Elder Neglect and Abuse Is Systemic, and Too Often Unreported
Elder and nursing home abuse is a systemic national problem. Nationwide
1 in 3 facilities have committed elder neglect or abuse. Nearly half of elderly residents in nursing facilities experience a serious
fall each year (ten percent resulting in death or debilitating injury).
Ninety-five percent of long-term care residents identify themselves as
either victims or witnesses to neglect or abuse.
- A 2001 U.S. House of Representative Report found 1 out of every 3 U.S.
nursing homes had been cited for violating federal standards that caused
harm or had the potential to cause actual harm to an elder resident.
- The Center of Disease Control and Prevention estimates approximately 1,800
patients die each year as result of nursing home falls.
- 250,000 senior nursing home residents are reported to suffer from bedsores
- The World Health Organization has declared "Elder Abuse a violation
of basic human rights," citing it as a significant cause of injury,
illness, loss of productivity, despair, and isolation.
The reality is elderly facilities are usually run by large corporations
concerned more with money, and government compensation rates, than the
care they provide. The facilities neglect dim lighting, slippery wet floors,
misbalanced beds, and faulty mobility devices. Elder facilities are often
reported to be understaffed, hiring new staff without proper screening
or training, and without adequate supervision. As a result these facilities
are providing poor care that endangers senior resident’s health
and well-being in their golden years.
One of the most devastating crimes is the sexual abuse of an elder victim
who cannot defend himself or herself. Sexually abusing an elder is unthinkable
to most people, but during our years of experience we have come across
a large number of disturbing incidents where a person familiar with the
victim commits a heinous act of sexual abuse at a skilled nursing facility
or as an in-home care provider.
Too often vulnerable seniors are effectively voiceless, and the most egregious
cases go unreported. Elder care residents find themselves trapped and
unable to communicate incidents of abuse, and loved ones are usually not
familiar with the recognizable signs of abuse or neglect. When you begin
to factor in how many cases are going unreported every year, the elder
abuse statistics in this country are particularly frightening.
Call the Spokane elder and nursing home abuse lawyers at Sweetser Law Office for the representation your loved ones need.
How to Identify Elder Care or Nursing Home Abuse
Elders in hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities or those
under in-home care can suffer many different kinds of abuse or neglect.
However, certain recognizable signs and injuries can indicate a repeated
pattern or failure to provide the basic care required, including:
- Poor hygiene or worn clothing
- Complaints of poor living conditions
- Malnutrition, dehydration, or infection
- Deteriorating health
- Bedsores, pressure sores, or burns
- Failing to provide medical care
- Falls, fractures, broken or dislocated bones
- Bruising or rashes
- Unexplained behavioral changes or loss of appetite
- Sudden depression or urge to be isolated
- Blank stares, rocking, biting, sucking or prolonged confusion
- Pain, itching, or bleeding in genital areas
- Physical discomfort walking or sitting
- Overmedication or sedation
- Missing property or finances
Families with elderly loved ones are often told to have low expectations
regarding the condition or care of their elder’s health. “We
cannot force dad to eat,” they are told, “falls are bound
to happen,” and “pneumonia is very common.” In far too
many cases, poor care is contributing to an elderly loved one’s
condition or death.
All facilities caring for elders or vulnerable populations are required
to report abuse, senior neglect, nursing home negligence, and wrongful
death claims. Additionally, all states have both local and federal agencies
available to investigate incidents of elder or nursing home abuse. Visit the
National Center of Elder Abuse for more valuable information, including state resources and regional
free case evaluation from our compassionate personal injury firm - serving Spokane since 1984.