Protect Your Loved Ones with a Waldorf Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
When our loved ones are old enough that they are no longer able to care for themselves, many choose to admit them to a nursing facility. While this is a difficult decision to make, it is often comforting to know that nursing facilities are run by professional healthcare workers who are far more capable of caring for our loved ones’ daily needs than we are. And, in most cases, nursing home patients receive the care they need without incident. However, nursing home abuse is a serious and growing problem, especially as more Americans than ever are entering nursing homes. If you are considering entrusting a loved one’s care to professionals in a skilled nursing facility, you should know what nursing home abuse is and how to prevent it. Contact a skilled Waldorf nursing home abuse lawyer today to discuss your legal options.
What Cases Will a Waldorf Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Take?
Nursing home abuse encompasses a wide range of behaviors that all have one thing in common: they all adversely affect the patient’s physical, emotional, or financial wellbeing. The most common types of nursing home abuse include:
- Physical abuse: Physical abuse is abuse that causes physical harm to the patient. This can include pushing, hitting, pinching, biting, burning, or cutting. It can also include medical abuse, such as sedating the patient through the unauthorized use of drugs, restraining the patient by physical means, or over- or under-medicating the patient. Because nursing home patients are already in physically weakened states, physical nursing home abuse can lead to a rapid deterioration in their health.
- Sexual abuse: Although sexual abuse is a form of physical abuse, it is often considered serious enough to warrant its own category. Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual contact perpetrated by force, threats, or otherwise without the victim’s consent. It often occurs in nursing home settings with patients who suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s, or any other condition that impairs their ability to understand what is happening to them.
- Emotional abuse: Emotional abuse is any behavior that is intended to frighten or humiliate the victim, including scaring, teasing, ridiculing, shaming, or berating them. It often occurs in understaffed nursing homes whose employee suffer high rates of work-related stress. This type of abuse can result in the victim becoming reserved and withdrawn, which can significantly reduce their quality of life.
- Financial abuse: Financial abuse occurs when nursing home staff take advantage of a patient’s finances in a way that causes financial harm to the patient. It often involves simple theft of the patient’s money or personal items, but can also involve more complex behaviors like identity theft and securities fraud. With almost unlimited access to their patients’ persons and living quarters, it is easy for unscrupulous nursing home staff to steal.
For more specific information about behaviors that constitute nursing home abuse, please contact a Waldorf nursing home abuse lawyer.
How Common is Nursing Home Abuse?
It’s hard to imagine how anyone could intentionally harm a vulnerable elderly individual, but, unfortunately, nursing home abuse is disturbingly common. While it is difficult to pin down exact numbers, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found in a recent survey that 33% of seniors in skilled nursing facilities experienced adverse or temporary harm events. It also found that 85% of skilled nursing facilities in the U.S. reported at least one allegation of abuse or neglect. These numbers could likely be higher, as it is widely suspected that most incidences of nursing home abuse go unreported.
The National Center on Elder Abuse has found that certain factors can increase a nursing home patient’s risk of becoming a victim of abuse, including:
- Low social support
- Experience of previous traumatic events
- Functional impairment or poor physical health
- Lower-income and poverty
- Non-use of social services
- Being single
- Being of younger age
- Being female
- Being African-American
If your loved one displays any of these risk factors, you should take extra care to monitor him or her for signs of nursing home abuse. If you find evidence of abuse, do not hesitate to contact our Waldorf nursing home abuse lawyer for legal assistance.
How to Prevent Nursing Home Abuse in Maryland
The best defense against nursing home abuse starts with prevention. Although it is impossible to monitor a family member in a nursing home 24 hours a day, you should nonetheless remain vigilant in looking out for their welfare. This starts with knowing the signs of nursing home abuse. Some of the most common include:
- Weight loss
- Unexplained cuts, bruises, or bedsores
- Changes in mood or temperament
- Unsanitary hygiene
- Unclean living conditions
- Unusual financial activity
Even if your loved one does not display any of these warning signs of nursing home abuse, that does not mean that nursing home abuse is not occurring. As healthcare professionals, nursing home abusers are often skilled in covering their tracks or supplying ostensibly valid explanations for illness or injuries. You should thus do everything in your power to prevent it from occurring. A few steps you can take to prevent nursing home abuse or minimize its chances of occurring include:
- Thoroughly researching every facility you tour and check to see if they have a history of citations
- Choosing a nursing home near to where you live and visiting often
- Monitoring the patient’s finances
- Encouraging the patient to engage in social activities at the facility
- Making sure that the patient maintains social connections with family and friends outside the facility
- Ensuring that the patient remains as physically active as possible
- Ensuring that the patient remains mentally stimulated
Contact a Waldorf Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Even the best-prepared and most vigilant families can miss nursing home abuse when it occurs. If you suspect that your loved one is suffering abuse in a nursing facility, whether the abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, or financial, you should act swiftly to put a stop to it and avoid any negative physical, emotional, or financial ramifications. For more information about nursing home negligence and abuse, please contact a Waldorf nursing home abuse lawyer at the Law Offices of Thomas E. Pyles by using our online contact form or by calling 301-705-5006. Our three main office locations are in Waldorf, Laurel and Leonardtown.