When the time came to place your elderly parent, grandparent, or other relatives in a nursing home, you made the choice to put your loved one’s health first and foremost. You didn’t have the resources, equipment, medical knowledge, time at home, to provide 24/7 care for your relative personally, so you entrusted his or her care to a facility that did. Now, though, your loved one’s health problems, mood changes, and living conditions have left you wondering if he or she is a victim of abuse.
Nursing home abuse and neglect put the elderly in very real danger. As soon as you suspect abuse, you need to move fast to protect your loved one’s health and legal rights. The New Jersey nursing home abuse attorneys can help you figure out the next steps you must take immediately.
Just how widespread is nursing home abuse? The truth is that no one knows for sure. What experts do know is that elder abuse is seriously underreported, with an estimated 23 unreported instances of abuse for every one reported incident, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One study suggests that abuse rates in nursing homes could be as high as 44 percent, with neglect rates at an alarming 95 percent, the National Center on Elder Abuse reported.
The statistics are nothing short of disturbing, but then, so is the possibility that nursing home staff are neglecting, or worse, abusing, someone you love.
Elder abuse can take the form of neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and financial exploitation. Often, nursing home abuse refers to instances like the following:
Inadequate medical care
Malnutrition or dehydration
Lack of personal care, sanitation, and hygiene
Accidents, such as falls or choking that could have been prevented with proper supervision
You might not be around to see the abuse at the time it takes place, but that doesn’t mean you can’t protect your loved one. Know the signs that could indicate elder abuse, and if you think you see any, even if you’re not sure, take action right away.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
One of the reasons nursing home abuse so frequently goes unreported is that the victim is not capable of making a complaint. Perhaps your loved one has difficulty with speech or memory or presents with a condition like Alzheimer’s or dementia that can at times cause him or her to believe and say things that might not reflect reality. Among patients like this, it can be difficult or impossible to make a complaint, to begin with, or to find someone within the nursing home to take the report seriously.
If your loved one is unable to report nursing home abuse or neglect, it’s even more important that you pay attention to the signs of abuse and investigate anything suspicious.
Has your loved one presented any of the following?
Unexplained or untreated new or worsened injuries
These symptoms and changes could indicate that your family member isn’t being taken care of properly.
When you visit the nursing home, have you ever seen the following?
Unsanitary living conditions for any resident.
Residents left sitting in excrement or urine.
Restraints being used improperly.
Any kind of violence, the threat of violence, or yelling at residents by workers.
Incompetent or indifferent care providers.
Abuse or neglect of any kind is inexcusable. Many nursing homes are understaffed, but that doesn’t give them the right to treat your loved one with any less dignity, care, and respect.
What To Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
If the staff of the nursing home seems less than attentive, the living conditions are unacceptable, or your loved one exhibits any change in health, mood, or behavior, abuse is a possibility that you have to consider.
The sooner you act, the better. You don’t want to leave your family member in an abusive nursing home environment if there’s any other way. Make a note of all signs or indications of abuse or neglect, including any circumstances that just don’t seem right to you. Call a New Jersey nursing home abuse attorney right away for help figuring out what to do next. There may be complaints to file. Nursing home personnel may try to force you to sign paperwork you don’t understand. Depending on the nature of the abuse, you may need to take the matter to the police. The list of what to do if you suspect nursing home abuse may sound overwhelming, but we can help you figure out what steps you need to take for your family’s unique situation.
At Console & Associates P.C., we’re used to helping people who are going through tough times, it’s the mission we’ve dedicated our professional lives to, and we have more than two decades of experience. That means you’re getting more when you call than just an attorney who will fight for the compensation your family deserves. You’re also getting a full team of dedicated legal professionals with the compassion to support you through all of the questions and fears this abuse has generated. Your family becomes a part of our client-family, and we’re always here to help in any way we can.
If you believe your loved one is a victim, call our New Jersey nursing home abuse attorneys right away at (856) 778-5500. The consultation is always free. We’ll hold the perpetrators accountable for the harm they’ve caused your family.
More information on abuse and neglect at specific New Jersey nursing homes.
Innova Health and Rehab, Deptford
Innova Health and Rehab, Hammonton
Masonic Home of New Jersey
Palace Rehabilitation and Care Center
Royal Health Gate Nursing and Rehabilitation
Water’s Edge Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center
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