Seniors Afraid of Reporting Nursing Home Abuse

Although news media has done much in the past decade to reveal instances of shocking elder abuse in nursing homes, all too often, this abuse goes unreported. About 80% of abuse, neglect, or exploitation are unreported, according to a National Elder Abuse Incident Study. Only 20% are reported.

Why? Sadly, nursing home residents fear retaliation by the staff, either by neglect or abuse or exploitation. All too many senior citizen residents in nursing homes have no one to turn to if abuse occurs. Workers in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, for example, think that 60% of seniors in long-term facilities have no one close who comes to see them or to whom they can turn if conditions are suboptimal in the centers.

What Is the Solution to Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes?

Elder abuse in nursing homes is tragic. It can lead to injuries or even death. Even if injuries aren’t overt, the neglect can have catastrophic effects on senior citizen health.

What can be done? The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care has designated October “Residents’ Rights Month.” It’s an annual celebration of the dignity, rights and respect owed to each resident in long-term care sites.

Consumer Voice notes that the U.S. Nursing Home Reform Law guarantees the rights of long-term care residents and mandates that the care facilities “promote and protect the rights of each resident.”

In many areas of the country, senior citizen care facilities, medical professionals, public officials, and seniors put together programs designed to promote awareness and the values of dignity, rights, and respect. These programs can help raise awareness: elder abuse should not be happening. Anywhere.

Elder Abuse: Signs and Symptoms

Elder abuse takes many forms. If you have a loved one in a nursing home or long-term care facility, be sure to be alert for signs of abuse. Many senior citizens are afraid to report elder abuse, even to a trusted person.

The signs can be physical, such as bruises, swelling, or lacerations. Any hitting or striking of patients, of course, is abuse. But neglect of physical needs is also elder abuse. Has your loved one fallen because of inadequate supervision, for example? Are they not receiving needed medication at the proper time?

The signs can also be emotional, and these can be harder to spot. Elder emotional abuse can make your loved one anxious, fearful, depressed, or withdrawn. It can also cause unusual behavior, such as anger or lack of interest in normal activities.

Elder abuse also covers financial abuse. Unfortunately, some senior citizens in nursing homes are taken advantage of financially, either by having their money or checkbooks taken or used without their permission, or by being persuaded to give money to staff.

Have You or a Loved One Suffered Harm in a Nursing Home?

If you or a loved one in Long Island or New York City have suffered harm because of any type of elder abuse in a nursing home, please contact us immediately to discuss possible legal recourse and redress.

Edelman, Krasin & Jaye are leading nursing home abuse lawyers in Long Island and New York City. We will fight for those harmed at the hands of negligent healthcare professionals.

Call us today for a confidential, complimentary consultation. We will let you know how much your case is worth, and outline all of you legal options for monetary compensation.

Additional resources:

  1. Hook, Jim. Seniors in nursing homes are often afraid to report elder abuse. WITF.
  2. Residents’ Rights Month 2018. The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care.