Moving a loved one into a nursing home is a heart-wrenching decision. In an ideal world, we would keep them safe at home, but too often that isn’t possible. When admitting your loved one to such a facility you expect them to receive proper care and support. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Just this week, Sodus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Sodus, NY was in the news because, during the last four years, it has been cited 67 times for standard health violations, compared to the statewide average of 20. It has also been cited 23 times for life safety violations, compared to the average of 13. In total, Sodus was cited with 90 violations versus the state average of 33 at other nursing homes.
This is not an isolated incident. According to the Department of Health, over 40,000 claims of elder abuse were investigated last year by the agency. According to the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA), the maltreatment and abuse of the elderly is a significant problem among the elderly population in America. ALFA research indicates that those at greatest risk of physical abuse are women, 80-years-old, and over.
Nursing Home Stress Will Increase
Nursing home abuse and neglect is a widespread problem that is just as prevalent as child abuse but is less talked about. Things may only get worse. With an aging population, the stresses on nursing homes will increase. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2050, the population aged 65 and over is expected to be 83.7 million.
Physical abuse of the elderly involves the application of physical violence or force that results in physical impairment, physical pain, injury or bodily harm to the individual. Some forms of elderly physical abuse may involve assault, battery, hitting, punching, shoving, or using restraints inappropriately to keep the individual from moving.
Warning signs include bruises, fractures, wounds or broken eyeglasses. In addition to these physical signs, be aware of the less obvious indications like your loved one’s refusal to see another person alone; hesitation to accept a visitor; or a strained relationship with nursing home caregivers. Also, be on the lookout for withdrawal from usual activities or social events that your elderly loved one usually would enjoy.
It is important to visit frequently and look for these signs as only about one in every six elders will report such abuse. This means that statistics on mistreatment is skewed and that caregivers who abuse elders can continue to engage in such behavior. The elder’s physical condition should be monitored carefully to ensure there is no abuse. Also, ask them directly how they are being treated when you are not there. In addition, pay close attention to any medications the elder is taking.
Reporting Elder Abuse
ALFA, as well as the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state that elder abuse is an invisible issue due to the failure of the elder to report abuse as it arises. Some have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia that make it difficult to self-report incidences of abuse. It is therefore important for family members and friends to report any and all incidences of abuse.
If you or someone you love is experiencing elder abuse or mistreatment, contact our winning legal team today for a FREE case evaluation. Siler & Ingber has been fighting for its clients for more than 20 years. Contact us at 1-877-LAW-4343. No Fee Unless We Win!