Escondido Elder Abuse Attorney
As the American population age and baby boomers join the ranks of the elderly, ever increasing numbers of old, ill, and vulnerable people are finding themselves dependant on others for the basic needs of life, and growing numbers of people who can no longer care for themselves are being subjected to neglect and abuse by those they depend on: a spouse; adult children; in-home caregivers, and more than ever before, nursing homes.
Elderly abuse can happen anywhere, but nursing home abuse has been a particular problem as more and more elderly are placed people in the hands of strangers. One in every six Americans over 65 will spend time in a nursing home.
Forms of Abuse
Abuse can take many forms:
- Physical abuse, such as slapping, pinching, bruising, restraining, or over medicating
- Sexual abuse, including unwanted touching, sexual penetration, unwanted exposure to pornography or sexually explicit language
- Emotional abuse, such as insulting, humiliating, threatening, or intimidating
- Neglect, including untreated bedsores, poor hygiene, inadequate nutrition or hydration, etc.
- Unsafe conditions and lack of supervision, leading to wandering and falls
- Financial abuse, for example tricking an older person into signing a will, loan application, credit document, or blank check; using the elderly person’s credit or debit card to gain access to funds; investment fraud, theft of money or possessions
Effects of Abuse
An elderly person who has been abused is at risk for a plethora of mental and physical problems, including anxiety, depression, diminished self-efficacy, chronic pain, joint problems, digestive problems, hypertension, and a 300 percent higher risk of death.
Incidence of Abuse in Nursing Homes
- Thirty-six of percent of nursing homes have violated elderly abuse laws
- According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), 91 percent of nursing homes have insufficient staff to adequately care for patients
- The Elder Maltreatment Alliance found that the incidence of abuse is two to three among seniors 80 years and older.
- In a recent study of people working as caregivers in nursing homes, more than half of those surveyed stated that they had mistreated elderly patients within the previous year, by neglect or by emotional or physical abuse
- The reported number of elder abuse cases is believed to be a small fraction of the actual total. One study found that as few as one in every twenty-four cases is ever reported.
How to Spot Elderly Abuse in Nursing Homes
Visiting your elderly family member often and unannounced is the best way to detect signs of abuse. Red flags that should clue you to take a closer look are extreme tension between a caregiver and the patient and behavioral and personality changes. This is a partial list of some things to look for to determine if your suspicions are valid:
- Unexplained bruises, welts, or scars, ligature marks
- Fractures, dislocation, or sprains
- Lethargic or disoriented appearance (could indicate deliberate overmedication)
- Broken eyeglasses
- Threatening, humiliating, belittling, or controlling behavior that you observe
- Sexually transmitted; vaginal or anal bleeding
- Stained, ripped, or bloody undergarments
- Noticeable weight loss, gaunt appearance indicating malnutrition, dehydration
- Untreated bed sores
- Unsanitary or unsafe environment
- Patient appearing dirty or unbathed
- Patient not dressed appropriately for weather conditions
What to Do if You Observe Signs of Abuse
When you suspect abuse of an elderly family member or friend in a Southern California nursing home, call the Liljergen Law Group in Escondido for guidance in the best way to handle the problem. Our Escondido personal injury attorneys are deeply committed to protecting the rights of those who are too old or infirm to protect themselves. Our compassionate attorneys will report the nursing home abuse to the proper agency and take steps to protect the rights of your loved one. Keep a record of your observations and take photos of unsafe conditions or signs of physical abuse. We for will fight to obtain full compensation for all the patient’s physical and emotional damages and to put an end to the abuse. In especially egregious cases, we may demand punitive damages to discourage a recurrence at the facility.
Don’t wait until the situation worsens. Schedule a free case evaluation today.