Over 1.5 million people currently live in nursing homes in the United States. Nursing homes are used to assist in the care of elderly and disabled people and provide them with a safe and healthy environment. There are many State and Federal laws that protect occupants of nursing homes from abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, accusations of abuse and neglect in nursing homes and assisted living homes are becoming more and more common. If you suspect that a loved one has suffered from abuse or neglect and need answers to questions about nursing home abuse, please contact a New York lawyer at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP at (212) 986-7353 and tell us about your concerns.
Although nursing home abuse can take many forms, in general it refers to any action by the staff of a nursing home that mistreats a resident. There are different types of abuse that can occur, but all of them are inexcusable violations of the trust we place in nursing homes when we place our loved ones in their care. Keep in mind that these are also criminal violations, so criminal charges can be filed against abusive nursing home workers, as well as civil suits against those responsible.
Also called financial or material exploitation, financial abuse typically involves a trusted person (like a caregiver or family member) illegally taking or using the funds of a senior citizen. This can include a nursing home worker cashing a resident's check without permission, forging a resident's signature, or stealing money or other property from the resident. Advances in technology have made such abuse not only easier, but also more common.
Detecting financial abuse can be difficult since it does not leave any physical marks, and may be completely unnoticed by the elderly resident. It is important for family members to keep track of a nursing home resident's bank accounts, social security or pension payments, and other financial goods.
While it may be a subject most of us would rather not think about, sexual abuse in nursing homes does occur. Elder sexual abuse refers to any kind of sexual contact or conduct against a person over the age of 60 without his or her consent. That includes seniors who cannot communicate or are otherwise unable to give consent or disapproval. Due to the perceived stigma associated with this type of abuse, it is uncommon for victims to come forward and can be difficult to prove.
Sexual abuse can result in changes in attitude and personality, but these can also occur due to aging or other natural psychological changes. This fact makes it very hard to determine the reason for new behavior. While you do not want to make false accusations, you still want to protect your loved ones. Look for additional warning signs like bruises that cannot be explained and signs of intense fear or anxiety, including sudden weight loss, lack of eye contact, and panic attacks.
Emotional and Psychological Abuse
Emotional and psychological abuse may actually be the most common forms of abuse in nursing homes, but they are also the most difficult to detect. They include verbal abuse, such as humiliation and ridicule; isolating a resident from others; demeaning behavior toward a resident; and intimidating or terrorizing the elderly resident.
While emotional abuse does not leave physical marks, there are still some signs to watch for while visiting a loved one in a nursing home. Severe changes in behavior like avoiding eye contact, a noticeable loss of self esteem, and sudden mood swings can indicate emotional abuse. Additional warning signs include lack of communication, sudden changes in sleeping or eating patterns, and a resident’s sense of hopelessness. If you are told you cannot visit with your loved one, or learn that he or she is being denied time with other residents and friends, these may also be indications of psychological abuse.
Some examples of nursing home neglect are:
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Lack of protection from other persons in the nursing home
- Lack of food or water
- Overdose of medication
- Lack of proper medical treatment
- Lack of proper overall care
Many abuse or neglect victims are too frightened or weak to speak out against their abusers. Victims of nursing home negligence can count on the outstanding legal representation of Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP.
Our nursing home abuse attorneys are experienced in the areas of medical malpractice, nursing home abuse and neglect, and nursing home laws. We represent the victims of abuse, neglect, medical malpractice, and all other serious injuries.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact the New York injury attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP. Do not wait another moment; call us right now at (212) 986-7353. Tell us about your suspicions so we can discuss your options and make sure your loved ones are protected and cared for properly.
After consulting with a medical expert, it was determined that the nursing home's administration of Ambien was negligent because it created an unacceptably high risk of falls in a post-traumatic brain injury patient.