Nursing Home Neglect – a National Epidemic

There are times when your elderly loved one is living in a nursing home or even in an extended living facility. But you would always be concerned that the person may become a victim of abuse or neglect. In fact, nursing home abuse has become an American epidemic that is affecting nursing homes in all the States, including Greenville, SC. The same malady afflicts even the most expensive facilities.

In fact, we are still not aware of the full size of this problem as it is being grossly underreported today. The main reason behind this can be that elder abuse is being missed as we are not aware of how to detect abuse.

Even the elderly are reluctant to report abuse as they are afraid of some form of retaliation. Else they may be suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. Or else they may be lacking the cognitive ability of making a report. This is why very few cases of elder abuse are brought towards the attention of authorities.

It is the older people with dementia who are at the highest risk of becoming a victim of elder abuse. Most of these are mistreated by those who have been entrusted to care for them. As the elderly population having dementia increases, so will this abuse towards them.

Elder Abuse Enhances The Risk Of Death

Do note that the elderly are highly vulnerable in all aspects including physical, emotional as well as financial. This is why when elderly adults are victims of abuse, no matter how mild it is, their risk of death becomes much higher as compared to for those who are not being abused.

Additionally, those who are victims of nursing home abuse tend to experience more health problems as compared to other adults. These would include depression, anxiety, besides high blood pressure, heart problems, as well as digestive issues, along with bone and joint problems.

This is why if you suspect that your loved one appears to be a victim of nursing home abuse, then contact a Greenville, SC personal injury attorney immediately.

Do note that these are not rare instances. There are a number of issues in nursing home facilities that include understaffing, uncompassionate care, in addition to indifference leading to shocking cases of neglect.

The government agencies that are charged with overseeing all these facilities have to do a better and a more thorough job in order to spare our elders from various kinds of unspeakable harm.

Know The Signs Of Neglect 

The senior care facilities need to comply with higher standards. Till that happens, families who are having a loved one in a nursing home must always be aware of signs of neglect or abuse there and be able to report it immediately to a Nursing Home(Neglect/Abuse) attorney. The common warning signs of nursing home abuse are given here.

  • There may be unusual bruises or some welts on skin. This can be due to the person being physically harmed.
  • Bedsores are a clear indication of the elderly not being taken good care of.
  • Open wounds or infections are a serious issue. It is important to understand the cause behind them. Infections are going to affect other members of the facility too.
  • Poor personal hygiene will become evident by the diapers not getting changed often. This can lead to foul smell besides infection in the private parts.
  • Frequent falls are a clear indication that proper care is not being taken to place a person properly in the bed or chair. Next, the person may need to go somewhere and no one is paying attention to that.
  • Any kind of usage of physical restraints must be questioned. After all, this is physically as well as emotionally trying for the elderly. If possible, it must be done away with completely. It is important to understand the reason behind its usage, such as the elderly harming himself, others, and so on.
  • Any form of sudden emotional withdrawal should raise concerns. Find out if there are medical reasons behind it or the elderly has been a victim of abuse. Other causes can be fear of someone at the facility. Also check if the medication has been changed or the person is facing some other kind of problem.
  • Sudden weight loss can be due to a number of reasons. This can be due to a loss of appetite, fear of bullying, unhappiness, or a change in medication. Hence the cause must be found out.
  • Sudden decline in health can be due to failing health, poor hygiene, bad food, improper care, emotional disturbance and so on.
  • Unusual behavior of the elderly, like rocking or sucking can be another indication that the person is going through some form of emotional disturbance. It is important to know the reason behind it.
  • Staff discouraging impromptu visits may be due to a reason like being caught. They can be prepared if they are informed well in advance. But in case of visitors dropping in unannounced, there is a high risk of being caught and hence such visits are not appreciated.
  • Missing personal items can mean theft or someone even taking them away forcibly. These can then be sold off to earn extra money. In case this is happening on a regular basis, it can be a cause of concern as it is a form of financial loss, discomfort as well as incites feeling of fear and neglect in the elderly.

Hence it is generally believed that a large number of elderly suffer from some form of neglect by their caregivers. But very few of these cases ever get reported to authorities. This abuse can be physical, emotional or even financial in nature. Do note that elder abuse is a crime. It has to be reported and stopped at all costs. This is why it is important to contact nursing home neglect lawyers if you believe that your loved ones are not receiving proper care. We deal with cases like this everyday and would love to sit down with you and see what we can do to help your loved one get the justice that they deserve. Call our experienced Greenville, SC nursing home neglect legal team at the Dan Pruitt Law Firm today at 864-280-7660! Or you can use our convenient online contact form.