Why is Nursing Home Abuse Growing?

Finding out a loved one has suffered nursing home abuse or neglect can be devastating. Making the decision to place an elderly loved one into a nursing home can be difficult enough. This decision becomes even more painful when you find out that the very people you trusted to care for your family member are abusing or neglecting them.

Nursing Home AbuseNot only are you not alone, but there are some things you can. Learning the signs of abuse, and what to do if you suspect someone you care about is being abused, can go a long way to end the abuse and get the victim the care they need and deserve.

The Elderly Population Is Growing

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services Administration of Aging, the 2010 Census recorded the most people age 65 and above in the history of the decennial census. At 13 percent of the population and growing, seniors make up a huge portion of the American population. Furthermore, this trend will continue for decades. By 2050, individuals over age 65 are predicted to make up 20 percent of the United States population.

As the Baby Boomer generation continues to age, the nursing home population will continue to grow. With so many of our most vulnerable citizens receiving care in nursing homes, it is more important than ever to make sure they are protected, safe and receiving the best care possible.

Moreover, medical breakthroughs are helping people to live longer, which means more of the population will need skilled nursing care that is only available in nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, and skilled nursing centers.

Nursing Home Abuse Cases Are Also Growing

Sadly, a large senior population means cases of nursing home abuse and neglect are also on the rise. ABC News reports the elderly are abused at one in three nursing homes in the United States.

Common Forms of Abuse

According to this report, some common forms of abuse include:

  • Poor medical care
  • Preventable accidents
  • Physical assault and abuse (including sexual abuse)
  • Emotional trauma
  • Unsatisfactory sanitation
  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Financial abuse

Common Locations for Abuse

Although many people assume elder abuse always takes place in a nursing home setting, this is not the case. Elder abuse and neglect can happen in a variety of places, including:

  • A hospital
  • Rehabilitation facility
  • Assisted living center
  • Apartment
  • Senior’s home

Furthermore, disabled adults placed in nursing homes are also frequent victims of abuse.

Do You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?

Family members can help put a stop to senior abuse and neglect by learning to identify the signs of abuse and neglect. Frequent signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse include:

  • Unusual bruises and cuts
  • Unexplained broken bones
  • Bedsores
  • Unsanitary conditions
  • Medication errors
  • Unnecessary use of restraints
  • Behavior changes in the nursing home resident, such as nervousness or fear
  • Seems anxious or scared around nursing home staff
  • Elderly person refuses to attend visits with family
  • Depression, anxiety
  • Frequent falls

If your loved one is in a nursing home or other skilled care facility, remember that those in previous generations may be disinclined to talk about physical or emotional discomforts or ailments, as they were often raised to keep these subjects private.

Nevertheless, talk to your older loved one about his or her health, happiness, and medical care. Visit often and make unannounced visits so you can assess the type of care your loved one is receiving.

Contact a Lawyer If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

If you think your older loved one or disabled family member has been the victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home or at the hands of a caregiver, it is important to contact a nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible. The law limits the amount of time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit for any injuries or other damages your loved one has suffered.

Your lawyer can help you gather evidence and conduct an investigation of your loved one’s case to ensure you and your family receive the maximum compensation available in your case.

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