Because of the limited ability of states to adequately monitor long-term care facilities, our nursing home abuse attorneys are here to protect the vulnerable rights of seniors. The state of senior care in the U.S. is a mixed one at best, and Burg Simpson’s elderly-specific personal injury lawyers are becoming more needed as the senior population continues to grow. The good news is that American seniors from all races are living longer and are better educated than ever. The tragic news is obesity rates among seniors are rising, more of them are divorced or otherwise alone, and Alzheimer’s rates are increasing. All these factors suggest to researchers that the need for qualified, trustworthy nursing home care will more than double by 2030.
The 2010 U.S. Census Bureau report revealed that the U.S. had more seniors than ever before: more than 40 million, or 13 percent of the total population. Baby boomers – born between 1946 and 1964 – will require care in the future. To illustrate the massive impact of this demographic, it’s worth noting that one baby boomer turns 65 every 10 seconds. By 2050, experts predict seniors will number more than 98 million, or nearly one-quarter of the U.S. population.
The increased demand for elder care, paired with tight budgets limiting the ability of states to monitor conditions in long-term care facilities adequately, makes for a perfect storm that can leave at-risk seniors in danger. People in these facilities are nearing the end of their lives and are owed – at the very least – the utmost dignity and respect. Most of them are also living with multiple chronic conditions, making them particularly vulnerable to abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
If you have a family member you suspect is being abused or neglected, call one of Burg Simpson’s nursing home neglect lawyers at (866) 234-7768 or fill out a FREE case evaluation form.
Types of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse can take many forms and is frequently perpetuated by caregivers and other nursing home or assisted living staff. According to the National Council on Aging, the most frequent types of elder abuse include:
- Physical abuse: Physical pain and/or injury inflicted on a senior
- Sexual abuse: Any touching, fondling, intercourse, or any other sexual activity with an older adult, when that person is unable to understand or consent, is threatened, or forced physically.
- Emotional abuse: This can include verbal assaults, threats of abuse, harassment, and/or intimidation
- Confinement: Restraining and/or isolating a senior resident, aside from medical reasons
- Passive neglect: A failure to provide an older adult with basic necessities, including but not limited to food, clothing, shelter, or medical care
- Willful deprivation: Denying an older adult medication, medical care, shelter, food, a therapeutic device, or other physical assistance, and exposing that person to the risk of physical, mental, or emotional harm.
- Financial exploitation: The misuse of withholding of a senior’s financial resources by another.
The Warning Signs of Nursing Home Neglect
While few researchers can agree on the prevalence of nursing home neglect and abuse, nearly everyone agrees these cases go vastly underreported. In fact, one study suggests that only one out of every 14 cases is actually reported to the authorities. According to the NCOA, there are several warning signs family members should look for, such as:
- Physical abuse, neglect or mistreatment: Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, and/or burns
- Emotional abuse: Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, or unusual depression, strained or tense relationships, frequent arguments between the caregiver and the older adult
- Financial abuse: Sudden changes in financial situations
- Neglect: Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, and/or unusual weight loss
- Verbal abuse: Belittling, threats, or other uses of power and control by individuals
The problem isn’t just limited to nursing homes. In 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control, 67,000 paid, regulated, long-term care service providers cared for approximately 9 million people in the U.S. There are multiple types of care facilities, including:
- 30,200 assisted living/residential care communities
- 15,600 nursing homes
- 12,400 home health agencies
- 4,800 adult services centers
- 4,000 hospices
What to Do If You Suspect Abuse or Neglect
If you suspect your loved on is suffering from nursing home negligence, there are several steps you should take as soon as possible:
- Have your personal injury lawyer send a letter to the facility in question to request all evidence and records be preserved and immediately obtain a copy of those records. Contact a lawyer immediately before critical records or lost or destroyed forever. By the time you have realized something might be wrong, it is possible the records kept at the facility could have been destroyed already.
- Relocate the patient to a new facility quickly. There is nothing more important than your loved one getting the care they need as soon as possible. You need to know right away whether Medicare or Medicaid are involved. Depending upon the level of care your loved one receives, there are different regulations and laws that apply to maintaining records and reporting requirements. Maintain your own records with dates and notes about the situation.
- Contact the authorities in your state and alert them to the situation. Make notes about your contact with the authorities and keep a copy of the report they provide. The website eldercare.gov offers a comprehensive list of the proper resources for each state.
- Hiring an experienced legal team is essential to investigate, gather evidence, and present the case against a nursing home. We understand nursing home residents are extremely vulnerable. Burg Simpson will fight for the rights of you and your loved ones.
Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer at Burg Simpson Today
If you have a loved one you suspect is experiencing elder neglect or abuse, one of our nursing home abuse attorneys at Burg Simpson can help.
The biggest mistake you can make is try to handle this complex situation on your own. Call the nursing home neglect lawyers for help today at (866) 344-7582 or fill out a FREE case evaluation form to get started.