Abuse can take place anytime and anywhere. It comes in various forms -- physical, verbal or emotional. The term alone connotes negativity hence, this act should never be tolerated regardless of whether it's done on children, adults or the elderly.
It's unthinkable that abuse can even be done on the old people. But this is a reality that people should be aware of especially for families who put their elderly loved ones in the care of nursing homes. There have been many instances of nursing home abuse in the recent years with some of them not even reported to the proper authorities.
Abuse cases in nursing homes can range from malnutrition, dehydration, lack of medical care to physical injuries and in worse cases, death. Emotional abuse can include depression, humiliation, harassment, deprivation and intimidation. These may be reported either by the caregivers, employees, family members and friends. Unfortunately, some of these cases are not reported by the victims for several reasons such as fear of retaliation, lack of knowledge on what to do and fear of being isolated.
It is, therefore, encouraged that family members of the elderly monitor their loved ones and visit them in the nursing home as often as possible. Being observant of the surroundings, employees and other residents is important in detecting possible abuse and neglect. Signs that something is wrong with your loved ones include physical evidence, sudden change in personality, loses interest in old habits and neglect by the caregiver.
If you suspect that your elderly loved one is not well taken care of in the nursing home, it is highly recommended that you report it to the management as soon as possible. In this way, the facility can take immediate action to address the problem. However, if you feel that your first action did not get any prompt response, you can always file a case with the local court. To guide you in the legal process, you should seek the help of a nursing home abuse lawyer.
Since the elderly residents are no longer capable of going through the legal process, the family members should take it upon themselves to communicate everything to the nursing home abuse lawyer. Cooperation is very important for the success of the case. The attorney needs to have all the pertinent information on the case in order to file a lawsuit.
Evidence of neglect or abuse is a major requirement to have a strong case against a facility or its employees. In cases of physical abuse, a medical certificate may be needed. Once the lawyer finds strong evidence, a case of personal injury may then be filed in the local court.
Facilities that look after the elderly people on behalf of their families are governed by the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. Under the law, nursing homes are required to promote and protect the rights of every resident. Failure to adhere to the law can hold them liable. If you have parents or grandparents living in nursing homes, make sure that you have checked the facility and its employees and you are aware of the law as well as the rights of the elderly.