Loved ones often face the heartbreaking decision to move into a nursing home or other long-term care facility, and while many homes do a good job of caring for the elderly or disabled, others do not. Nursing home abuse and neglect occurs on an unbelievable scale in our country today. Hardly a day goes by when details of elderly abuse—including physical, emotional, sexual and financial—comes out in the news. As your loved one’s advocate, if you suspect or know that your parent, aunt, uncle or child has been abused at the hands of those tasked with providing compassionate care for them, you need to report the abuse to the authorities right away. Your next step should be contact Russell and Hill to discuss your loved one’s case with a competent and caring legal professional to determine the best course of action and weigh your legal options.
Nursing home abuse can stem from an array of different scenarios that unfold in our nation’s nursing homes. Some common cases of nursing home abuse involve:
Nursing home abuse can be hard to prove, even when families are diligent in checking in on their loved ones and establishing rapport with staff. This is usually because when people get older, they tend to experience a decline in their mental faculties, so it is harder for them to know they are being abused or to communicate with loved ones about the abuse. Nursing homes are notoriously understaffed and may be intentionally underfunded in hopes of elevating profits for their corporate or other owners. Signs of nursing home abuse may include signs of injury, such as restraint marks, bruising, fractures, and welts; unusual loss of weight; wearing clothing that is not suitable to the season; withdrawal from society; and unexplained falling.
Statistics on nursing home abuse are shocking to say the least. Although only around 10 percent of nursing homes ever face state sanctions for abuse or neglect, up to 93 percent of residents in nursing homes surveyed say that they have either witnessed or been the target of abuse. Underreporting of nursing home abuse is common. In Washington State in 2016 alone, Adult Protective Services received around 42,000 reports of nursing home abuse and neglect. Of those, around 28,000 were deemed to warrant investigation. Thousands of others went unreported. Startlingly, these figures represent nearly a twofold increase from reported cases in 2008, indicating that this type of abuse is on the rise.
The elderly and disabled are the most vulnerable people in our society. When caregivers step out of line and abuse ensues, or when they fail to provide the standard level of care required, they can be held accountable for their shortcomings, and in some instances, they can find them charged both criminally and civilly. Contact our Bremerton nursing home abuse/neglect attorney now to schedule your confidential, no-cost case consultation today.