When placing an elderly loved one in a nursing home, it is usually with the expectation that they will be well cared for. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Nursing home neglect and abuse are surprisingly common, and the consequences can be devastating. Victims of neglect or abuse may suffer from physical injuries, emotional trauma, and even death.
Identifying Nursing Home Abuse
Abuse in nursing home facilities is a serious problem. Over five million elders are affected every year. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to identify abuse or neglect, as it can take many different forms. However, there are some certain signs to look for. If you notice any sudden changes in your loved one's mood or behavior, it should be a red flag. Other signs include:
- Weight loss
Who Are The Abusers?
One of the most challenging parts of nursing home abuse is identifying the abusers. In many cases, the victims cannot communicate what has happened to them, and the abusers are careful to cover their tracks. As a result, family members and friends may suspect that something is wrong, but they may not be able to identify the abuser.
Nursing Home Staff
Unfortunately, nursing home staff committing abuse is not uncommon. In some cases, staff members may intentionally inflict harm on residents. In other cases, the staff members may be neglectful, fail to provide adequate care or fail to protect residents from harm.
Although many think of nursing home abuse as being committed by staff members, there are many cases where other residents commit it. One reason for this is that residents who are cognitively impaired or have dementia may become aggressive and lash out at others.
Additionally, some residents may deliberately take advantage of other vulnerable residents or have difficulty defending themselves. In some cases, resident-on-resident abuse may also result from a power struggle between two individuals. Regardless of the reason, any type of abuse is completely unacceptable and should be reported immediately.
How to Report Nursing Home Neglect/Abuse
Those who suspect that a nursing home resident is being abused or neglected should report their concerns to the local long-term care ombudsman or North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services. When making a report, it is important to include as much detail as possible, such as the name and address of the nursing home, the name of the alleged abuser, and any witnesses to the abuse.
Once a report has been filed, an investigation will be launched to determine whether abuse or neglect has occurred. If it is determined that abuse or neglect has taken place, the appropriate steps will be taken to protect the victim and hold the abuser accountable.
What is an Ombudsman?
An elder abuse ombudsman is a professional who investigates and resolves complaints made by or on behalf of older adults who have been mistreated, neglected, or exploited. Elder abuse ombudsmen also provide educational outreach to communities about the prevention of elder abuse, and they work to ensure that elders have access to safe and supportive living environments.
In some states, the governor appoints elder abuse ombudsmen; in others, they are employed by state agencies or nonprofit organizations. Regardless of their position, all elder abuse ombudsmen share the goal of protecting the rights and dignity of older adults.
Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys in Charlotte
The personal injury attorneys at Benoit Law Firm, PLLC have extensive experience handling nursing home abuse cases. We understand the devastation that this type of abuse can cause, and we are dedicated to fighting for justice on behalf of our clients. We will fight for the compensation your loved one deserves, and we will make sure that justice is served.
Call us today at (877) 909-4088 or visit us online to schedule a free initial consultation.