The holidays should be a season for cheer and togetherness for families, yet it’s a time of despair for many elderly adults. It’s a tragic reality that nursing home neglect often increases during the holidays, and the victims’ families are usually oblivious to it. This post will examine why this abuse happens during the holidays and what nursing home neglect lawyers can do for affected loved ones.
Why nursing home abuse increases during the holidays
According to the latest WHO stats, around one in six people aged 60years and older experienced some form of abuse in community settings during the past year. While the holiday season is around the corner, there may be a greater risk of abuse for the elderly. Here’s why nursing home abuse spikes during the holiday seasons.
1. Lack of staff
Nearly 90 percent of facilities providing long-term care are understaffed. And some nursing homes even run on skeleton staff. The staffing pressure increases during times of low census, such as weekends and holidays. During the holiday season, there are fewer staff members available to take care of residents’ needs in nursing homes as they want time off to celebrate with their own friends and families.
2. High stress levels due to end-of-year demands
Staff members attending to the elderly may carry the stress of end-of-year demands: buying gifts for friends and family, organizing family gatherings, and paying elevated bills. Due to excess stress, sometimes caretakers take financial advantage of patients. Up to five million older Americans are abused every year, and the annual loss by victims of financial abuse is estimated to be at least $36.5 billion.
3. More shifts are given to untrained and unpaid staff members
Although the nursing home may arrange for temporary staff to fill the resource gap, these employees may lack the training and expertise required to provide residents with sufficient care. And if these temporary employees are impatient or overworked, they may become agitated or show negligence that could harm the patient’s health and well-being. It’s possible for untrained workers to provide the wrong medication to patients or to fail to protect residents adequately from harming themselves or others at the facility.
Common types of elder abuse and nursing home neglect
We entrust the facilities to care for our elderly family members, but the sad truth is that elder abuse at nursing homes is not uncommon. Regularly visiting them at care homes and becoming more alert to these signs of abuse can help you take appropriate action at the right time. Below are the five types of abuse often experienced by the elderly in nursing homes.
1. Physical abuse
There may be the intentional use of physical force against an elderly person, who may be struck, shoved, kicked, or physically restrained. It may be a sign of physical abuse if you see any cuts on the hands, face, or other body parts, or if you hear about unexplained falls, burns, bruises, broken bones, dislocated joints, sprains, etc.
2. Sexual abuse
Any forced or non-consensual sexual contact qualifies as sexual abuse. This includes having sexual relations with elderly people who are unable to object due to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other cognitive impairments. It may be a sign of sexual abuse faced by the elderly if you notice bleeding from the anus or genitals, bruised inner thighs, pelvic injuries, or a new case of sexually transmitted disease/infection.
3. Emotional abuse
Any yelling, verbal harassment or yelling qualify as emotional abuse on an elderly. It may be a sign of emotional abuse if your loved one is depressed, scared, isolated, or reflects lowered self-esteem.
4. Financial exploitation
The improper, unauthorized, or unlawful use of an elderly person’s resources and finances is known as financial abuse. Financial abuse can be committed by strangers, family members, or nursing care personnel. It may be a sign of financial abuse when you recognize a pattern of lost property or possessions. There may be cancellations of bill payments, alterations in seniors’ power of attorney or financial accounts, and notices of eviction. All these are alarming signs of financial abuse.
5. Elder self-neglect
This happens when an elderly person is unable to meet their basic needs, such as drinking, feeding, maintaining hygiene, etc. It may be a sign of elder self-neglect if you notice malnourishment, poor hygiene, neglect of medical needs, uncomfortable behavior, and improper financial affairs.
How nursing home neglect lawyers can help
Are you concerned about elderly people in your family who have suffered from injuries or emotional distress while under institutional care? Get in touch with an experienced nursing home neglect lawyer who can ensure fair compensation is received for the harm suffered through negligence or intentional acts. An experienced lawyer will also help report the responsible facility, staff, or others to the appropriate local or state agency.
Nursing home neglect lawyers will show that the institution or caregiver failed to meet a minimum level of care. They will establish evidence that the abuse or neglect occurred in the care facility, and that the harm resulted in injuries, pain, and suffering for the victim. They will help you secure justice and compensation for the damages you truly deserve.
If you’re looking for “nursing home neglect lawyers,” LegalASAP can help you and your loved ones by connecting you with a trusted nursing home neglect attorney. Our lawyers will guide you at every stage and help you get justice. If you suspect nursing home neglect or abuse during a recent visit to your elderly loved ones this holiday, Contact LegalASAP today for a free evaluation of your case.