Nearly 30 percent of all nursing home abuse complaints are related to physical injuries, according to research from the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), and 14 percent of nursing home abuse complaints stem from gross neglect, which can likewise inflict physical harm or contribute to severe medical problems in elderly residents.
Causes of Nursing Home Injuries
Injuries sustained by residents in nursing homes or assisted-living facilities are often caused by caregiver negligence or deliberately harmful acts. Common contributing factors include:
- Falls due to wet floors, broken handrails or bedrails, unexpected obstacles, poor lighting, or other unsafe conditions
- Inappropriate use of restraints
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Insufficient food and water
- Medication errors or intentional overmedication
- Inadequate personal care or unsanitary living conditions
- Deficient staff training
- Delayed treatment for existing injuries or medical conditions
Because many nursing home residents are unable or unwilling to communicate instances of abuse or neglect, it’s important for loved ones to be vigilant for injuries and signs of negligence.
Common Nursing Home Injuries
Common injuries related to nursing home negligence or abuse include:
- Bed sores, also known as pressure ulcers
- Broken or fractured bones
- Back and spine injuries
- Burn injuries
- Head and brain injuries
The NCEA estimates that approximately 14 million U.S. adults age 65 and older suffer from some form of physical or mental disability. Those who live in nursing homes or assisted-care centers frequently have pre-existing conditions that can exacerbate the risks of an otherwise minor injury such as a laceration or broken bone.
Signs of Nursing Home Neglect
Physical and behavioral signs that a nursing home resident may be suffering in silence from neglect or abuse include:
- Bruises, abrasions or other unexplained minor injuries
- Bedsores from remaining in a stationary position for an extended period of time
- Unclean clothing or bedding, or other unsanitary conditions
- Poor personal hygiene
- Frequent illnesses
- Sudden weight loss or other indicators of malnutrition or dehydration
- Social withdrawal or depression
- Fear of being left alone
For the safety of your loved one and the well-being of others, it’s critical to take action as soon as possible if you suspect elder abuse.
What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
If you believe a family member or loved one is in immediate danger, call 911 or local law enforcement.
Nursing homes and other assisted-care facilities may be held liable for injuries suffered by those in their care. If you notice changes in physical condition, personality, behavior or finances that lead you to suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, the attorneys at Carr & Carr are ready to help you take immediate action.
With offices in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Springdale, Arkansas, our compassionate attorneys are here when you need us most. Please contact us online or call 888-241-3130 for your free consultation.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Fact Sheet: Understanding Elder Abuse; http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/em-factsheet-a.pdf
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Home and Recreational Safety: Falls in Nursing Homes; http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/nursing.html
National Center on Elder Abuse; Research Brief: Abuse of Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities; http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/Resources/Publication/docs/LTCF_ResearchBrief_web508.pdf
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging; What is Elder Abuse?; http://www.aoa.gov/AoA_programs/elder_rights/EA_prevention/whatisEA.aspx