Working with nursing home lawyers to spot negligence in care

by the Editor, SeniorInsider | May 31, 2011

Nursing home lawyers can be an invaluable resource when you are attempting to determine whether your elderly loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect. Elder abuse can include physical, mental and sexual mistreatment in the form of kicking, punching, slapping, beating, and even rape. Pain, injury and death can result, making the services of nursing home lawyers a necessity. Neglect of the elderly is a bit more insidious and often harder to identify.

Nursing Home Lawyers Know the Statistics on Elder Neglect and Abuse

Nursing home lawyers are very aware of the prevalence of elder neglect and abuse. Older women are nearly twice as likely to suffer from neglect or abuse as older men, and over half of the people who abuse or neglect the elderly are female. About one-fifth of elder abuse involves straight caregiver neglect. The alleged perpetrators of elder neglect and abuse are about one third the adult children of the seniors, 22% are other family members, 11% are spouses or partners, and only about 16% are strangers or a caregiver in the nursing home.

Nursing Home Lawyers Identify Elder Negligence

Negligence of the elderly can take many forms—from simply refusing to bathe them or change their clothes to refusing to clean the areas where they live. Neglect can take much more serious forms as well. Nursing home lawyers have the knowledge and experience required to be able to clearly identify such negligence, as well as the skill to prosecute such behavior. Neglect of the elderly can occur when the caretaker fails to provide necessary medications or food, or does not check frequently enough to see whether the senior needs to go to the bathroom.

Even a violation of the elderly person’s privacy or other basic rights can be a form of elder neglect, and a nursing home lawyer can give you advice on what to look for and how to spot such abuse. The elderly may be forced to live in conditions which are borderline unsanitary, or in a poorly heated or cooled room. A nursing home should be a place of comfort and safety, not a source of punishment or fear, therefore if you suspect any type of neglect or abuse, it is very important that you contact a nursing home lawyer.

Nursing Home Lawyers Know Who the “Typical” Abusers Are

We think of victims of elder abuse as being strictly those seniors who live in nursing homes or senior care homes. In truth, many times those who abuse or neglect the elderly are family members, acting in a caregiving capacity. The abusers may be suffering from stress or caregiver burnout, and may additionally have their own personal and financial problems to deal with. On top of this, the strain of caring for an elderly person may cause frustration and anger, and many times there are also alcohol and other drug problems which contribute to the elder abuse.

The abuser may be dependent upon the very person they are neglecting or abusing for their money or housing, or may simply resent the demands placed on their time. Resentment can build up over time, causing abuse and neglect. Finally, the abuser may be consciously or unconsciously attempting to retaliate against the senior for some past mistreatment—whether real or imagined. All of these things can cause the caregiver to be less than vigilant in taking care of the senior, forcing them to do without things they need.

Nursing Home Lawyers Understand Elderly Victims

The victims of elder abuse live with family members or in a nursing home and depend upon those around them for their daily care and needs. The elderly victims are likely to be over the age of 75, and more likely to be women who are suffering from a physical or mental illness or disability. Nursing home lawyers know that there are many more seniors in our society than in the past, a large percentage that depend on family members for longer periods of time than in the past. Our society as a whole has become one whose attitude toward such acts of neglect is rather laid-back due to the fact that violence has become a more or less acceptable method of dealing with problems.

Seniors who suffer from physical and mental ailments or illnesses have even more obstacles to overcome in order to stop neglect and abuse. Those who have no such ailments or illnesses may be too ashamed over the situation to take action, may be trying to protect their family member out of love, or may fear retaliation if they report the neglect to someone. Neglect of the elderly is serious and requires serious attention. Call a nursing home attorney now if you suspect such abuse.



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