There comes a time when many elderly people can no longer take care of themselves. In such instances, they’ll often end up in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. If your loved one is in such a community, you no doubt fully trusted the healthcare professionals and staff on site. Unfortunately, such trust is sometimes violated. If you believe your loved one is being mistreated, you might wonder what qualifies as nursing home abuse and what you can do. This guide will provide the insight you need.
What’s the Definition of Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse is any type of intentional or deliberate act that causes harm or creates the risk of harm to a nursing home resident. When people envision such abuse in their heads, they typically think of slapping, pushing, and other physical behaviors. While these acts certainly fall into the right category, they’re not the only types of nursing home abuse our law offices have seen. For instance, all of the following qualify as abuse:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Financial abuse
As you can see, many of these issues may not be easily noticed. For instance, no one is going to ask “is this nursing home abuse?” when they’re not aware their loved one is being financially manipulated. Unfortunately, there may be no signs of this whatsoever. In fact, it’s possible for many types of abuse to show no outward signs. This is why it’s important to remain vigilant and trust your instincts.
Nursing Home Abuse vs Nursing Home Neglect
Many people confuse the terms nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect. This is a simple mistake to make, and in the grand scheme of things, the distinction may not matter if your loved one suffers an injury. That’s because your family may be entitled to financial compensation regardless of whether negligence or abuse led to an injury or losses. Still, abuse is often a far more serious charge because it often conveys an intent to harm.
On the other hand, neglect often involves a lack of action. For instance, perhaps a bedridden loved one wasn’t properly turned over to avoid bedsores. Maybe the staff did not provide proper supervision and a visitor assaulted a resident. Neglect can result from understaffing, lack of training, and other negligent acts. While there may be no intent to harm, the outcome is often the same or even worse than intentional abuse.
What Can You Do About Nursing Home Abuse?
Fortunately, nursing home abuse isn’t just an accepted event. Even when nursing home deaths attributed to abuse and neglect increased dramatically during COVID-19, the understaffing, overworked employees, and other underlying issues were not valid excuses. Just because there are reasons for such issues does not mean nursing home communities are off the hook. If you believe your elderly loved one is being mistreated, it’s important for you to contact a Dover, DE nursing home abuse attorney.
Even before that point, though, you must ensure your loved one isn’t in harm’s way. If you believe there is an imminent threat of danger to your elderly relative or other residents, you should contact the police immediately. Of course, there are instances when simple misunderstandings may be the culprit. This is why it never hurts to ask about issues with the staff. If you’re committed to discovering the truth, however, an attorney can help. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation. We’ll try to pinpoint exactly what’s going on.