According to an August 2017 National Public Radio (NPR) article, more than 25 percent of severe nursing home abuse cases go unreported. NPR obtained this information from the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services. Considering that in New York state alone, approximately 260,000 nursing home residents reported some form of abuse in 2010, the estimated number of unreported cases is staggering.
In 2000, the National Center on Elder Abuse conducted a study of 2,000 nursing home residents. The revealing study discovered that 44 percent of those surveyed had been abused, and a shocking 95 percent had suffered neglect or had witnessed others being neglected. And surprisingly, more than half of the nursing home staff members surveyed admitted to mistreating their patients. A Boston nursing home abuse attorney can help you determine how to proceed if your loved one has been the victim of abuse.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Some of the signs below can be the result of an honest mistake or a medical condition. However, if any of these issues arise and seem persistent or unexplained, they may indicate abuse or neglect:
- Unexplained injuries, bruises, or medical conditions
- Poor hygiene
- Lack of food or water
- Unexplained weight loss
- Dirty bed linens
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Missing eyeglasses, dentures, walkers, or other necessary items
- Cigarette burns
- Sprains, fractures, or broken bones
- Victim seems fearful, angry, or withdrawn
- Torn or bloody undergarments
- Infections in the genital or anal area
- Painful urination or defecation
- Pain when sitting or walking
What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
If your loved one is in a nursing home, it is crucial to know how to recognize signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. The following tips can help you protect your loved one from becoming a victim.
- Ask: It might sound simple, but asking your loved one if he or she is being mistreated is the best way to assess their situation. In some cases, victims of elder abuse will remain silent out of fear of retaliation. Questions such as, “do you feel safe?” or “who is your favorite staff member?” may elicit a more honest response.
- Use extra caution when your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease or dementia: The sad reality is that dementia patients have a higher risk of elder abuse. For this reason, friends and family should pay special attention to possible warning signs, such as withdrawal, unexplained bruises, or poor hygiene.
- Maintain close ties with your loved one: There is evidence that nursing home patients whose family members visit often are less likely to become victims of abuse or neglect. When family visits often, it is easier to detect changes in behavior, hygiene, and overall health. A MA nursing home abuse attorney can help you recover damages if your elderly loved one has been been the victim of abuse or neglect.
- Do your homework: Before choosing a nursing home for your loved one, research multiple facilities. Visit the home in person, ask for referrals, and do a google search. The facility should be clean and residents should appear happy. Visiting during shared meal times allows you to see if the food looks nutritious and if residents and staff are engaged in positive interactions. Does the facility have social programs? How long do staff members typically stay on board? Do staff members appear to enjoy their jobs?
Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Top Nursing Home Abuse Law Firm
If your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of accident and injury victims for more than 50 years. Our experienced, compassionate attorneys will analyze the details of your case to determine the best legal strategy for moving forward. It is our goal to get you the compensation you deserve so that you can get on with your life. Don’t go through this difficult time alone. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.