Nursing home abuse is a serious and growing problem in the United States that affects our elderly population in a major way. A nursing home or assisted living facility is supposed to be a place where our elderly loved ones can go to be cared for when they can no longer look after themselves. However, we have seen a rise in the number of nursing home abuse cases in recent years, which is something that we need to bring awareness about. Unfortunately, the actual number of nursing home abuse cases reported every year do not even make up a small percentage of these types of cases that are actually taking place. There are numerous different types of nursing home abuse, including neglect, financial abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse.
If you suspect your loved one or someone else dear to you is a victim of nursing home abuse, it is absolutely imperative that you take the proper steps to ensure their safety. Because this is such a sensitive subject matter, many people do not know their rights or what steps should be taken following elder abuse. With this in mind, we would like to discuss the ins and outs of nursing home abuse, including what, exactly, it is and what you should do if you suspect it.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
By definition, nursing home abuse occurs when a senior resident does not receive proper medical, physical, or emotional care. Depending on the circumstances, this neglect may escalate to physical, emotional, financial, or sexual abuse.
According to statistics, approximately 5 million senior citizens experience some type of mistreatment or neglect in one way or another. Whether a resident is left unsupervised and without physical, medical, or mental attention, or if more acute abuse takes place, it should be reported immediately.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Elder abuse and neglect in assisted living facilities can be difficult to spot if you aren’t aware of the signs. As mentioned, nursing home abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual, or financial. Here is a look at some of the warning signs of nursing home abuse:
- Bruises, broken bones, burns, and abrasions
- Drastic change in attitude
- Withdrawal from normal activities
- Poor hygiene (such as bed sores or unusual weight loss)
- Bruises around the genital areas or breasts
- Arguments between an elderly person and his or her caregiver
- Unexplained bank withdrawals
These are just a few of the most common signs to be on the lookout for. If you notice any of the above or think something is ‘off’ with your elderly loved one, please report it immediately.
What Should I Do if I Suspect Nursing Home Abuse?
If you suspect nursing home abuse, it is important that you bring it to the attention of the facility’s management team immediately. If you are wary of doing so because of the type of abuse that is going on, please contact the Oklahoma nursing home abuse hotline at 1-800-747-8419.
Here are a few additional steps that should be taken following a suspected nursing home abuse case:
- Verify the story – If your elderly loved one confides in you that they are being abused, the first step is to make sure they are telling the truth and not leaving anything out.
- Contact the authorities – Once their story has been confirmed, contact the authorities. You should report the abuse to the hotline number listed above and also inform the police.
- Hire an attorney – A nursing home abuse attorney will have the experience and contacts necessary to help you with your case. If you suspect nursing home abuse, contact an Oklahoma personal injury attorney today to find out if your case is worth pursuing.
To learn more about nursing home abuse in Oklahoma or to set up a consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys, please contact Atkins & Markoff today.