The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has claimed in its recently published report that over 50,000 adults aged more than 60 are neglected or abused each year. With many cases of neglect and abuse being unreported, the figure is a slice of the real-life scenario. Elder abuses take place in nursing homes and other healthcare facilities. In this blog, we will discuss about identifying elder abuses and neglects in the care facility setting and how these people can fight back legally.
Elder Abuse – Definition & Types
The Administration on Aging is integral to the Department of Health and Human Services. According to them, elder abuse is defined as any knowing, negligent or intentional act by any individual if it harmed the vulnerable adult or caused a serious risk of harm to the person.
The CDC has identified six kinds of maltreatment affecting the adults aged more than 60. Here are those:
- Physical Abuse
- Emotional Abuse
- Financial Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
Pushing, hitting, slapping etc exemplify physical abuse. The wrong use of medicinal or physical restraints is categorized as physical abuse.
It is difficult to define ‘Elder Neglect’ due to existence of different forms of neglect. Furthermore, the facts vary between different situations. One point needs to be put here that neglect is not similar to negligence.
Usually, neglect refers to the caregiver’s failure. The caregiver may be a family member or trained staff and the person’s duty is to meet the obligations in relation with the elder person’s care.
Due to wide-ranging needs of the elderly persons, neglect is not limited to any particular type. In a word, it defines any denial related to needs of food, clothing, shelter, medical care and hygiene.
Signs of Elder Neglect & Abuse
Each situation is unique but followings are some important elements to consider:
- Physical Abuse: Bruises, burns, broken bones or other types of injuries beyond explanation
- Emotional Abuse: Fearful demeanor, unexplained mood swing, anxiety, refusal to meet relatives or close friends, fear of talking freely, withdrawal from life support system, unwillingness to interact with care givers or family members
- Financial Abuse: Unexplained exhaustion of assets, unexplained and sudden change in living standard, unexplained financial transaction, inconsistency between the person’s assets and standard of living, missing items from personal assets
- Sexual Abuse: Anal or genital pain, bleeding or injury in private parts, sexually transmitted diseases
- Abandonment: Unhygienic living condition, soiled clothing or bedding, lack of proper medical treatment and care
- Neglect: Lack of basic needs including food, shelter, clothing, hygiene, unattended medical needs, malnourishment
- Self-Neglect: Refusal of care by the elder person and the symptoms can be any or many of the above-stated symptoms
Legal Liability for Nursing Home Neglect & Abuse
If any neglect or abuse takes place in the nursing home premise, the institution can be held responsible for having a role in harming a patient or resident. The facility may fail to fulfill its obligation in any of the following areas:
- Negligence in Hiring
- Lack of Training
- Medication Errors
- Breach of Regulatory or Statutory Obligations
If you ever suspect that an elderly person in your family has suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home facility, immediately contact a nursing home abuse lawyer in Cleveland to discuss the details of your case.