Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse and neglect occur because staff are poorly qualified, inadequately trained or stretched thin, creating added stress on the workers who are present. Neglect and abuse occur because residents are dependent on their caregivers and may be reluctant or fearful of reporting the mistreatment. In some cases, nursing homes do a poor job of screening job applicants and hire a nursing home worker with a history of violence or sexual misconduct.
The types of abuse that can occur at nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other elder care facilities include:
Physical abuse includes hitting, kicking, slapping, choking, pinching, or any form of corporal punishment of a nursing home resident. Nursing homes are responsible for residents’ physical safety. Staff who are not adequately trained to handle difficult patients or patients with Alzheimer’s may become angry and lash out at patients or be physically abusive. Unexplained cuts, lacerations, bruises, burns, or broken bones may be signs of physical abuse by a staff member.
Elderly nursing home residents, many of whom have dementia or Alzheimer’s, maybe sexually assaulted by other residents or by caretakers who violate their positions of trust. Nursing homes have a duty to protect residents from sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual coercion and to screen employees who have a history of sexual misconduct. Residents who are victims of sexual abuse may be ashamed and reluctant to report the abuse. Unfortunately, long-term facilities often disregard or fail to investigate complaints of sexual abuse until a perpetrator has victimized multiple residents.
Neglect involves the failure of a caregiver to provide services including medical services to a long-term care resident. Common issues associated with nursing home neglect include untreated bedsores, malnutrition, dehydration, inadequate sanitation, soiled bed linens, lack of medical care, and injuries caused by preventable accidents.
A common type of psychological abuse involves verbal attacks, taunting, intimidation, humiliating acts that cause distress or anguish, seclusion, and threats of punishment of a nursing home resident. A resident who is being verbally abused or harassed may be fearful of reporting the abuse.
Some nursing home residents may need or want help handling their finances. But a family member or nursing home may not take control of a senior’s money without their express permission. Financial exploitation involves a caretaker’s illegal use of a nursing home resident’s bank accounts or property for personal gain. In situations where the nursing home or a family member is authorized to oversee a senior’s finances, the nursing home resident still has a right to decide how his or her money will be managed and to receive a full financial accounting. Unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts, transfer of property or changes to a will may be warning signs of financial exploitation. If you suspect your loved one is being exploited financially, seek the guidance of a knowledgeable Houston nursing home abuse lawyer.
Any complaint by a nursing home resident of physical, psychological or sexual abuse should be taken seriously.
If your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse in Texas, it is important to know your rights and how to hold the nursing home facility accountable. It may be possible to recover compensation for your loved one’s medical bills and other expenses related to the abuse or neglect. For more information regarding your legal options, please contact a nursing home abuse lawyer at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. We are committed to helping families protect those members who can no longer protect themselves.