Nursing home abuse has and continues to be a growing problem in the United States, due in large part to the Baby Boomer generation and the ever increasing percentage of the population that they make up. The 2010 census report found that roughly 13 percent of the population was older than 65 years old, a figure that is expected to rise as high as 20 percent by the year 2050. The Nursing Home Abuse Center reports that current research suggests:
- Only one of 14 incidents of elder abuse come to the attention of authorities;
- Only one in 25 cases of financial exploitation are reported;
- 90% of perpetrators of elder abuse are family members;
- A study of 2,000 nursing facility residents indicated an abuse rate of 44% and a neglect rate of 95%.
Typical examples of nursing home abuse:
Generally, physical abuse involves actions, often intentional actions, by either nursing home staff or other residents that cause physical harm or injury. The most typical examples include hitting, pushing, pinching, scratching, and the misuse or overuse of restraints.
Sexual abuse, just like the general context, is defined as unwanted sexual attention, advances, and exploitation. Sexual abuse can be as small as an unwanted touch, or comment and as serious as rape. Sexual abuse can easily occur in circumstances where the victim has dementia or other cognitive deficiencies, as such individuals generally lack the mental acuity to consent to sexual attention.
Just as in the general context, types and examples of psychological abuse vary and the indications of abuse are often difficult to identify. However, in the context of nursing home residents, the effect can be much worse, as victims are often in a weakened physical and mental state that makes them more vulnerable. Examples include screaming and yelling, shaming through criticism and/or humiliation, isolation, etc.
Financial exploitation is a frequent form of nursing home abuse to which residents with dementia and other cognitive deficiencies are particularly susceptible. Financial exploitation is theft and/or the manipulation of the resident’s finances. Key examples include: direct theft of money, applying for credit cards or benefits in the resident’s name, and other forms of identity theft used to access finances.
Neglect is generally unintentional and occurs when the resident is overlooked by the nursing home staff. A neglected resident’s needs are not met, whether that be related to personal hygiene or the provision of medical care and medications, food, clothing, and water. Neglect can and often does lead to serious medical conditions such as bed sores, dehydration, starvation, and complications with preexisting conditions that went untreated.
What to do if you or someone you know is being abused.
- Call 911 to report any injuries, life-threatening emergencies, or other serious medical issues.
- Report the abuse to Tennessee’s Adult Protective Services or to the police.
- Keep your own hidden record of the abuse. Include in it the names of the suspected perpetrators, the dates of any incidences of abuse, photographs of any injuries or inappropriate conditions, and otherwise document any information that could help prove your case.
- Contact an experienced attorney to pursue a civil suit.
If you, a family member, or a friend has been a victim of nursing home abuse, do not hesitate to get in touch with the experienced team of nursing home abuse attorneys at Batson Nolan to discuss your case and begin working toward the compensation you deserve for the injuries and expenses you have suffered.
As the oldest law office in the State of Tennessee, the litigators at Batson Nolan know exactly how to maximize your potential recovery through quality, aggressive litigation. Do not let your case be one of the many that go unnoticed and unreported. Call us today.