The questions on this page were answered by our team of Virginia Beach & Norfolk personal injury attorneys. The questions are categorized by practice area such as car accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death, etc. If you have specific questions about your situation, contact our firm to set up a free consultation with an actual attorney.
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What Are the Signs of Elder Abuse and Neglect?
Elder abuse is defined as the intentional or negligent actions by a caregiver or other trusted individual that causes pain and suffering in an elderly person. There are several categories of elder abuse, including physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and financial exploitation. While it is not always easy to detect, there are red flags that can signal that this crime is occurring. If you suspect an elderly loved one is a victim of elderly abuse, contact a Virginia nursing home abuse attorney from Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn to find out what legal recourse you may have.
Identifying Elder Neglect
Many seniors reach the point in their lives that they are no longer physically or mentally be able to live on their own and take care of themselves. When this happens, many families turn to nursing homes or assisted living facilities and entrust them the care of their loved ones. Tragically, many of these facilities fail to provide adequate attention and care seniors need and this neglect affects the physical and emotional health of the resident. The facility may fail to provide a proper diet or needed medical treatment to the resident or fail to provide safe living conditions. Signs that every family should watch for and take immediate action to protect the resident include:
- The resident is having trouble sleeping
- The resident is left in their bed for extended periods of time with no supervision
- The resident is losing weight
- The resident is missing needed medical aids (i.e. glasses, hearing aids, walkers)
- The resident is not dressed properly for the current weather conditions
- The resident suffers recurring bedsores
- There is a lack of basic hygiene for the resident
Identifying Physical or Sexual Abuse
Families should also look for signs of physical or sexual abuse, as well. When a resident is being abused, there are often changes in their mood, appearance, and body language. Unexplained physical injuries, such as bruises or broken bones, sexually transmitted diseases, or torn clothing, are also signs that your loved one may be a victim of abuse.
Identifying Financial Exploitation
While this type of abuse is more prevalent with seniors who live on their own, it is becoming more and more common for elders who live in nursing homes or assisted care facilities. These are the most common signs:
- Missing bank statements
- Suspected forged signatures on checks
- Financial payments from the resident to a caregiver
- The resident is missing cash
- The resident is missing jewelry or other valuable items
Let a Skilled Virginia Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Help
If your elderly loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact a Virginia nursing home abuse attorney to find out what legal recourse your family may have. At Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn, we have been aggressively advocating for victims for more than three decades and have helped many nursing home abuse victims receive compensation for their injuries, as well as hold the perpetrators who committed the abuse responsible.
Contact our office today to set up a free and confidential consultation with one of our dedicated nursing home abuse attorneys today.
- Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
- Virginia Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
- Why Do Caregivers Neglect Patients in Nursing Homes?
What are the legal consequences for those who commit nursing home abuse?
The consequences for someone who commits nursing home abuse is usually based on the situation. The perpetrator could be fired, have a restraining order issued against them, or have their medical license suspended or revoked. In some cases, they may even end up in jail. There may also be civil consequences where the victim of the abuse is awarded financial compensation for the injuries they suffered.
What evidence is used to prove nursing home abuse?
A Virginia nursing home abuse attorney will explain what type of evidence will be needed for your loved one’s situation. Photos of injuries and statements from witnesses are strong evidence in a case. Your attorney may also use the victim’s medical records to show evidence of abuse or neglect. There may even be other residents who come forward because they too have been victimized.
What should a family do if they suspect their loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse?
It is critical to take immediate action. Notify the nursing home administrator. You should also notify the Adult Protective Services Division of the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS). Depending on the type of abuse, you may also want to notify local law enforcement. A Virginia nursing home abuse attorney can assist your family in reporting the abuse and pursuing action against those responsible.
What are the signs a nursing home resident is being overmedicated?
- Appearing to be “out of it”
- Becoming easily confused
- Changes in the resident’s appetite
- Excessive fatigue
- Sleeping more than usual
- Sudden withdrawal from everyone
- Unexplained changes in personality
- Unexplained medical complications
- Unusual physical symptoms
How often does overmedication in nursing homes happen?
According to an investigation by NPR, there are approximately 300,000 American nursing home residents are currently being given antipsychotic medication. These medications were developed for treatment of conditions like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia; however, nursing homes often give it to dementia patients as a way to sedate them. This exposes these residents to dangerous side effects such as heart attack risk, risk of infection, and death. Keep in mind that overmedicating a patient is a form of physical abuse.
What should a family do if they suspect their loved one is a victim of nursing home overmedication?
If a family suspects their loved one is being overmedicated, they should contact a nursing home abuse attorney to find out what legal recourse they have for justice. In addition to civil legal action against the nursing home and staff, the attorney may advise the family to report the overmedication to the appropriate municipal, state, and/or federal agencies. The attorney may also recommend filing a criminal complaint with law enforcement depending on the circumstances of the abuse.
How many senior citizens are exposed to abuse each year, with some leading to serious personal injury?National statistics state that 5 million American seniors are victims of some type of abuse annually. If you suspect your loved one has been abused physically or sexually at home or in a nursing home, you should contact the police, and eventually a elder abuse attorney to consider legal steps.
What are some of the most common negligent acts in North Carolina nursing home abuse cases?The most common include inadequate resident hygiene standards; inattention to injuries or illnesses; mismanaged medication; not giving appropriate clothing; not giving enough food and water; and prolonged isolation of residents.
What are the risk factors for seniors and sexual abuse?
Any resident of a nursing home is at risk; however, studies show the following factors causes that risk to spike:
- Seniors who have no support system in place, such as family or friends
- Seniors who suffer from dementia. Statistics reveal that almost 50 percent of dementia patients have suffered some form of abuse.
- Seniors who have already experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, or other trauma in their past.
- Seniors who are in poor health or are functionally impaired.