A nursing home is traditionally defined as a private institution that provides health care and residential accommodations for those who suffer from chronic health conditions. While individuals of any age may seek care in a nursing home, the elderly are most likely to reside in these facilities. Most nursing homes in the United States are top-notch facilities, designed to provide a caring and supportive environment for both patients and family members. However, despite the best efforts of most health care providers, nursing home abuse can—and does—occur on a frequent basis. Understanding the types of nursing home abuse, the prevalence at which it occurs, and ways in which it can be managed is all important for those who want to ensure a safe environment for the loved ones in our lives.
Without a doubt, abuse can take a number of forms. While many people consider abuse to be physical in nature, emotional, sexual, and mental abuse can also take place. Limited mobility, low activity level, and loss of cognition or sensory functions may make nursing home residents easy victims from the viewpoint of the perpetrator. Individuals who hope to prevent or stop nursing home abuse should therefore be on the lookout not only for bruises, cuts, and other signs of irritation—but also changes in mood, personality, and behavior. Identifying these symptoms when they occur is essential to reversing the damaging effects of nursing home abuse.
Is nursing home abuse really as prevalent as some health care experts would lead the public to believe? According to one report by aides to Henry Waxman, a Representative in the state of California, more than 25% of nursing homes in the United States have received citations for abuse towards patients. With 1.5 million people living in United States nursing homes at the time at which this article was completed, it should come as no surprise that rates of abuse are staggeringly high. As the average age of citizens continues to rise, more and more individuals are likely to end up in a nursing home, where they may be the victim of a dangerous abuser.
When faced with these staggering statistics, nursing home abuse may seem inevitable—but with some care and hard work, it doesn’t necessarily have to. Individuals who believe that they have seen or been the victim of nursing home abuse are encouraged to contact the National Center on Elder Abuse, a group that works to prevent the mistreatment of elders in the community. In addition, visiting friends, family members, or other loved ones who reside in a nursing home on a frequent basis and at different times of the day can be an effective way to monitor the care and compassion of the facility. Consulting with facility nurses, aids, and consultant physicians may also be necessary from time to time to discuss the care received by patients. While this process may seem time consuming and invasive, it is essential not only for one’s family member, but all the patients of the nursing home in question.
If you feel a loved one or someone you know has been a victim of Nursing Home Abuse it is important that you contact a law firm who specializes in those cases. Belt Law Firm can provide that specialized care.