According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around one in six people 60 years or older experienced some form of abuse in community settings over the past year. Astoundingly, two in three staff members in nursing homes and long-term care facilities reported they committed abuse in the past year. As the population of the United States continues to age, experts anticipate reports of elder abuse will only increase. While preventing nursing home abuse is the ultimate goal, many forms of abuse are hidden beneath the surface and go undiscovered.
If you think your loved one is suffering from elder abuse, contact Silva Injury Law immediately to discuss your case. Additionally, you can review our guide containing tips to prevent elder abuse.
What Is Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse is defined as the mistreatment or harming of an older person. Elder abuse includes:
- Financial abuse,
- Sexual abuse,
- Psychological abuse, and
- Physical abuse.
Financial abuse involves gaining control over an older person’s finances by theft, abuse of authority, fraud, or undue influence. Sexual abuse includes any sexual act towards a senior person performed without consent. Neglect occurs when someone fails or refuses to satisfy an older person’s safety, physical, or emotional needs. Psychological abuse involves verbal attacks, threats, isolation, or belittling acts that cause mental anguish or distress. Physical abuse consists of using force to threaten or harm an older person.
Ways to Protect Your Loved Ones from Elder Abuse in California Nursing Homes
Nursing home residents are more vulnerable than a typical adult. Because they are more susceptible, things that may not be considered abuse or neglect for a typical adult can constitute abuse or neglect against a senior citizen. Here are some ways to protect your loved one from abuse.
1. Know the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
The signs of elder abuse can range from emotional indicators to a resident’s appearance.
Signs of psychological abuse might include:
- Unusual changes in behavior,
- Fear or anxiety,
- Lack of responsiveness,
- Depression, or
- Sudden changes in sleep patterns.
Signs of physical abuse might include:
- Broken bones,
- Burns, or
- Torn clothing.
In some cases, you can find signs of neglect throughout long-term care facilities, such as:
- Poor living conditions,
- Lack of adequate medical treatment,
- Poor hygiene, or
- Failure to provide assistance devices.
Any of these signs may indicate that abuse is happening within your loved one’s nursing home.
2. Monitor Your Loved One’s Accounts Regularly
Financial abuse is the fastest-growing form of elder abuse. You can prevent financial abuse by keeping a close eye on your loved one’s bank accounts. If you see an unexpected charge, it is worth looking into. Signs of financial abuse can include:
- Unexpected charges on bank statements,
- A sudden change in bank account balances,
- Forged signatures on official documents, and
- Frequent or unexplained ATM withdrawals.
Financial abuse can easily go unchecked if a nursing home resident’s loved ones don’t keep an eye on the records.
3. Communicate with Nursing Home Staff
If you have minor concerns about care inside a nursing home, you can raise those concerns with the staff. This can help you build a working relationship with staff members and prevent minor issues from creating large headaches.
But more serious concerns may require greater intervention. Nursing home residents can file a complaint through the facility’s grievance process. When a resident files a grievance, the facility must provide a written summary of its investigation and its findings, including any corrective action.
If your concerns are not addressed, you can contact the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman (OSLTCO), which oversees elder abuse investigations in long-term care facilities, nursing homes, day programs, and other care institutions. There is a list of California Ombudsman offices by county online.
Suspecting Elder Abuse in a California Nursing Home? Contact Silva Injury Law Today
Elder abuse is a complex topic to discuss. Our team knows that seeing your loved one suffer from elder abuse is a highly traumatizing situation. One of our nursing home abuse lawyers at Silva Injury Law can help determine if your loved one qualifies to bring a lawsuit so they can recover compensation for their injuries. We pride ourselves on providing our clients with high-quality legal representation and compassionate advocacy. Contact our office today so we can start reviewing your case.
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At Silva Injury Law we promote healing through compassionate advocacy. With each case tailored to the individual, we look our for your best interests by evaluating your unique circumstances. Contact us today for a FREE in person or remote consultation.