Nursing home attorneys and handling elder abuse

by the Editor, SeniorInsider | May 31, 2011

If you suspect your elderly parents are victims of elder abuse, then you may have to research nursing home attorneys and find one who can help you. Nursing home attorneys are specially trained to recognize and deal with the signs of elder abuse and may be able to get you the swift justice you need.

Nursing Home Attorneys Can Help You Recognize Elder Abuse

As more and more seniors enter nursing homes and senior care homes, reports of neglect, abuse and exploitation continue to rise. Elderly patients are quite often unable to defend themselves against abuse, whether it is sexual, emotional or physical, and they may be so frail that they are equally unable to report neglect. Nursing home attorneys can help you recognize the signs of elder abuse and advise you what steps you need to take to ensure those who perpetrate the abuse or neglect are properly punished. Most especially those with Alzheimer’s or dementia can become victims of neglect and exploitation.

It’s important to keep a careful eye on your loved one who resides in a nursing home and monitor their physical and mental safety regularly. Nursing home attorneys offer the following signs and symptoms to look out for if you suspect a relative or friend is being abused or neglected. If the senior suddenly seems to become apathetic, withdrawn and depressed, pay attention as these are common reactions to abusive situations. Check the personal hygiene of your loved one, the condition and cleanliness of their room, and whether or not they seem undernourished or dehydrated. If you ever see signs of bed sores, this is a clear sign of elder neglect. Nursing home attorneys caution that even if you think your loved one is exaggerating, you should still take all complaints of neglect and abuse with the utmost seriousness.

Further, frequent injuries, complaints of pain which are not accompanied by obvious signs of injury, lack of obvious reaction to pain, unexplained weight loss and constantly showing signs of hunger, being left unattended for unreasonably long periods of time, or shrinking away when a staff member walks into the room are all signs nursing home attorneys know to watch for and take seriously.

Nursing Home Attorneys and Falls Among the Elderly

Falls among the elderly, while common, are preventable, especially in nursing homes. Nearly two-thirds of accident-related deaths among seniors are the direct result of a fall, and a nursing home should be able to protect your loved one from such falls. The falls which do occur in a nursing home are often the result of a senior making a late night bathroom visit without the aid of staff members, uneven or slippery floors, dimly lit corridors, or simply being left unattended for long periods of time. The nursing home staff is almost always aware of any special needs your senior has, however, at times they simply ignore their responsibility, resulting in a potentially devastating injury to your parent or loved one.

Nursing Home Attorneys Will Demand Justice

If a nursing home’s negligence directly contributed to your loved one falling and being injured, or if you suspect abuse or neglect, it is definitely time to get some referrals for experienced nursing home attorneys. Once you have positively determined your loved one has been abused you will likely feel anger and want the responsible parties held accountable. You could also feel betrayed—after all, you trusted the nursing home and their staff with someone who is very precious to you. Finally, you may simply feel completely heartbroken, knowing the person who was abused deserved better. Nursing home lawyers understand the wide range of emotions you are going through. They have dealt with nursing home abuse many times before, and their goal is to get justice for the person who was abused or neglected.

Nursing Home Attorneys Advocate for Tougher Laws

Those who abuse the elderly are often quite accomplished at covering up their crime, not to mention that many times the person they have abused is unable to testify against them. For this reason, prosecution and conviction of elder abusers can be tricky. The good news, however, is that nursing home attorneys across the nation are advocating on behalf of seniors, and in many states elder abuse has already been deemed a very serious crime. In certain states elder abuse is recognized and punished as a third degree felony, meaning it is a crime of a very grave nature, punishable by imprisonment. The hope is that all states will recognize the seriousness of the crime as well as the inability of the elderly to protect themselves.



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