Nursing home neglect attorneys serving Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa and all of Arizona!
Many injuries occur in nursing homes across the country, as confirmed by a study conducted by the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee. Nursing home abuse and neglect have become an all too common reality in our society. Between January 1999 and January 2001, the minority (Democratic and Independent) staff found that 30% of nursing homes in the United States are guilty of neglecting the seniors in their care.
Abuse and neglect are a serious problem affecting thousands of nursing home residents, complicated by the fact that abuse and neglect are often difficult to diagnose and are often covered-up by nursing home staff.
What is Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
Abuse implies the mistreatment, or wrongful treatment of a person, especially when in a compromised physical or mental state. Abuse includes:
- Sexual assault, sexual battery, rape
- Unreasonable physical constraint
- Prolonged or continual deprivation of food or water
The study conducted by the Special Investigations Division uncovered very disturbing information. A woman’s nose was broken by an attendant who was walked into her room, yelled “I’m tired of your ass” and hit her in the face. Another male attendant molested an elderly female resident as he bathed her.
Abuse doesn’t always come from staff. Fellow residents may abuse other seniors within the facility. One especially disturbing case cited in the report involved nursing home staff bribing a brain-damaged senior patient with cigarettes to attack another resident. The staff then watched as the two fought. Other seniors become more aggressive as senile dementia progresses. When this happens, it is the responsibility of the staff to prevent abuse.
Neglect implies the failure of any person having the care or custody of an elder or dependent adult to exercise that degree of care which a reasonable person in such a position would exercise. Nursing home neglect includes:
- Failure to provide adequate nutrition to meet physical needs
- Failure to provide medical care for physical and mental health needs
- Failure to assist in personal hygiene
- Failure to provide clothing or shelter
- Failure to protect from health and safety hazards
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
A senior suffering abuse or neglect may have the following symptoms:
- Bed sores, unexplained bruises, welts, cuts, rashes
- Emotional upset, agitation, change in personality (such as withdrawal, flinching when touched, rocking, sucking)
- Rapid weight loss or weight gain
- Asking to be isolated from others
- Falls, fractures or head injuries
- Frequent illness or delayed reporting of sickness
- Behavior reflecting heavy medication or sedation
Nursing home abuse may include verbal abuse as well, which may be the most difficult to detect. Nursing home staff may intimidate a frail senior by yelling, threatening, humiliating or ridiculing the senior. If this is happening, a senior may become especially timid, or display other signs of withdrawal.
Financial exploitation may be involved where seniors are billed for services they don’t receive and medications they aren’t actually given. Caregivers might even forge signatures on checks, use credit cards and more.