Currently, about 40 million elderly Americans live in nursing homes. Estimates from the National Institute of Health indicate that the number may double over the next few decades. Unfortunately, elder abuse is a big problem in America. There are over one million reports of elder abuse in American nursing homes annually. This number is only bound to go up with the rising amount of older people living in nursing homes. With so many people living in nursing homes, the number of abuse cases reported—and not reported—is staggering.
We trust nursing homes to treat our parents and grandparents with proper care. When this doesn't happen, members of our most vulnerable group, the elderly, are at risk of serious injuries. If you feel that a loved one is suffering abuse in a nursing home, do not hesitate to contact an Omaha nursing home abuse lawyer at Cullan & Cullan LLC. Let us hold negligent Nebraska nursing homes accountable.
Call us at (402) 882-7080 or contact us online for a free, confidential consultation.
A Quiet Epidemic
Although the elderly are among the most vulnerable of our population, awareness of nursing home physical abuse tragically remains low, even as nursing homes and assisted care facilities continue to perpetrate harm upon helpless residents without recourse.
Each year in the United States, more than two million seniors are victims of some form of abuse, including physical abuse. And this includes only reported cases; it is estimated that millions more go unreported.
Research suggests that abuse has very real effects on its victims; abused elders tend to die earlier, even in the absence of life-threatening or chronic medical conditions. In some especially egregious incidents, the abuse is the primary cause of severe injury or death.
Indications of Physical Abuse
You can protect your elderly loved one from abuse by being vigilant. Visit him/her on a frequent basis, but time your visits so they follow an irregular pattern. This way, you’ll keep the staff on their toes.
While spending time with your elderly loved one, pay him/her close attention and keep an ear and eye out for the following signs of abuse:
- Burns from cigarettes or appliances, or scalding burns
- Abrasions that appear to have been caused by ropes, straps, or other restraints
- Multicolored or "wrap-around" bruises
- Sprains, broken bones, or dislocated joints
- Multiple, consistent incidents of injury
- Withdrawn, nervous, or agitated behavior
- Incongruent explanations of how the injury occurred
If signs of elderly abuse are apparent, report it to the proper authorities and consult with a trusted Omaha nursing home abuse attorney right away.
What Is Nursing Home Emotional Abuse?
When people think of the phrase abuse, they more than likely imagine slaps, punches, kicks, or other types of physical violence. Abuse, however, can also be inflicted emotionally. Situations in which residents are treated poorly are a common problem in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
Nursing home abuse is not a new problem. In 1987, the federal government passed the Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA), which requires all nursing homes that receive Medicare or Medicaid funds maintain a high level of safety for residents. But, elderly residents still suffer emotional abuse.
According to the National Center for Elder Abuse (NCEA), these are the most common types of nursing home emotional abuse:
- Violent threats
- Preventing residents from participating in social activities
The NCEA reports that one out of every ten elderly nursing home residents suffers from some form of abuse each year. Unfortunately, these numbers only reflect the cases that were reported. That means there are hundreds of thousands of unreported nursing home abuse situations annually. While physical signs of abuse can be obvious, the signs of emotional abuse may not be.
Here are some of the signs of emotional abuse to be on the lookout for:
- Drastic weight loss
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Avoiding eye contact
- Displays low self-esteem
- Acting differently (depressed, disturbed, hopeless, scared, shy, withdrawn)
- Changes to eating, and sleeping patterns
Swift Legal Assistance for Victims of Nursing Home Sexual Abuse
Nursing home abuse, especially when it involves rape or sexual assault, is a particularly heinous crime that deserves swift action. Each year thousands of our elders are put into harm’s way by negligent nursing home owners, managers, and staffers. At Cullan & Cullan LLC, our lawyers are determined to hold those violators responsible and secure the kind of compensation your family deserves.
Depending on the severity of the crime and the degree of negligence involved in your loved one’s abuse, the at-fault party could owe significant compensation in the form of:
- Long-term mental and emotional therapy
- Refunding of all nursing home expenses
- Medical bills and doctor’s fees
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
If you believe your loved one is suffering at the hands of a staff member or resident, we recommend you speak with the shift supervisor or anyone operating in a managerial role at the home. If your concerns are not addressed, or you believe it goes beyond one or two people, contact your regional Adult Protective Services. They will open a formal investigation, although it may take some time to meet your request. If you believe your loved one is in immediate danger, contact 9-1-1 and report what you have found. Finally, we highly recommend contacting our office and scheduling an appointment to discuss your case.
Call Today for a Free Consultation
We are here to help you obtain compensation from those responsible so that you can focus on healing, rehabilitation, and getting your feet back on the ground. For more information about how the Omaha nursing home abuse lawyers at Cullan & Cullan LLC can assist in protecting your rights, request your free and confidential consultation today.
We can be reached online or by phone at (402) 882-7080.