Initially considered a social issue in society, elder abuse has now become both an important public health concern as well as a criminalized act in the US.
The increasing elderly population is largely responsible for this transition. Laws have been created specifically to shield victims from abuse in nursing homes. However, it is critical to understand these laws carefully in order to protect yourself or your loved ones.
Identifying Abuse in Nursing Homes
The abuse faced by senior citizens can take various forms. Abuse does not always involve broken bones and bruises but can be mental, emotional, i.e.: psychological in nature. There are certain ways you can detect if this happening to one of your loved ones; you need to pay close attention to their behavior when you visit them for one. Some common forms of abuse that the elderly in nursing homes often encounter include:
- verbal abuse
- not feeding someone
- not cleaning someone and so on
It is also possible for abuse to have a sexual dimension, from rape to fondling. Other forms of abuse that have come to light recently include neglect and abandonment. Financial exploitation is also commonly reported, and it ranges from bank fraud to simple theft.
The sad truth is abuse can occur almost anywhere, but it comes as a shock when abuse happens in nursing homes – a place of healing and safety. In case you suspect your loved one of being abused in the nursing home, complaints must be raised, and you need to make sure that your voice is heard loud and clear.
You might not have any concrete proof, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. And any decent nursing home that cares for the wellbeing of your loved one will not hold it against you as it is clear you are simply looking out for his/her interests. The key is to speak up when you notice any sign of abuse, no matter how trivial.
Just because a nursing home employee is having a bad day it does not mean they can take it out on your loved one. Everyone has bad days. Everyone gets frustrated but a nursing home employee taking their pain or frustration out on someone else, someone who is helpless and who is one of their patients, is horrible, cannot be justified and is against the law.
When you blame a nursing home for abusing an elderly individual, the matter will be investigated by the proper authorities. The home and the staff involved might find themselves facing criminal charges, if grounds for prosecution are found. Even if you signed an arbitration agreement, there are legal avenues that a qualified lawyer can explore when building a case against the nursing home. Don’t be intimidated.
If you feel you deserve compensation, you need to initiate a lawsuit against the responsible parties. This suit, if successful, will provide monetary compensation not just for medical treatment, but also for the emotional and physical suffering experienced by your loved one.
In order to get justice for your loved one, it’s important to act quickly and for that you need a competent and judicious lawyer. Experienced lawyers who know to professional handle the situation will contact witnesses while the memories of the incident are still fresh on their minds. They also ensure you’re able to take action before the condition of your loved ones deteriorate further and the statute of limitations on such actions goes into effect.
A Law Firm for the Ages
If you need to get in touch with a qualified lawyer who has experience dealing with cases involving elderly abuse in nursing homes, contact Makarem & Associates today. You can either send an email at [email protected], or call us at 310.312.0299.