Have you or a loved one experienced abuse or negligence in a nursing home? If so, reach out to a Long Island nursing home abuse attorney. With the growing number of elderly people in the U. S., more families rely on nursing homes, assisted living centers and extended healthcare institutions than ever before. Recent statistics from a U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform report indicate the U. S. has nearly 17,000 nursing homes that currently care for 1.6 million elderly and disabled residents. By 2050, the number of nursing home residents is expected to quadruple. At times, the need is temporary, when nursing care is necessary to help a patient recuperate after an illness or a hospital stay. In addition, often families need long-term care for aging parents.
Nursing Home Abuse Statistics
Although nursing home abuse remains a largely underreported issue, there are several significant studies that shed light on the prevalence of this serious problem. Different researchers gained varying insights about nursing home abuse throughout the country, mainly due to the difficulties that exist in capturing data about this issue. The following statistics reflect some of the most recent and reliable data available on the subject:
- The prevalence of all types of elder abuse stands at about 10% of the nationwide nursing home resident population. That equates to about 160,000 victims. However, one study based in New York found that a whopping 260,000 senior citizens in the state of New York had experienced some form of abuse in the previous year.
- One study found that verbal abuse was the most commonly reported type at 9%, followed by financial abuse (3.5%) and physical abuse (less than 1%). In the New York study, financial exploitation was the most commonly reported abuse type, at a rate of 41 per 1,000 residents surveyed.
- The New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study found the rate of underreported nursing home abuse to be 1:24. For every case of elder abuse someone reports, another 24 are never brought to the attention of agencies or programs. While the rate of reported elder abuse cases is increasing, this issue is still widely and unfortunately kept quiet.
As authorities gain more knowledge and awareness about nursing home abuse and neglect, more legal cases will likely gain momentum around the country. It is up to the relatives of nursing home residents to encourage their loved ones to come forward about nursing home abuse. Family and friends should try to detect signs of potential abuse before it reaches a critical point. If a loved one is in nursing home care, know what to look for and how to report suspected abuse in New York.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse in New York
As soon as you suspect someone is abusing your elderly loved one, remove him or her from the nursing home or center. Report your suspicions to administrators at the nursing home. Then, go about the process of filing a complaint in the state of New York. File the nursing home complaint form online through the State of New York Department of Health.
You can also call (888) 201-4563 to reach the 24/7 Nursing Home Complaint Dedicated Hotline. The state will investigate your complaint and take action as appropriate. From there, take it upon yourself to contact a nursing home abuse attorney in Long Island NY. At Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP, we can help you take the next steps toward financial compensation and justice for your elderly loved one.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
There are four main categories of nursing home abuse: physical, emotional, financial, and sexual. Each category has its own possible signs and red flags for loved ones to watch out for. In many cases, nursing home residents are the victims of more than one type of abuse. For example, an offender might physically abuse a victim as part of a financial abuse scheme, to get the resident to give in to the offender’s wishes. Here is a more in-depth breakdown of each type of nursing home abuse:
- Physical abuse. Physical abuse can refer to any type of physical contact meant to harm, threaten, or intimidate victims. Acts of violence such as slapping, hitting, pinching, kicking, pushing, grabbing, burning, or misuse of restraints are forms of physical elder abuse. Physical abuse can also take the form of neglect, such as failure to bathe or feed residents, or refusal to administer medications.
Physical abuse can lead to serious health consequences and even mortality in vulnerable elderly residents. Victims could suffer broken bones, bruising, lacerations, burns, internal injuries, or head and brain damage at the hands of a physical abuser. Without prompt medical care, physically abused nursing home residents might never fully recover from their injuries.
- Emotional abuse. Emotional abuse targets victims’ emotional, mental, and psychological well-being. Perpetrators might emotionally abuse elderly people just to torment them, as a way to relieve job-related stress or to gain something from the victim, such as money. Emotional abuse can involve anything that causes victims emotional distress, including verbal threats or harassment, name-calling, insults, isolation, or denial of food or basic necessities.
Elderly victims of emotional abuse suffer not only mental effects, but also physical declines. Long-term psychological effects of emotional abuse can reduce residents’ ability to enjoy quality of life, and lead to loss of the will to stay healthy, be active, and survive. Victims can also suffer effects such as depression, anxiety, fear, or mental trauma.
- Financial abuse. The elderly are a vulnerable population when it comes to financial abuse targeting. Perpetrators such as caregivers, nursing home employees, neighbors, friends, or even family members might use their positions of trust to take advantage of residents for financial gain. Financial abuse can result in financial strife and ruin, as well as problems such as identity theft and misuse of power of attorney. Financial abuse can ultimately result in loss of savings to pay for long-term care.
- Sexual abuse. Perhaps the most heinous form of elder abuse is sexual abuse. Intentionally violating nursing home residents’ rights and attempting to engage them in sexual acts or intercourse is sexual elder abuse. Sexual abuse can affect an elderly person physically, mentally, and emotionally. It can lead to physical harms such as injuries to the genitals and communicable diseases, as well as emotional harms such as feelings of fear, guilt, or shame.
At Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP, our Long Island personal injury lawyers believe that all types of nursing home abuse are deplorable and deserve aggressive legal action. No resident in a nursing home in Suffolk County should have to endure any form of abuse or neglect, in Long Island or elsewhere. Nursing homes should take preventive measures when it comes to abuse, such as conducting background checks on nurses and staff members. They should also take resident complaints and issues seriously, investigating any abuse allegations. Failure to care for the health, safety, and well-being of residents could result in a lawsuit against the perpetrator, the nursing facility, and/or other parties.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
The first step in putting an end to nursing home abuse is to recognize when it’s happening. If you have a loved one in a New York nursing home, keep a sharp eye out for any potential signs of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation. Signs and symptoms of abuse will depend upon the type of abuse. Search for signs of physical abuse such as unexplained injuries, frequent trips to the hospital, oddly-shaped bruises, malnutrition, bedsores, burns, or strap marks, as well as signs of emotional abuse.
Emotional abuse can be more difficult to detect since it doesn’t leave behind physical signs. Talking to your loved one and visiting often can help you notice changes in his or her behavior or appearance that could point to abuse. Signs might include unkempt appearance, lack of hygiene, depression, anxiety, withdrawal from social activities, isolation, mood swings, weight loss or weight gain, or being suddenly non-communicative.
Watch over your loved one’s bank accounts and finances to keep an eye out for financial exploitation. Red flags for abuse could be unexplained changes in financial status, strange withdrawals, unexpected changes to wills or power of attorney, missing cash or valuables, or unusual subscriptions or services the elder did not sign for. Finally, signs of sexual abuse can include genital injuries or bruising, trouble walking/sitting, bloody undergarments, unexplained sexual diseases or infections, or the victim expressing feelings of guilt or shame. If you notice any of the aforementioned signs, consult with a Long Island nursing home abuse attorney to learn more about your available legal options.
HOW CAN A LONG ISLAND NURSING HOME ABUSE LAWYER CAN HELP IN CASES OF NEGLECT?
The attorneys at the law firm of Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP have broad experience representing nursing home residents and their families. We regularly pursue civil actions on behalf of our clients involving nursing home owner and employee liability claims based on:
- Negligent supervision and care
- Negligent hiring and retention of employees
- Negligent maintenance of premises
- Negligent selection or maintenance of equipment
- Breach of contract
- Wrongful death
Statistics of negligence in nursing homes indicate that 14 percent of all self-reported abuse involve neglect. If you suspect that a family member or someone you care for is a victim of physical, abuse or neglect in a nursing home, immediate legal assistance is crucial to stopping the abuse.
Contact Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP online or by calling (631) 451-7900 for a no cost, no obligation consultation. Learn about the legal remedies available to protect your loved one from further abuse and neglect. Preserve their rights and obtain full and fair compensation for the harm they suffered.