As an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer, Michael A. Shammas is dedicated to providing your family with the highest level of care when handling your loved one’s case. Placing family in a long-term care facility requires a high level of trust in the integrity of the institution and its employees. When that trust is violated, elderly patients become victims of abuse and neglect. While abuse and neglect are serious acts of violence toward any demographic, older adults who are abused or neglected are especially vulnerable to life-threatening injuries or illnesses. When your loved one is hurt, pursuing a claim can help to recover compensation for medical costs, pain and suffering, or wrongful death. Additionally, filing a claim helps hold negligent facilities and caregivers accountable for their actions and prevents similar incidents from occurring to other residents in the future.
If you suspect a loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, call Michael A. Shammas at 312-971-5959 for a consultation.
Elder Abuse Is More Common Than is Reported
Though it is estimated that 1 in 10 older adults are abused, the New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study found that only 1 in 25 cases are reported. Another study found that at least 24.3% experienced physical abuse while in the care of a nursing home facility. The prevalence of abuse in nursing homes is suspected to be much higher, however, since many elderly patients are unable or unwilling to make reports.
Who Is Most at Risk?
Though all older adults may face the risk of abuse, some demographics show a higher likelihood than others. Women are more likely to be abused. It is reported that 66% of victims of elderly abuse are women. Patients with mental impairments face increased risk as well. It is found that 50% of dementia victims are neglected or abused. Patients who face social isolation from family, or have a lower socioeconomic status, are also at an increased risk of becoming abuse victims. Finally, older adults with previous exposure to abuse are more likely to face abuse again in their lifetime.
Elderly populations face abuse at the hands of a variety of demographics. Over 50% of nursing home staff members were found to have admitted to some form of abuse. Residents in nursing homes may also face abuse at the hands of other patients. Close family members and dependents of older adults are also typically found to be abusers, particularly those who suffer from substance abuse disorders or mental illnesses.
Types of Elder Abuse & Neglect and The Warning Signs
Abuse and neglect can take many forms, and the warning signs are not always obvious. The most common signs of abuse or neglect are the following:
- Pressure sores or open wounds
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Changes in emotional behavior
- Sudden weight loss
- Poor hygiene
- Irritable behavior
Elderly patients are also at risk of becoming financially abused by loved ones or close staff members. This abuse can take the form of identity theft, theft of cash or personal belongings, and the draining of personal assets.
A loved one may display symptoms of abuse. In many cases, the signs that something may be wrong are obvious. Unexplainable bruises, cuts, or excessive injuries are good examples of more noticeable signs of abuse. A red flag in these cases is an unwillingness to receive medical treatment. For victims of sexual abuse, signs may manifest as unexplained bleeding and bruising in private areas, contracting STDs, and torn or bloody clothing. An abuse victim may also start exhibiting signs of depression, such as poor personal hygiene or a lack of desire to participate in previously joyful activities. Withdrawing, displaying signs of trauma, significant weight loss, or an absence of personal medical equipment may also be signs of abuse or neglect. In many cases, abuse within the care facility leads to a preventable injury or death.