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Nursing Home Neglect / Nursing Home Abuse  

Dealing with Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes

Elderly individuals who need nursing home care are often frail and in a vulnerable position. Whether suffering from diminished mental capacity or debilitating physical conditions, they are all too often incapable of standing up for their rights or complaining when treatment is substandard or abusive. For this reason, it is vital for the elderly person’s loved ones to be aware of and recognize the signs of neglect or abuse and take action on the elderly person’s behalf.

If you suspect neglect or abuse, it is wise to speak with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible.

What Is the Difference Between Nursing Home Abuse and Nursing Home Neglect?

Neglect is a failure to provide standard care, which includes monitoring the individual and providing adequate food, clothing, shelter and healthcare. While neglect is an omission, abuse is a commission. Abuse is mistreatment or behavior that harms the individual.

Signs of Abuse

Any kind of contact that inflicts pain, creates bodily injury or physical impairment qualifies as abuse. An inappropriate use of restraint can be abusive. Abuse can also be sexual or psychological.

Signs of Physical Abuse

  • Bruises on the arms, legs or torso from physical restraint
  • Internal injuries
  • Burns from hot water or appliances
  • Broken bones
  • Cigarette burns
  • Sprains that occur without explanation
  • Dislocated joints
  • Abrasions

Signs of Sexual Abuse

  • Bruises on thighs or genital areas
  • Stained, torn or bloody underwear
  • Pain, discomfort or bleeding in the genital or anal area

Signs of Psychological Abuse

  • Social isolation
  • Depression, confusion or withdrawn behavior
  • Expressed fear toward the abuser
  • Stress related disorders such as high blood pressure or insomnia
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Inappropriate behavior for their age (sucking thumb or rocking)

What Are the Underlying Causes of Neglect and Abuse in Nursing Homes?

One of the main reasons for nursing home neglect is understaffing. There is simply not enough staff to properly monitor and care for the residents’ needs. This situation is compounded by the fact that when understaffing occurs, existing staff often end up overworked, exhausted and stressed by the demands. A stressed staff member may not be attentive enough or may become easily irritated and act in an abusive manner.

Understaffing typically occurs when nursing homes cut financial corners. The nursing home fails to hire enough staff or hires staff that is not qualified to do the job.

Consult with Nursing Home Neglect Attorneys

If you suspect that your loved one has been subjected to abuse or neglect, arrange a consultation with a nursing home abuse attorney and discuss your concerns. Sometimes caregivers worry that they may be overly concerned or imagining things. An objective perspective from a nursing home neglect lawyer can help you determine whether abuse or neglect actually exists. An investigation may reveal that your loved one is not the only elderly person being subjected to abuse and neglect.

At Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP, we have extensive experience with these types of cases and offer a free initial consultation to discuss your concerns.

Call us toll free at 888.519.6400, or contact us in Garden City at 516.248.2234, or in Flushing-Queens, Brooklyn or the Bronx at 718.539.3100. You can also fill in our contact form, and we will get in touch with you.

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