Personal injury attorney Jacksonville Edwards & Ragatz have professionals who are familiar with nursing home abuse. As the population of the United States has continued to age, more families are forced to consider long-term skilled nursing care for their parents, and in some cases, grandparents. According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2016, those over the age of 65 grew to 15.4 percent of the population, an increase of nearly three percent over 2000. This means more of us need to be aware of how nursing home abuse, which is medical malpractice, can potentially grow over the next several years.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Unfortunately, statistics on abuse in nursing homes is difficult to find because there are estimated to be hundreds of cases annually which are never reported. However, should you be considering placing a loved one in a skilled facility, you should be aware of the types of abuse that can occur which include:
- Physical abuse – when a vulnerable senior is deprived of basic needs or is subjected to threats of or actual physical abuse.
- Emotional abuse – unfortunately, in some skilled care facilities, the most vulnerable among us may be subjected to mental pain and distress. This type of abuse can be verbal and nonverbal on the part of the abuser.
- Sexual abuse – unfortunately, seniors may be subjected to nonconsensual sex or may be forced to view sexual contact between others.
- Financial exploitation – it is possible for seniors to be duped into changing the ownership of their financial accounts, have money or property stolen, or have someone obtain legal permission to gain access to their accounts for illegal purposes.
- Neglectful care – unfortunately, too often seniors are denied health care, food, and other basic needs by the very people who are to be caring for them.
These are some of the most common types of abuse that can happen in skilled nursing facilities. In some instances, when a family has opted to not place their loved one into a nursing home, they may hire someone to come into the senior’s home and provide care. In those cases, these types of incidents may be greater as there is less supervision. Nurses who work in a home setting also can be sued for medical malpractice if they have abused your loved one.
Being Aware of Warning Signs
Personal injury attorney Jacksonville Edwards & Ragatz wants you to be aware of potential warning signs. For family members, it is important to watch for signs that a loved one is being abused. Some of the signs are easy to spot, for example, broken bones, burns, bruises, or abrasions can be clear indications of physical abuse. However, there are other changes you should be aware of such as a sudden change in your loved one’s behavior. In some instances, those who are suffering from abuse could show signs of depression, be lashing out at loved ones, or may not be as alert as you are accustomed to seeing them. These signs are not always signs of abuse, but they may be.
If you suspect your loved one is being abused by a caretaker, either in their home, or in a skilled nursing facility, it is important you follow up and ask questions of the caregivers as well as your loved one. If you feel there is grounds, you may wish to report suspected abuse to state organizations who are specially trained to investigate incidents of abuse. Keep in mind, medical malpractice lawsuits are typically based on the fact a medical professional failed in their duty. If you learn your loved one is a victim of any type of abuse, you should contact an attorney who handles elder abuse as part of their medical malpractice cases. No senior should suffer at the hands of those entrusted with their care.
If you or a loved one suffered from any form of medical malpractice, allow a personal injury attorney Jacksonville with experience in medical malpractice provide a free consultation. An attorney can provide you with legal assistance to determine if you have a case and help you receive compensation for your injuries. Contact an esteemed personal Jacksonville medical malpractice attorney at Edwards & Ragatz for a free consultation: (800) 366-1609; locally – (904) 399-1609; or through our website www.edwardsragatz.com