Nursing home abuse is a plague on American society and is much more widespread than most people realise. There is a lot to learn when it comes to the history and nuance of nursing home abuse in America, but the more you dedicate yourself to learning, the better you’ll become at being a guardian to your elderly loved one in a nursing home. Every person who knows someone in a nursing home should educate themselves about the signs of abuse to watch out for, after all. To keep yourself properly educated, informed, and ready to watch out for nursing home patients, here are four lesser-known facts about nursing home abuse every American should know about in 2023:
1. Many abuse incidents go unreported
Unfortunately, many nursing home abuse incidents are never reported (either to the nursing homes themselves or a higher authority such as the police). According to many studies, roughly twenty percent of incidents are never reported. This high number is shocking to many (and it should be). To keep nursing homes in America safer, everyone who has a loved one in a nursing home must make it their duty to report any instances of potential abuse (to both the nursing home and higher authorities). If you or a loved one are being affected by abusive nursing home behaviour, then it’s time to get a lawyer who specialises in nursing home abuse cases. They can help you seek out the justice your loved one deserves post-abuse. Both financial and legal compensation is available, and by reporting abuse, you are helping to keep other elderly patients safe from future abuse.
2. Nearly 9 out of 10 nursing homes are understaffed
Many areas of American healthcare are being affected by a staffing crisis. This began during the Covid years but continues on into the current day. Nursing homes have been especially affected by the staffing crisis, and the lack of proper staffing at nursing homes makes abuse much more likely to occur behind the scenes. Currently, it’s estimated that roughly nine in ten nursing homes suffer from being understaffed. When a nursing home does not have proper staff numbers, they are almost certain to cut corners when it comes to patient care and facility upkeep tasks. The lack of cleanliness and order this can lead to will put every patient in that facility in direct danger of abuse (and accidents). If you can avoid them, you should never put your elderly loved one into a nursing home that’s experiencing understaffing issues, or that has experienced these issues in the recent past.
3. Almost 10% of nursing home residents will be abused
This is perhaps the most tragic and infuriating fact on this list. Yes, you read that right – nearly one-in-ten nursing home residents will face some type of abuse during their stay at an American nursing home. This statistic should make you feel that much more dedicated to watching out for any and all signs of abuse happening at your elderly loved one’s nursing home in 2023 (and beyond). This abuse can take many different forms and tends to fall into one of three categories: physical, emotional, or financial. Each of these abuse scenarios will require you to handle the reporting of the abuse in a different manner. In these situations, having a knowledgeable nursing home abuse lawyer by your side will become invaluable. They will know exactly how to approach the issue in a way that will lead to success, and in a way that will keep your loved one safe within the nursing home that you’re reporting as well.
4. Dementia patients are likely targets of abuse
Unfortunately, some health conditions make nursing home patients prime targets for ill-intentioned staff members. Those with mental health conditions that affect memory and/or judgment (such as dementia) are at especially high risk of being abused. When staff members are looking for someone to financially, sexually, emotionally, or physically abuse, they tend to look for targets that will have a difficult time reporting the abuse, after all. For this reason, family members of loved one’s with dementia and other such disorders need to be extra vigilant about being their loved one’s protectors. Doing so will help you spot signs of potential abuse much earlier on. The earlier you spot potential abuse that’s happening behind the scenes, the more effective your efforts to both uncover and prevent that abuse will become. With each piece of evidence, you’re able to gather, you’ll be one step closer to holding the people responsible for your loved one’s abuse accountable.