When families choose to place their elderly loved ones in a nursing home, they do it to ensure their family members get the attention and assistance they need to thrive and be healthy. Sadly, though, nursing home neglect and abuse are shockingly common.
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that about 95% of nursing home residents have been neglected or witnessed neglect.
Physical, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse in nursing homes often has serious consequences, including death. Fortunately, residents and their loved ones can take steps to prevent abuse and neglect.
If one of your loved ones is or was the victim of elder abuse in an Iowa nursing home, seek the help of one of Peters Law Firm's personal injury lawyers.
We can help you end the abuse or neglect and recover any damages you and your loved one are entitled to under the law.
Contact our elder abuse attorneys for assistance at (712) 328-3157 today.
Causes of Elder Neglect and Abuse in Nursing Homes
No one expects nursing home neglect or abuse to happen, but instances of both have been reported in nearly one out of three care centers across the country. Nursing home neglect can stem from many issues, including:
- Understaffing: When a nursing home doesn’t have enough staff, residents get less individual attention, increasing the risk of neglect. A federal study in 2018 found that the majority of U.S. assisted living facilities are understaffed.
- Negligent hiring: Because they’re so understaffed, many nursing homes don’t thoroughly check and verify a job candidate’s background and certifications, which means they could end up hiring serial abusers.
- Inadequate training: Improperly trained nursing home staff members frequently slip into patterns of neglect. They’re also more likely to make medication mistakes, mishandle elderly residents, and create other problems for the residents in their care.
Types of Abuse That Can Occur in Nursing Homes
Nursing home neglect and abuse take many forms. These are the primary forms of nursing home abuse:
- Abandonment occurs when a caregiver leaves a helpless resident alone to fend for themselves. It can include taking a resident somewhere and dropping them off alone without notifying the family.
- Emotional abuse can lead to psychological issues like fear of caregivers, anger, resentment, acting out, and a reluctance to communicate with staff. Over time, a resident may develop anxiety and depression and often distance themselves from family members and friends.
- Financial abuse occurs when a staff member steals from or uses manipulation to get money from a resident. Examples include misusing a power of attorney to change a resident’s will, stealing cash or valuables from a resident, and stealing bank statements or financial records.
- Neglect of a resident’s basic needs, including leaving residents in their beds or wheelchairs for long periods, causing them to lose mobility.
- Physical abuse may be occurring if a loved one suddenly has unexplained injuries, including broken bones, cuts, and scrapes. Sometimes the injuries are self-inflicted and go unobserved by an inattentive staff.
- Self-neglect occurs when a nursing home resident can’t take even the simplest care of themselves, leading to severe health issues.
- Sexual assault or abuse includes any form of unwanted sexual contact, including groping, inappropriate touching, and rape.
Contact Peters Law Firm today or call (712) 328-3157 to schedule a consultation to explore your possible claims for nursing home negligence.
Legal Action To Take if You Suspect Nursing Home Negligence
Nursing home residents are legally protected and entitled to the best care possible from their facility. Unfortunately, millions of families need information and support for this widespread problem.
If you believe a loved one is or has been a victim of nursing home negligence, speak with a personal injury attorney at Peters Law Firm today about your legal options.