When you place your elderly loved one in the care of a nursing home, it is with the belief that the staff will provide them the medical attention and care that you couldn’t at your home. However, nursing home abuse is a growing concern that can put the health and safety of your aging loved ones in danger if not addressed promptly.
According to estimates made by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are about two million individuals who are 65 years of age or older in the United States who are residents of one of the 16,000 nursing homes. Unfortunately, with the increasing number of patients, the probability of the elderly receiving proper attention and medical care decreases significantly, making it a major cause of concern.
The Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse, also known as elder abuse, refers to the injuries or ill-treatment suffered by an aging or elderly person at a nursing home. The following are some common types of elder abuse that aging people suffer from in nursing homes:
In this type of abuse, people treat or speak to aging individuals in ways that result in emotional distress or pain. It is also known as mental and psychological abuse, and includes:
- Ignoring the elderly person
- Habitual scapegoating or blaming
- Ridicule and humiliation
- Intimidation through threats or yelling
- Terrorizing the elderly person
- Isolating the elderly person from friends or family, or from taking part in activities
The National Center on Elder Abuse defines physical abuse as, any physical force used on an elderly person that might result in pain, injury, or impairment. Some examples of physical abuse include pushing, violently shaking, forced feeding, whipping, kicking, slapping, punching, hitting, and burning. Moreover, confinement, restraints, and the inappropriate use of drugs also falls under this category.
The elderly are highly susceptible to financial exploitation and fraud. When the residents of a nursing home have health issues, like poor eyesight or failing mental capacity, they often have to rely on others to perform basic tasks such as writing checks, managing bank accounts, and reading mails. This reliance makes them an easy target for financial abuse.
Sexual abuse refers to the unwanted or forced sexual activity, in which the perpetrator engages the elderly person through deception, brute force, threats, or taking advantage of their mental or physical incapacity. Sexual abuse can involve exposure to genitalia, unwelcome kissing, unwanted touch, molestation, fondling, penetrative intercourse, and other acts.
Healthcare Abuse and Fraud
This type of abuse is carried out by nursing home personnel, nurses, doctors, and other professional care providers. The following are some examples of healthcare abuse and fraud relating to elderly people:
- Overcharging for medical care services
- Charging for medical care or services, but not providing them
- Undermedicating or overmedicating
- Medicaid fraud
- Recommending unnecessary drugs or treatments for medical conditions