mind acts of emotional and physical abuse. However, there are several other forms of abuse that can have devastating and lingering effects on the victim. The most common types of elder abuse include:
Verbal and emotional abuse
The terms “verbal abuse” and “emotional abuse” are often used interchangeably. Though they are similar, there are few distinct differences. Verbal abuse takes place when the caregiver uses words to hurt the victim or maintain power or control over them. Forms of verbal abuse include withholding, discounting, and countering. Emotional abuse uses tactics that hurt, mistreat, or manipulate the victim. Examples of emotional abuse include criticism, control, and humiliation.
An intentional act that causes bodily harm to a victim is considered physical abuse. Acts of physical abuse include the following:
- Using an object to cause physical harm
Financial abuse occurs when a caregiver uses the financial resources of a victim for their own personal gain. Examples include stealing cash or jewelry, forging the victim’s signature on financial transactions, or forcing the victim to change their will to include the caregiver.
Sexual abuse is defined as any unwanted sexual contact that often involves force. The perpetrators of sexual abuse in a nursing home or assisted-living facility are typically staff members but may also include fellow residents or visitors within the facility.
Nursing home neglect occurs when a caregiver fails to provide the proper care to a nursing home resident. The neglect can be either intentional or unintentional. Examples of elder neglect include:
- Leaving a resident unattended for an extended period of time
- Failing to provide sufficient food and water
- Not administering necessary medication to a resident
- Failing to assist with proper hygiene
- Allowing the resident to remain in unsafe or unsanitary conditions
Common indicators of neglect in a nursing home setting are malnutrition, dehydration, poor hygiene, and the development of bedsores.
Bedsores Causes and Treatment
Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, are injuries to the skin and tissue caused by prolonged pressure. They typically form on bony areas of the body, such as the hips, tailbone, heels, ankles, and elbows. If a bedsore is not promptly treated, it can lead to serious conditions, such as cellulitis, bone and joint infections, cancer, and sepsis.
People who have limited mobility, are incontinent, have poor nutrition or hydration, or are bedridden are highly susceptible to bedsores.
Depending on the severity of the bedsore, it can take anywhere from a few days to years to heal. In severe cases, bedsores may never heal completely. Common treatments for pressure ulcers include eating a healthy diet, reducing pressure, keeping the wound clean, and performing surgery to remove, repair or replace damaged tissue.
What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
Suspecting your loved one may be the victim of abuse is devastating. However, there are steps you can take to ensure your loved one’s safety and hold those responsible for the abuse accountable for their actions.
Ensure your loved one’s safety
If you feel your loved one is in immediate danger, call 911 right away. If necessary, take steps to remove or transfer them from the facility.
Speak to your loved one
Talk to them about your suspicions and ask if they were harmed or feel threatened in any way. Unfortunately, many abused victims are embarrassed, so you may experience some resistance or hesitation from your loved one in discussing the matter.
Meet with the administrator of the facility
Request a meeting with the nursing home or assisted-living facility administrator to discuss your concerns and bring the abuse to their immediate attention.
Contact your local ombudsman
If you feel the situation will not be remedied by management, you can report your concerns to your state’s local ombudsman or other state agency that regulates elder care facilities. Long-term care ombudsmen are resident advocates that investigate allegations of abuse.
Speak with a Columbus nursing home abuse attorney
To ensure your loved one’s rights and well-being are protected, contact a knowledgeable and trusted attorney.
Nursing Home Abuse FAQs
How long do I have to file a nursing home abuse lawsuit in Ohio?
In Ohio, the statute of limitations for filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit depends on the type of claim. For a negligence or wrongful death claim, you have two years from the date of the injury to file. For medical malpractice claims, there is only a one-year statute of limitations. Missing a deadline could deny you your right to compensation, so it’s best to seek legal representation right away.
What is considered “neglect” in a nursing home setting?
Neglect is the failure to provide a person with the care essential to their health, safety, and well-being. This includes food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and supervision. Passive neglect is unintentional and usually involves an overwhelmed caregiver. Active neglect is intentional disregard of the elder’s needs. Neglect is typically a lack of action whereas abuse is a deliberate action.
How common is nursing home abuse?
It is estimated that as many as 1 in 3 nursing home residents have been the victims of abuse. It was also found that approximately 2 in 3 nursing home staff members admitted to abusing or neglecting a resident. These statistics are especially alarming because it is estimated that only half of all nursing home abuse incidents are reported.
What are the signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse?
Signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse include:
- Cuts, bruises, and broken bones
- Fatigue or insomnia
- Poor personal hygiene
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Anxiety, depression, or confusion
- Aggressive or violent behavior
- Suicidal thoughts
- Decreased self-confidence
- Unexplained financial transactions or losses
- Withdrawal from loved ones
Our Columbus Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Can Help
If you suspect nursing home abuse or any other form of elder abuse, we urge you to seek legal assistance right away. Our Columbus nursing home abuse lawyers are generally concerned about your loved one and will, first and foremost, take necessary action to ensure they are safe and healthy. We will thoroughly investigate the abuse and identify all who are responsible. Our dedicated legal team will aggressively pursue justice by holding them accountable for their actions. We will work diligently to recover damages on your loved one’s behalf, so they receive the mental, emotional, and physical care they need to restore their health and dignity. You can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 888.534.4850.