Frightening Nursing Home Abuse Trends

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It’s very alarming, but abuse is a prevalent trend in our society. From sexual abuse to spousal abuse and everything in between, countless victims have experienced traumatic exploitation and manipulation. Despite its prevalence, nursing home abuse is not one of the forms of abuse commonly discussed. Nursing home abuse is also called “elder abuse,” and it impacts about 10 percent of seniors living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. It is a common trend that more and more Tampa personal injury attorneys are representing victims as a result.

The Framework of Nursing Home Abuse

Most people couldn’t imagine purposefully hurting or neglecting a senior citizen relying on others for his food, medication, and overall wellbeing, but this trend occurs in nursing homes across the country. Many facilities receive government funding through programs like Medicaid, and they can maintain more of that money for profits if they cut back on the care provided to seniors. This leads to poorly trained employees, understaffing issues, high turnover rates, and outdated technology. The result is dangerous abuse that occurs in a variety of ways.

Forms of Nursing Home Abuse

Elder abuse falls into many different categories, but the general definition is “the willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or punishment with resulting physical harm, pain, or mental anguish.”

Physical, emotional, financial, sexual, and gross neglect abuse are all identified forms of abuse against seniors in long term care facilities, but sexual and financial are rare. Physical abuse, on the other hand, is shockingly common. It can include acts of violence like hitting and kicking, inappropriate use of drugs and physical constraints, or even force feeding.

Gross neglect is also especially prevalent in nursing homes that do not properly enforce protocols or punish employees for ignoring their duties.  It occurs when staff members do not take appropriate care of seniors and fail to feed, clean, clothe, and shelter them as needed. This can result in malnutrition, filthy living conditions, bed sores, and untreated health problems. Gross neglect is a huge issue because the elderly rely upon certain medications and treatments to remain healthy, and if those health conditions are not prioritized, it can result in death.  

If you have a loved one in a nursing home right now, watch for suspicious behavior. Common signs of abuse include sudden depressive behavior from your loved one, injuries or sores that seem to linger, and the caregiver’s refusal to let you visit with your loved one alone. A tampa criminal defense lawyer can help you determine your best courses of legal action.