The Sad Truth of Nursing Home Abuse

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March 2, 2016

Abuse receives a great deal of attention in our society, but mainly within the realms of domestic and workplace abuse. Nursing home abuse, which is surprisingly prevalent, does not frequently receive the news coverage that it deserves. It is estimated that one in every ten seniors living in a nursing home or assisted living facility experiences what is called “elder abuse” every year, but many of these serious situations go unreported and unresolved. Even worse, nearly 2,000 deaths occur annually because of elder abuse. This is why Bellingham attorneys are constantly fighting for the rights of the elderly in the greater Seattle area.


Why Does Nursing Home Abuse Occur?

It sounds despicable to knowingly hurt a senior citizen, but many nursing homes and assisted living facilities are far more focused on their profits than providing appropriate care. Since government programs frequently fund elderly living organizations, nursing homes can collect government money, neglect appropriate protocol, and still enjoy extra revenue. These same places tend to be understaffed with poorly trained employees and high turnover rates.


Forms of Nursing Home Abuse

Elder abuse falls into many different categories, but the general concept of abuse is defined as “the willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or punishment with resulting physical harm, pain, or mental anguish.”


Gross neglect is one form of abuse that is especially prevalent in nursing homes. It occurs when staff members do not take appropriate care of seniors and fail to feed, clean, clothe, and shelter them as needed. This can result in malnutrition, filthy living conditions, bed sores, and untreated health problems. If this neglect occurs during a major health incident, it can also lead to death.


Physical abuse is the most common form of abuse in care facilities. It can include acts of violence like hitting and kicking, inappropriate use of drugs and physical constraints, or even force feeding.


If you have a loved one in a nursing home right now, watch for behavior that alerts to abuse such as injuries or sores that seem to linger, the caregiver’s refusal to let you visit with your loved one alone, or unexpected depressive behavior from your loved one. If you suspect abuse, contact Bellingham nursing home abuse attorney to explore your legal options.