In the United States, abuse in a nursing home is a common occurrence. Many nursing homes have been found guilty of mistreating their patients, and some have even been fined or shut down. However, the problem still continues. If something like this has happened to your aging parent, it’s important to find ways to help them cope.
Nursing home abuse, or elder abuse, can be broadly defined as any act that results in physical harm, pain, mental anguish, or social neglect of an elder person. It is also any behavior that creates an environment that leads to these actions. This occurs when the staff does not provide appropriate care for the patient. The mistreatment can be intentional or unintentional and can happen due to a lack of knowledge about how to provide the necessary care.
What can we do when we suspect our parent has been abused?
Nursing homes neglect or abuse their patients for several reasons. The nursing home might not have enough staff members, so their patients don’t get the proper care. The facility might not be able to address the needs of a patient who has been admitted due to budget restraints or lack of training. Nursing homes can fail to properly vet their staff to make sure they have the skills and empathy needed in order to work with elderly patients. Or the patients may simply get picked on by other residents or staff.
A nursing home resident has rights under both state and federal law. These rights include the right to be free from physical abuse, neglect, emotional distress, and sexual assault by staff or other residents at all times. If you feel that your loved one has been abused in a long-term care facility, it’s wise to seek legal counsel. A personal injury lawyer can help get the process started by investigating the abuse and providing guidance on obtaining compensation for what has happened.
It’s also important to file a complaint with the state department of health and human resources and contact the police to report the crime. An abuse victim does not always need to pursue a civil lawsuit in order to get compensation for their injuries. However, they may wish to do so if they want to make sure the perpetrator is held accountable and prohibited from working in a nursing home again.
Is there a solution to the elder abuse problem?
The solution to this problem is two-fold. One is education and prevention. The other is advocacy and protection on behalf of the elderly person who has been abused in a nursing home or institution. All medical facilities should train their staff on how to recognize abuse, what it looks like, and the appropriate response. They also need to be aware of the signs of neglect or abuse. These include things like bedsores, cuts, dehydration, malnutrition, head injuries, lack of hygiene, and unexplained weight loss.
While some of these signs can also indicate normal illnesses or accidents in elderly patients, it’s important to investigate them when they happen. It’s also important to note when they seem to be happening together or with any frequency. The best solution to prevent these occurrences is to provide additional training on how to recognize these symptoms.
As your elderly parent’s support system, you should seek out any resources they need to help them cope with the abuse. This could include mental health professionals and caring family members. You can also help them change their environment to give them a more nurturing atmosphere. Doing this will require some thought and small gestures such as indoor plant delivery or new decor. While these may seem like simple things, they can go a long way toward helping them heal.