More than 1.5 million people currently reside in nursing homes. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That's due in part to the aging of the "baby boomer" generation. A growing nursing home population also means an increase in the incidence of nursing home abuse and neglect.
How common is the problem? Studies compiled by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) indicate that 10% of all nursing home residents have suffered some form of abuse in the previous year. This information, coupled with other studies referenced by the NCEA, suggests that only a fraction of nursing home abuse incidents are reported.
In light of these trends, it is important to understand the warning signs of nursing home injury or abuse. Because nursing home caretakers are often the perpetrators of this abuse, the responsibility of recognizing the abuse and reporting the incidents typically falls to family members or friends. Read on to learn more.
There are several types of abuse or injury that nursing home residents may suffer. These include:
The warning signs can vary from person to person and from situation to situation. Because the types of abuse and injury are so broad, it is important to understand that the warning signs may not always be typical nor what you would expect in a given situation. Both the Administration on Aging (AOA) and the National Institute on Aging suggest watching for the following developments that may indicate an instance of abuse or injury:
Warning Signs of Physical Abuse
Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse
Warning Signs of Sexual Abuse
Warning Signs of Neglect or Abandonment
Warning Signs of Financial Exploitation
Warning Signs of Healthcare Fraud
If you suspect that a resident of a nursing home may be a victim of abuse, as a first step, consider calling 911 or your local law enforcement authority. You may also want to get in touch with Adult Protective Services.
It may also be time to contact a Nursing Home Lawyer in your area to discuss your situation. Because each state has different procedures in place to protect nursing home residents, the lawyer can assist you with reporting the abuse to the appropriate state agency, and can follow up on any reports that have been made to local law enforcement agencies. You and your lawyer can also discuss what additional legal steps might be appropriate.