The aging population (age 85 and older) in the United States is expected to explode from an approximate 8.5 million recorded in 2010, to an estimated 19 million by 2050. A large majority of this population will find themselves in nursing homes and other long term care facilities. Studies show that in these facilities, approximately 95 percent of residents may experience neglect, and 29 percent will experience some form of physical abuse.
Nursing home abuse and neglect can touch the lives of anyone, whether it’s a parent, grandparent or other loved one. A study by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) found that over 50 percent of nursing home staff admitted to mistreating (in the form of physical violence, sexual abuse or mental abuse) older patients within the prior year.
Hupy and Abraham sees the physical abuse of the elderly as a problem that negatively impacts our society. Living in a society in which elder abuse is common can contribute to an apprehension about getting older, and therefore fuel dissention and anxiety. This results in elderly citizens that have a 300 percent higher risk of death than those that have not experienced abuse.
Signs of physical abuse:
- A history of injuries or hospitalizations for similar injuries accompanied by varied or incongruent explanation of how they occurred from staff or caregivers.
- Unusual change in the resident’s personality or behavior such as fear of touching, sucking, biting and rocking may be symptoms of physical abuse.
- Unexplained withdrawal from typical activities or social interaction that the elderly patient enjoys.
- Arguments or tension between staff members and the resident.
- Actual physical signs such as bruises, welts, broken bones and indicators of constraint marks, particularly around the wrists, ankles and neck.
Abuse is an invisible problem due to many residents’ failure to speak up. Often times, elderly persons also struggle with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, which can prevent the reporting of abuse. When physical abuse occurs, it is generally because of some form of negligence in the facility. If you notice any of the above signs of physical abuse, you must act immediately.
Nursing home abuse and neglect needs to be reported. Take the following steps if your loved one shows signs of physical abuse:
- If your loved one admits that he or she was the victim of physical abuse, immediately report the incident to the police and get emergency medical help.
- Remain vigilant and watch for continued signs of physical abuse.
- Contact the State Agency responsible for monitoring nursing homes and request an investigation of the resident’s claims of abuse.
- Wisconsin clients contact WI DHS – Division of Quality Assurance: 800-642-6552
- Illinois clients contact IL Department of Public Health: 800-252-4343
- Iowa clients contact IA Department of Inspections and Appeals: 877-686-0027
- Hold the nursing home accountable for necessary safety changes. You can help advance these changes by knowing your loved one’s legal rights and pursuing appropriate legal action for abuse and neglect injuries.
- Contact experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys like Hupy and Abraham, who will offer a free consultation.
Hupy and Abraham has a proven track record of success when it comes to helping victims of nursing home negligence and abuse. If you believe your loved one is being physically abused, take action. Please call us at 800-800-5678 to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation today.