Nursing Home Abuse: How To Recognize the Signs
Approximately 1.5 million people occupy beds in U.S. nursing homes. The vast majority of these nursing home residents are elderly, and their numbers are expected to grow as more and more baby boomers reach an age where 24-hour care becomes necessary.
Too often, nursing homes are understaffed and residents are under-served. This leads to far too many cases of elder abuse and neglect, resulting in injury of the nursing home resident, or even their death.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse in Colorado, you should immediately contact state authorities to report the abuse. A Colorado Springs personal injury attorney is also a good resource to understand where to turn to in nursing home and elder abuse situations.
Elder Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes
Elder abuse is an intentional act, or failure to act, by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older -- defined as someone aged 60 or beyond -- adult.
Federal nursing home laws and regulations define abuse as the intentional infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, care or service deprivation or punishment that results in physical harm, pain or mental anguish.
Elder abuse can include:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional or psychological abuse
- Financial abuse or exploitation
Nursing home neglect is also a form of nursing home abuse.
Generally speaking, neglect is the failure, whether intentional or not, to provide a person with the care and services necessary to ensure his or her freedom from harm or pain. Neglect can also result from a failure to react to a potentially harmful or dangerous situation that results in resident harm or distress.
Examples of neglect are the:
- Failure to meet needs for essential medical care
- Failure to provide essential nutrition and hydration
- Failure to provide adequate hygiene
- Failure to provide adequate clothing
- Withholding of basic activities of daily living or shelter, which results in a serious risk of compromised health and safety.
Red Flags of Abuse
The nursing home patient is not always able to report abuse and neglect. He or she may have cognitive or physical impairments, or they may just not be believed. But the victims of abuse often show physical and emotional signs of neglect and abuse, including:
- Broken bones
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Bruises or lacerations
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Emotional illness such as depression or insomnia
- Complications from over-medication
A nursing home abuse victim is likely to die within three years of the beginning of the abuse.
How a Colorado Springs Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Failures in the care of the elderly will only increase as the U.S. population ages. Abuse and neglect must be addressed as soon as any issues are suspected. The Colorado Springs personal injury attorneys at Levine Law offer a no-obligation free consultation for anyone who suspects that they or a family member has been the victim of nursing home abuse. Call us at 719-471-3000 or contact us online today.