Elder abuse in nursing homes is an insidious and often unreported problem that is often difficult to detect that can cause emotional trauma, serious injury and even death to its victims. For the families who have made tremendous efforts to research the best long-term facilities for their loved ones and have placed their trust in the reputation of the chosen nursing home, the sense of betrayal is unbearable when the abuse is exposed.
The problem of systemic abuse
Elderly abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual or stem from neglect or predatory financial exploitation. Globally, one in six adults aged 60 or older suffered some form of abuse in a community facility from 2017 to 2018, and one in three nursing homes in the United States has been issued a citation for abuse. Although 1.3 million elderly lived in nursing homes in across the nation in 2015, that number is expected to grow to 27 million by 2050.
The behavior of nursing home staff toward the residents is often influenced by the ways in which they themselves are treated within a corporate structure. Because nursing facilities are frequently overseen by large corporate entities, the focus is more on maximizing profits than taking care of the residents or properly supporting the staff.
As a result, nurses are overworked, underpaid and often improperly trained or overseen, resulting in exhaustion, frustration and impatience, all of which is directed toward their helpless wards.
Discovering elder abuse and taking action
Elderly loved ones who are suffering from dementia or are in poor physical health may be unable to tell you what is happening, or they may be fearful of the repercussions of reporting the abuse. Some signs to look for that indicate abuse:
- Signs of withdrawal, anxiety, fear or depression
- Bruising, cuts, scratches or broken bones
- Bed sores, sprains or unexplained tooth or hair loss
- Sudden bank account withdrawals
In Louisiana, 14.2% of the population was aged 65 and older in 2014, and that is expected to increase to 19.7% of the state’s population by 2030. About 70% of nursing homes are for-profit nationally, so the problem is not likely to go away anytime soon.
Being able to detect and successfully expose nursing home abuse can be challenging, so it is important to have effective and compassionate legal representation serving Natchitoches to help you protect your loved ones.