One Out of Every Dozen Seniors Is a Victim of Elder Abuse

Virginia Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

As the number of baby boomers continues to age, the number of nursing home residents will increase. Tragically, this also means that the number of nursing home abuse and neglect cases will also rise. According to statistics from the National Center on Elder Abuse, one in 13 seniors has been a victim of at least one form of elder abuse in the past 12 months. Even more alarming is the evidence that those seniors who suffer from dementia are often targets of abuse, with at least half of dementia patients victimized.

Because nursing home abuse has become so prevalent, it is critical for families of residents to understand the different types of abuse and to recognize signs that their loved one may be a victim.

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

The following are the most common types of nursing home abuse that the Virginia personal injury attorneys at our firm handle:

  • Physical Abuse: This is one of the most widespread types of abuse that occurs in nursing homes every day. Any resident who is subjected to shoving, hitting, pushing, biting, or beating is a physical abuse victim. Physical abuse can also include force-feeding the resident or inappropriate use of drugs. If a nursing home resident has unexplained injuries, such as fractures, bruises, or other wounds, families should take immediate action. Red flags should also be raised if nursing home staff do not allow visitors to spend any time alone with the resident.
  • Emotional Abuse: The actions of nursing home staff do not have to be just physical to be considered abuse. Other ways residents are subjected to abuse is when staff uses verbal and nonverbal acts to humiliate, intimidate, or insult the resident. This can cause the resident anguish, anxiety, and distress. If your elderly loved one becomes withdrawn or non-responsible, this can be a sign of emotional abuse.
  • Sexual Abuse: Another tragic – and far too common – form of nursing home abuse is sexual abuse. This happens when a resident is the victim of non-consensual sexual contact. Some signs a resident may be a sexual abuse victim include bruising around the genital area or breasts, genital infections, and bloody or torn underclothing.
  • Financial Abuse: Financial exploitation is becoming more and more common by nursing home staff. This happens when an unauthorized person accesses the resident’s assets, funds, or property. Some of the more common ways this is done include cashing a resident’s check with their permission or forging the resident’s signature. Watch for any unauthorized withdrawal of funds from your senior’s accounts or missing property.

Nursing home residents can also suffer abuse when they are targeted for neglect by staff. When nursing home staff fails to fulfill the duties and obligations owed to the resident, such as providing food, medication, personal hygiene, and clothing, they are guilty of neglect. Signs of neglect include dehydration, malnutrition, bedsores left untreated, and poor hygiene.

Recognizing the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing homes are meant to be places of care, comfort, and safety for our elderly loved ones. However, the unfortunate reality is that nursing home abuse is a pervasive issue that can harm some of our most vulnerable citizens. To protect your loved ones, it’s crucial to be aware of the signs that may indicate nursing home abuse.

Physical Signs

  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, or injuries
  • Frequent falls or fractures
  • Bedsores (pressure ulcers) indicating neglect
  • Malnutrition or dehydration
  • Unsanitary living conditions

Emotional and Psychological Signs

  • Sudden changes in behavior or mood
  • Withdrawal from social activities or family visits
  • Fear or anxiety around certain staff members
  • Unwarranted aggression or agitation
  • Symptoms of depression, including sadness and apathy

Financial Signs

  • Unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts
  • Missing personal items or valuables
  • Changes in wills or estate plans without explanation
  • Coercion or manipulation for money or property

Verbal or Emotional Abuse

  • Insults, belittling, or humiliation
  • Threats, intimidation, or yelling
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Ignoring or neglecting the resident’s emotional needs

Medication Mismanagement:

  • Overmedication or undermedication.
  • Medications administered without proper consent.
  • Unexplained side effects or adverse reactions

Poor Hygiene and Neglect

  • Dirty or soiled clothing or bedding
  • Lack of personal hygiene care, such as bathing or grooming
  • Infrequent diaper changes for incontinent residents
  • Inadequate assistance with mobility or toileting

Unexplained Weight Loss or Health Deterioration

  • Rapid and unexplained weight loss
  • Frequent illnesses or infections
  • Failure to address chronic health conditions

Social Isolation

  • Staff discouraging or preventing residents from interacting with others
  • Restricted visitation hours or contact with family and friends

Recognizing these signs is the first step in addressing nursing home abuse. If you suspect any form of mistreatment, it’s crucial to take immediate action. Document the signs, report your concerns to the nursing home administration, and contact local authorities or regulatory agencies if necessary.

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, Washburn & Sharp, 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.