Who wouldn’t want their parents living out their golden years in a lovely home with all the comfort and care in the world? In an ideal setting, this is what a nursing home should provide – an environment where the elderly feel loved, safe, and in good hands.
Truthfully, some reputable homes keep up their end of the bargain, and we laud them for it. Unfortunately, the disturbing truth is that not all facilities uphold the virtuous values we may associate them with. Nursing home abuse has increasingly become a cause for concern, calling for an in-depth analysis of the situation.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
As it says in its name, nursing home abuse is the ill-treatment of individuals entrusted to long-term care facilities. Abuse can manifest either as physical or emotional. It can, nevertheless, also present as financial or sexual. And did you know that neglect is also part of this equation?
Needless to say, physical abuse revolves around the use of force, blunt or otherwise, resulting in bodily pain. In worst-case scenarios, the victim may suffer an injury that leaves them impaired. Emotional abuse, on the other hand, speaks to the distress and psychological trauma a victim may suffer on account of threats, intimidation, humiliation, insults, and isolation.
When it comes to sexual abuse, the perpetrator robs the victim of their dignity and violates their privacy and sense of self-worth. Neglect comes into play when an individual entrusted to a residential care facility has their daily needs intentionally unmet.
Financial abuse includes the unethical and illegal exploitation of a victim’s assets and other financial resources. The perp could outrightly steal from their victims, commit fraud, or coerce or deceive them into making transactions.
The Prevalence of Nursing Home Abuse
Cases of abuse in nursing homes often go undetected. In other instances, concerned parties may notice that something could be terribly wrong but fail to report their suspicions to the relevant authorities.
According to a 2022 report by the World Health Organization (WHO), 64.2% of staff in nursing homes and other similar institutional settings admitted to having perpetrated some form of elder abuse in the past year.
And while the National Center on Elder Abuse reports that 10% of nursing home residents and 47% of the same experience abuse and neglect or mistreatment, respectively, it is the position of the WHO that reported statistics are nowhere near the true picture of the problem at hand.
Factors Contributing to Prevalence
As is no secret, nursing homes are vulnerable institutions. In addition to the vulnerability in terms of old age and susceptibility to diseases that the elderly population brings, there is also the challenge of inadequate resources.
Residential facilities may be understaffed, or the personnel may be inadequately trained. Without a doubt, these two could easily be the two main factors contributing to the worrying prevalence of nursing home abuse. In other instances, however, insufficient oversight could be the major contributing factor.
The Warning Signs to Look Out For
Of course, we don’t need to tell you that early detection of abuse is crucial to avoid further harm. You, therefore, need to be well-versed on what signs to be on the lookout for.
Unexplained injuries scream physical abuse, while withdrawal and loss of confidence reeks of emotional or sexual abuse. Malnutrition and poor grooming speak to neglect, and if there are suspicious monetary transactions, it’s apt to suspect financial abuse.
If you notice distress or fear when your loved one is in the presence of a particular caregiver, chances are that this person could be their abuser. Would you rest knowing that justice is yet to be served?
Thankfully, all hope is not lost when it comes to this societal menace. If you happen to reside in Georgia, you have the good fortune of having this team of Atlanta nursing home abuse attorneys at your beck and call. If at all you suspect that your family or loved one is a victim, get in touch right away.
And yes, believe us when we say that it is perfectly okay to seek out the services of a nursing home abuse attorney, even on suspicion. As the saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry. With professional assistance, you’ll be playing an active role in weeding out the perpetrators masquerading as credible and reliable caregivers in a profession that should be an inherent calling.
Evidently, nursing home abuse is a vice that demands a call to action from society as a whole. And who exactly is society? Believe it or not, you are. You may consider yourself a lone ranger, but change starts when individuals come together and agree on a unified direction. Let’s value and protect our elderly population now.