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Personal InjuryNovember 08, 2023

Nursing Home Abuse Vs. Neglect: What's the Difference?

What You Need to Know If You Suspect Elder Abuse

Making the decision to place your loved one in a nursing home is never an easy one. However, when you do, you trust that the people caring for your elderly family member are treating them with the care and respect they deserve. But what if you suspect abuse? Is there a difference between nursing home abuse and neglect? And what should you look for if you fear your loved one may have become a victim?

If your loved one was abused or neglected while residing in a nursing home, contact the NYC nursing home abuse lawyers at The Case Handler. Together, we can help hold the abuser accountable and protect others from future harm. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Nursing Home Abuse Statistics

Though it is hard for most of us to imagine, nursing home abuse is shockingly common. The following are some alarming statistics on just how prevalent elder abuse is in the U.S.

  • An estimated 4 million Americans over the age of 65 are abused each year in the United States.
  • A recent study of over 2,000 nursing home residents found that almost 50% said they had experienced some form of abuse.
  • Over 50% of nursing home staff members admitted to neglecting or abusing at least one elderly resident.
  • Sadly, authorities estimate that only 1 in 24 cases of elder abuse is reported to the authorities.

What is Considered Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing home abuse is considered any psychological, emotional, or physical harm inflicted on a resident by a fellow resident, facility visitor, or staff member. 

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

Abuse can take many forms, but it is typically placed in the following four categories.

Physical Abuse - Any intentional bodily injury to a resident is considered physical abuse. Examples include slapping, pinching, punching, kicking, shoving, choking, or misusing drugs or physical restraints.

Emotional Abuse - Perpetrators of abuse can exercise authority over or manipulate an elderly resident by using insults, threats, name-calling, criticism, embarrassment, and dismissiveness. 

Sexual Abuse - Unwanted sexual contact is considered sexual abuse. Nursing home residents are especially vulnerable as they often suffer from mental or physical impairment. 

Financial Abuse - Caregivers can take a victim’s cash, credit, or other assets for their own financial gain. Examples include stealing cash, misusing the victim’s checkbook or credit cards, and manipulating the resident into changing their will.

Is Nursing Home Abuse Different than Neglect?

Although both abuse and neglect cause great harm to those residing in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities, they are different. While abuse is an intentional act, nursing home neglect can be either intentional or unintentional and is typically more common than abuse. Types of nursing home neglect include the following:

Medical Neglect - It is considered medical neglect when a caretaker fails to prevent or address medical concerns, such as bedsores, infections, cognitive disorders, or the need for medication.

Basic Needs Neglect - Failing to provide adequate amounts of food or water or failing to maintain a clean and safe environment within the facility is considered the neglect of a resident’s basic needs.

Personal Hygiene Neglect - Not providing adequate assistance to maintain the resident’s personal hygiene, such as assisting them with brushing their teeth, combing their hair, bathing, or doing laundry, is also a form of neglect.

Emotional or Social Neglect - Staff can neglect the emotional or social needs of a resident by ignoring them, not allowing them to socialize with other residents, or leaving them alone for extended periods of time.

What to Look for If You Suspect Neglect

If a loved one is in a nursing home, it is important to know the signs of elder neglect. When visiting your family member, look for the following signs:

  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Bed sores
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Untreated illness or health conditions
  • Unsanitary or unsafe living environment
  • Emotional or social withdrawal

Call The Case Handler to Learn More

If you suspect someone you love has become the victim of nursing home abuse, you must act quickly first to ensure their safety but also to make sure those responsible are held accountable for the harm they have caused. That is why it is best to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced nursing home neglect lawyer can help you report your suspicions, take steps to ensure your family is safe, determine whether abuse or neglect occurred, and find out who is responsible.

At The Case Handler, our compassionate nursing home abuse attorneys in NYC are dedicated to putting an end to all forms of elder abuse and neglect. We will take all of the necessary steps to hold the perpetrators of the neglect responsible for their actions and prevent the abusers from having the opportunity to commit any future harm. Contact us online to speak to one of our attorneys for FREE.

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