The decision to place an elderly loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility can be difficult. There are millions of families every year who consider placing an elderly loved one in a facility that will meet their medical needs as well as their day-to-day living needs. While we would like to believe that we are entrusting the care of our loved ones with people who will provide a high standard of care, this is not always the case. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse has reached epidemic levels.
Nursing home abuse can occur in a variety of ways. Types of nursing home abuse include:
- Physical Abuse – The deliberate application of physical force that leads to injury, pain, or impairment is considered physical abuse. Examples include hitting, striking (with an object or without), slapping, pushing, punching, pinching, tripping, kicking, and burning. Since elderly persons are particularly susceptible to injury, the injuries they sustain can be very serious.
- Sexual Abuse – An individual who has committed non-consensual sexual acts with an elderly resident can be held liable for sexual abuse. This can include coerced nudity, exposure, unwanted pornographic material delivered to the patient, sexually explicit photography, unwanted touching, unauthorized “peeping,” and any type of sexual battery which is the harmful or offensive unlawful touching of another person.
- Emotional Abuse – This can include any type of act, either verbal or non-verbal, designed to inflict emotional anguish and/or suffering. Examples of this include threatening, demeaning or embarrassing, treating a patient like they are a child, intimidating, and harassing patients. Additionally, emotional abuse can also include isolating a patient from other patients or family or ignoring the patient.
- Neglect and Abandonment – Failure on the part of the nursing home staff to fulfill their responsibilities, and a patient suffers harm as a result is considered neglect and/or abandonment. This includes not providing a patient with the basic necessities of life, such as food, water, clothing, personal hygiene, a living environment that is clean and safe, and comfort.
- Financial Exploitation – using an elderly patient’s personal funds, assets, or property when not authorized is considered financial exploitation. Such exploitation includes forging the patient’s signature to cash a check, abusing the rights as a Power of Attorney, obtaining access to funds through coercion, or stealing an elderly individual’s cash.
If you or an elderly loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, you should contact an experienced nursing home malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
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