It seems unthinkable, but it happens more often than you’d guess. Imagine your mother, your father, a grandparent, an aunt, living in a nursing home and suffering neglect, or abuse, at the hands of staff that are charged (and paid) with providing care for them in the waning years of their lives. Perhaps your loved one suffers from dementia, is incommunicative, or is in and out of lucidity.
This isn’t just the stuff of 60 Minutes exposés.
- 1 in 10 Americans will live in a nursing home or adult care facility
- 1 out of 3 U.S. nursing homes have been cited for abuse or related issues
- 50% of patients with dementia have suffered mistreatment by caregivers
- 50% of nursing home patients suffer from untreated pain
- 25% of staff prosecuted for abuse have prior criminal records
- 90% of U.S. nursing homes are too understaffed to provide adequate care
Types of Abuse and Neglect
In rare cases physical, even sexual, abuse occurs. Far more common is emotional abuse, where staff members shout, threaten, ridicule, belittle, or blame patients for things they didn’t do. More subtle but no less damaging is neglect, where a patient’s needs are ignored or she is subject to extended periods of isolation. Neglect may be of the patient’s personal hygiene, basic needs like food and water, or in extreme cases medical care.
Emotional problems from neglect may start with withdrawal from activities or depression, but they can lead to physical problems too that can become life threatening.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
Obvious signs include:
- unusual bruising or bleeding
- open wounds, bed sores or cuts
- burns and abrasions
- sudden and unexplained change in weight
- soiling, poor hygiene, smell of urine
- loss of hair
- torn, stained, or bloody clothing or bedding
Less obvious signs include:
- listlessness or unresponsiveness
- childish or other strange behaviors
- physical or emotional withdrawal
- disappearance of personal items
- sudden and unusual financial transactions
Protect Your Loved One—Call Hotz and Associates
If you suspect your loved one has been a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, you can contact Knoxville attorneys Hotz and Associates for a free consultation. You can email, chat with us online, or give us a call at 865-637-9000.