Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in Springfield, MO
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Millions of people live in nursing homes across the United States, and as many as 40% of all adults will live in a nursing home at some point. With so many people exposed to nursing homes, it’s startling to hear that 44% of nursing home residents have reported suffering some type of abuse or neglect. If you or your loved has suffered nursing home abuse, you are not alone, and you have a right to take action against your abuser.
At Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci, our personal injury lawyers are dedicated to providing compassionate legal help to victims of abuse. Whether the harm your loved on suffered was physical, sexual, or negligent, we want to help you pursue justice.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Elder abuse can come in many different forms, but is most commonly either physically abusive, sexually abusive, or negligent. Abuse happens for a variety of reasons, but in nursing homes where the abuse is usually from doctors or nurses, it is usually borne out of frustration or impatience. Regardless of the reason, any action that happens against the patient’s will, is harmful, or inappropriate should be stopped immediately.
Physical Abuse in Nursing Homes
While physical abuse is always dangerous to any victim, the elderly are much frailer and often sickly, and thus can sustain less physical duress than a younger adult. Even if the physical harm is not substantial, inappropriate discomfort caused to a patient should not be tolerated.
Common sorts of physical abuse in a nursing home include:
- Pushing or shoving
- Striking the patient, with or without an object
- Hair pulling
- Shaking, or grabbing in a way that is rough or painful
- Throwing the resident onto a bed, wheelchair, couch, or other piece of furniture
- Using unnecessary physical restraints
- Physically forcing the patient to eat or drink
Negligence in Nursing Homes
Abuse may also come in the form of negligence. The nursing home, or caretakers, may refuse proper food and water, provide inadequate hygienic services, leave the room unclean, fail to check for or treat medical issues, or leave the patient alone for an excessive amount of time. Any of these neglectful practices could put the patient’s health at risk, or cause extreme discomfort, and in some cases, even death.
Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
A number of nursing home patients also deal with unwanted sexual attention, either from a nurse, doctor, nursing home employee or unwanted visitor. According to the Nursing Home Abuse Guide, the abuser was the patient’s primary caretaker in 81% of all reported nursing home abuse cases. Should a patient ever receive any form of nonconsensual sexual contact, physical or otherwise, it is considered sexual abuse and should be reported to the authorities immediately.
Common types of sexual abuse in a nursing home include:
- Inappropriate touching
- Sexual photography
- Sexual coercion
- Forced nudity
- Sexual harassment
Identifying Nursing Home Abuse
Studies show that the majority of nursing home abuse cases go unreported because patients do not tell anyone about what they have endured. Some patients may feel ashamed, embarrassed, or they may not wish to inconvenience their families with the news of their abuse. Whatever the reason, most nursing home patients do not report their abuse. In order to protect your loved one, the best thing you can do is look for signs that may indicate abuse.
The following are typical signs of nursing home abuse:
- Weight loss
- Unexplained bruises or injuries
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Marks of forced restraint
- Hair loss
- Broken bones
- Depression, or significant change in mood
- Anxiety, or panic attacks
In many instances, the nursing home may prevent you from visiting your loved one if there are noticeable signs of abuse. Should you ever feel they are restricting you from visitation during normal hours, this could be a red flag indicating an abusive nursing home situation.
The moment you notice any significant changes in your loved one, ask them if they are being abused. Try to communicate with them and encourage them to trust you with the truth, reminding them that there are options for better care. If your loved one confirms their abuse, call authorities and remove them from the home immediately. Your next step should be to contact your attorney for legal guidance.
Contact Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci for help with your nursing home abuse case.