June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Over the past year, almost 1 in 6 elderly people experienced some form of abuse, including psychological, financial, neglect, physical, and sexual, according to figures published by the World Health Organization. The organization collected data from 52 studies in 28 countries.
Psychological abuse is the most common form of elder abuse, according to the World Health Organization. Under this form of abuse, a caregiver will call an elderly person names and take other steps to embarrass them, degrade them, or prevent them from seeing friends and family members. Financial abuse involves mishandling an elderly person’s money or assets, such as when a nursing home fraudulently bills the patient for unnecessary medical treatment. Neglect entails failing to meet a resident’s basic needs in order for that person to live properly, including nutrition, cleanliness, and medical care.
Elder abuse is a hot-button issue worldwide, as the number of people aged 60 is expected to double by 2050. Organizations across the world are trying to increase awareness of elder abuse and highlight how prevalent it is, as one study estimated that only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse actually get reported to authorities. Certain elderly people are embarrassed to report the abuse, while others think that nobody would believe them. For patients with cognitive disorders or dementia, they simply may not remember the abuse even taking place, which makes them physically unable to report it to somebody else.
Identifying potential abuse at an early stage can be critical in stopping it from happening going forward. There are signs that you can look for when visiting a loved one. They include unexplained bruises, dirty living conditions (such as unclean sheets), sudden weight loss, and skin discoloration. If your parent or grandparent looks frail, it may be because the nurses are not following dietary instructions or ensuring that he or she is receiving proper nutrients.
If a loved one has been neglected in a nursing home or long term care facility, a claim for damages may be asserted against the nurse, doctor, facility, or other party that caused the abuse or allowed it to take place. Nursing home negligence cases in Tennessee and other states are brought under a variety of causes of action, including:
- Emotional and psychological abuse
- Failure to provide basic necessities, leading to malnutrition or dehydration
- Sexual assault
- Financial abuse, including Medicare or Medicaid fraud
To succeed on a nursing home abuse case, it is typically necessary to obtain expert testimony to prove that the doctor or facility deviated from the relevant standard of care. An expert witness will want to review the patient’s medical history as well as records from the facility in question.
Call Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz at 1-800-LAW-4004 if you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected. We offer a free consultation, and our nursing home abuse lawyers are interested in speaking with you and assessing your situation. Each state will have its own statute of limitation governing the deadline by which these claims must be asserted. Failure to abide by the deadline can result in the claim being dismissed, which means the patient’s right to recover and seek justice can be lost forever.