The prevalence of abuse and neglect in American nursing homes is staggering. According to the National Council on Aging, each year, as many as 500,000 older Americans are subjected to one or more forms of elder abuse. While not every instance of elder abuse or neglect occurs in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, a staggering number of these events take place in such residences. Heartbreakingly, many residents – because they have nowhere else to go, are afraid of burdening their loved ones, or are afraid of retaliation – fail to report such mistreatment to anyone. As a result, even if your loved one who resides in a long-term care facility is ordinarily capable of advocating on their own behalf, they may be suffering in silence for any number of reasons.
As a result, you may need to be your loved one’s advocate even if they won’t admit to you what is going on. This is an unquestionably tough position to be in, especially if you cannot verify that your loved one is being abused or neglected and all you have to go on is your guts. Thankfully, there are lawyers who have extensive experience practicing nursing home law and understand how to support advocates like yourself during uncertain times. With their help, you can uncover the truth – whatever that truth may be.
Spotting Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
As an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer – including those who practice at Kreizer Law – can confirm, the signs of abuse and neglect are not always obvious, due in great part to the fact that the symptoms that victims exhibit can also manifest as a result of other influences. For example, a patient who is chronically dehydrated may be suffering as a result of neglect. However, they could also be grappling with other conditions that are aggravating their hydration status. Many memory patients, for example, struggle with swallowing and often become hydrated as a result.
With that said, if something “feels wrong” to you, don’t ignore it. The abuse and neglect of vulnerable persons is one area of life in which the “gut instinct” of loved ones can mean the difference between rescue and continued mistreatment. Even if your feelings are unfounded, the worst you can say is that you spoke with an attorney about your fears in order to help ensure that they were objectively confirmed or denied.