Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
Attorneys for New Jersey Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Cases
Dansky | Katz | Ringold is one of the few New Jersey law firms to focus a significant part of its practice on representing victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. Our nursing home abuse lawyers believe everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect; especially vulnerable, elderly nursing home residents.
Nursing Home Law & Regulations
There are many state and federal laws that dictate and protect the rights of elderly Americans and dependent adults in assisted living facilities and nursing homes in New Jersey. Even with laws in place, nursing home abuse still takes place, so nursing home residents and their loved ones should understand their rights, including pursuing legal action.
Nursing home laws empower residents with specific rights and require nursing homes to maintain a high standard of healthcare. Along with the New Jersey Department of Health (DHSS), a number of public and private agencies maintain oversight of nursing homes in the Garden State.
These organizations audit nursing home facilities and investigate complaints, including allegations of abuse and neglect, directly from residents and from loved ones on their behalf.
Nursing Home Abuse Statistics
Nursing home abuse is not as uncommon as it should be. According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the pooled prevalence rate for elder abuse is 15.70%. Statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) further highlight this public health issue.
- Rates of elder abuse are high in institutions such as nursing homes and long-term care facilities, with 2 in 3 staff reporting that they have committed abuse in the past year.
- Around 1 in 6 people 60 years and older experienced some form of abuse in community settings during the past year.
- Elder abuse can lead to serious physical injuries and long-term psychological consequences.
- Elder abuse is predicted to increase as many countries are experiencing rapidly ageing populations.
Nursing home statistics are often unable to show the true prevalence of nursing home abuse is in America. Many cases of abuse and neglect go unreported as many nursing home residents have dementia or fear retaliation.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Physical abuse is physical force or violence used against another causing injury, pain or impairment. In a nursing home environment, physical abuse can also be considered neglect.
Signs of physical abuse of a resident in a nursing home might include:
- Abrasions that resemble injuries from straps or ropes
- Bed sores that do not heal
- Sudden weight loss, dehydration, malnutrition
If you think that your loved one is being physically abused in a nursing home, starting by talking with the staff. If the staff does not provide answers to your satisfaction, remove your loved one from the facility, and report it to the authorities.
Emotional and Psychological
Psychological abuse is verbally and emotionally manipulating another person to control their behavior by diminishing their sense of self worth, dignity and identity. It can include verbal humiliation, intimidation, and aggression.
Signs of emotional abuse of a resident in a nursing home might include:
- Avoids eye contact
- Appears scared, disturbed, or hopeless
- Has sudden changes in eating or sleeping patterns
- Seems depressed or withdrawn
In a nursing home environment, emotional and physical abuse is difficult to identify and often goes unreported. If you suspect emotional abuse is occurring, relocate your loved one to a safe environment and contact the appropriate authorities.
Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
Sexual abuse is sexual behavior by one person on another person who is unwilling or unable to give consent. In a nursing home situation, sometimes an elder with dementia or mental illness is targeted because they cannot communicate their lack of consent.
Signs of sexual abuse of a resident in a nursing home might include:
- Bruises on the inner thigh or genitals
- Irritation, pain or bleeding from the anus or genitals
- Torn, stained or bloody underwear
- An unexplained pelvic injury
If you think your loved one may be the target of sexual abuse in a nursing home, your first step is to ensure their safety, and then contact the proper authorities.
Financial Elder Abuse
As more Americans enter retirement age, elder financial exploitation is rising quickly. Financial abuse is the illegal or improper use of another person’s property, funds, or other assets. In a nursing home, financial abuse can be perpetrated by an employee of the facility or by the facility itself.
Signs of financial abuse of a resident in a nursing home might include:
- Checks frequently written to a caregiver or financial professional
- Changes suddenly made to a will or other financial documents
- Unexplained transfer of assets to another person
- Names added to a financial account
If you suspect there is financial abuse happening in your loved one’s nursing home, inform the authorities and consider filing a complaint with the appropriate agencies.
Common Causes of Abuse/Neglect
Research surrounding elder abuse and neglect focuses mainly on the effects to the elder themselves instead of the reasons for the abuse. However, the National Institute for Justice suggests:
- Abusers use violence to solve problems in their own life.
- Abusers feel they aren’t receiving recognition or benefitting from their caretaking.
- Factors caused by individual, relationship, community and societal relationships.
Other factors that may lead to nursing home abuse include:
- Poor staffing decisions such as understaffing
- Negligent hiring
- Inadequate training
Elder Neglect vs. Abuse
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, abuse is the willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinements, intimidation, or punishment resulting in physical harm, pain, or mental anguish, while neglect is the failure to provide goods and services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness.
Elder neglect is a form of elder abuse. Not providing adequate food, water, hygienic attention, clothing, shelter, or healthcare are all examples of neglect. Neglect also includes:
- Abandonment: Abandonment occurs when a caregiver intentionally leaves an elder somewhere alone.
- Nursing home neglect: Nursing home neglect occurs when staff do not adequately provide care for the elder.
- Self-neglect: Elderly self-neglect occurs when the elder no longer has the ability to provide care for him or herself and does not receive the proper care needed.
Hiring an Attorney for Nursing Home Abuse & Negligence
If you believe your loved one is experiencing nursing home abuse, seek expert legal representation. For over two decades, we have successfully pursued nursing home abuse and neglect claims against facilities that cut corners on care for their residents. We not only gain compensatory damages for our clients, but frequently our opponents must pay punitive damages along with all attorney fees and costs.
By standing up for the rights of individual victims of nursing home abuse and neglect, we demand all nursing homes treat their residents fairly. Our clients frequently pursue nursing home litigation so that others will not have to suffer the same dangers and indignities their loved ones endured.
To arrange a free consultation to discuss your nursing home claim, please contact us today at our toll free number: 800-609-7577. We have offices in New Jersey, and also in Philadelphia, PA.