Elderly Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes

A nursing home or assisted living facility is expected to be a caring place for the elderly, a place where families put their trust in those who are handling the needs of their elderly relatives because they cannot handle things directly themselves. While that trust is based on a contract and an expectation of service for the value paid, that doesn’t always mean the service is delivered.

What is Elderly Abuse?

Too often, elder abuse happens in a nursing home because there are assumptions that no one is watching or that no one cares. With these assumptions, elderly abuse can become commonplace.

Direct abuse comes in the form of intentional harm, whether physical or mental. Meanwhile, indirect abuse can happen by removing walking aids or creating hazards, knowing a patient will get hurt by those omissions. An Oklahoma City elder abuse attorney like the Burton Law Group can help in these cases.

Causes and Types of Elderly Abuse

Elder abuse happens in nursing homes for various reasons. Systematic behaviors and institutionalized attitudes can be contributing factors that result from bad training, burned-out staff, insufficient staffing, and overwork.

Abuse types can and usually include the following but are not limited to these examples:

  • Physical harm in the form of kicking, pushing, and hitting
  • Verbal abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Mental abuse and emotional harm
  • Financial abuse

Instances of elder abuse continue to occur despite increased awareness  of same, and these instances occur in places that are supposedly managed professionally.

What is an Elderly Neglect in Nursing Homes?

Unlike direct abuse, neglect comes from the lack of care for an elderly patient. The lack of care that builds over time, like a bubbling pot, can cause severe injury or even death. Strokes, seizures, and heart attacks can happen because the staff isn’t paying attention as they should.

Elderly neglect can occur in a variety of areas, ranging from personal care to proper feeding and nutrition to medical care for chronic conditions. When these needs are unmet, the elderly suffer and ultimately result in a form of slow torture.

Causes and Types of Elderly Neglect

The types of elderly neglect that most commonly occur in nursing homes include the following:

  • Elderly patients who need regular care are left unattended
  • Dehydration and starving
  • Sepsis
  • Ulcers from lying in the same position too long or uncleaned sheets and beds
  • Lack of care for medical instruments that need to be cleaned, replaced and repeated (such as catheters, IVs, and similar)

The common theme in all of these cases is a lack of professional care that was agreed to and expected. While a relative may be challenged and have arguments of not being able to voice every need, professional medical personnel and management of nursing homes have no such argument. They are held to a higher standard.

How Do I Report a Nursing Home for Elderly Abuse and Neglect?

When the signs of abuse or neglect become visible, it would make sense to call the police. They can investigate and enter any nursing home if a crime has occurred. It should be one of the things anyone should do if there is an immediate emergency by calling 911.

However, in many cases, the immediate signs of abuse or neglect aren’t so cut and dry. Law enforcement may take a wait-and-see view or deem the issue a civil matter if they conclude there is no criminal action to pursue. In these instances, it’s time to connect with an elder abuse attorney.

How an Elder Abuse Attorney Can Help

The Burton Law Group has been effectively pursuing cases of nursing home neglect in Oklahoma for years. Because of our team’s knowledge, skill, and experience holding administrators accountable for nursing home abuse, we can aggressively pursue your case when your elderly relative has been neglected or abused in a nursing home. Call us today for a free consultation.  We’re Here to Help.