Residential Care Facility Abuse
You put your trust in residential and long-term assisted living facilities to care for your loved ones who have additional needs that you cannot handle on your own.
Sadly, these facilities don’t always provide the standard of care that you expect or is required by law. Every year there are thousands of instances of abuse and neglect in nursing homes and similar facilities.
At Thompson Law, we help you understand what constitutes abuse, find a medical provider to check on your loved on, and support you in holding residential and long-term care facilities accountable.
The injury attorneys at Thompson Law Firm in Phoenix have significant experience in helping clients who have experienced nursing home abuse. Our offices are conveniently located in Chandler, Peoria, and North Phoenix, and we can meet in-person or over the phone or video call.
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Keep reading to understand the causes and types of abuse that might affect your loved one, and contact us today for a free consultation if you are worried that your loved one might be a victim of residential or long-term care facility abuse.
What are the Causes of Residential and LongTerm Care Facility Abuse?
Shockingly, abuse in residential and long-term care facilities is very common. A study by the National Center of Elder Abuse (NCEA) showed that 1 in 3 nursing homes are cited for violating federal standards that have the potential to or did cause harm to a resident.
Unfortunately, many residents in these types of facilities are unable to speak up for themselves due to their age, disease, or disability, This means that many cases go unreported. There are many contributing factors to abuse or neglect in residential and long-term care facilities, but the exact causes often depend on the type of facility, the residents, and the quality of staff employed.
Residents who have greater needs are often the most vulnerable to harm. For example, residents with severe physical or cognitive disabilities, veterans, and women are particularly at risk. Causes of neglect or abuse in residential and long-term care facilities include:
• Inadequate staff training and experience
• Underpaid staff
• Lack of management and supervision
• Individual staff issues
• Resident risk factors
To properly care for and keep residents safe, care facilities must have enough well-trained staff and proper equipment. Unfortunately, many facilities don’t have enough funding or are trying to maximize their profits, which means understaffing is common.
When care facilities are routinely understaffed, each staff member ends up with more responsibilities. This creates a strained and stressful work environment, where staff become disgruntled, tired, and ill-equipped to properly care for residents. Staff may feel angry, in a hurry, forgetful, or intentionally ignore their obligations. When facilities don’t provide proper training or hire people who don’t have experience in caring for the elderly, harm and neglect may result.
Many people living in these types of facilities need around-the-clock help and supervision. It is crucial that staff know the proper procedures for lifting, moving, bathing, feeding, and administering medication. One wrong move can cause severe injury or even lead to the death of a resident.
Staff who don’t have experience or aren’t provided training on the proper techniques for caring for individuals of advanced age, disability, or disease, may hurt residents without even knowing it as they’re ill equipped in identifying people who are at-risk.
Types of Abuse in Residential and Long-Term Care Facilities
When you think of abuse in a nursing home, you may envision a scenario where staff physically harm residents. In reality, it can take many different forms. The most common types of residential and long-term care facility abuse include:
• Physical Assault
• Sexual abuse
• General neglect to provide basic needs
• Psychological, verbal, or emotional abuse
• Financial exploitation
• Resident-on-resident abuse
Physical abuse is an intentional act that causes bodily injury or trauma to a resident, usually committed by either staff members or other residents. This may cause serious injuries that can be long-term or even life threatening. Typically, the types of physical harm that happen in long-term care facilities include hitting, slapping, punching, pushing, grabbing, restraining, confining, and using an object to cause injury.
Sexual assault is the intentional act of violating a resident in a sexual capacity. This includes rape or unwanted touching. Signs of sexual abuse include bruises, scratches, lesions, and even sexually transmitted diseases. Unwanted sexual contact can be physically, emotionally, and psychologically damaging for a resident. Often, this type of assault is perpetrated against residents who are incapacitated or unable to give consent.
Individuals who have cognitive disabilities, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, are at higher risk of being victims of this type of harm as they may not remember what happened or are unable to tell someone about it.
Unlike abuse, neglect is typically not intentional but is usually the result of indifference, carelessness, or oversight. General neglect is the failure of the residential or long-term care facility to provide adequate care and the fulfillment of basic needs of a resident and is the most common form of nursing home abuse.
• Failing to provide residents with the essentials, such as enough food and water
• Leaving residents unattended for long periods of time
• Failing to provide basic hygienic needs, such as bathing, changing clothes, washing hair, and brushing teeth
• Improperly administering medication or failing to administer medication entirely
• Not cleaning resident’s rooms and bedding
• Not reporting injuries or illnesses
• Ignoring the resident’s complaints or requests
• Failing to properly supervise and monitor residents to ensure their safety.
Psychological, Emotional, and Verbal Abuse
Psychological, emotional, or verbal abuse can be committed either by a staff member or another resident, and are words or actions carried out with the intention of causing fear, distress, or mental anguish. While this may not leave a physical mark, it can cause devastating long-term effects on the overall well-being and quality of life of a resident. Forms of emotional abuse are name-calling, insults, threats, isolating a resident from friends or family, and exerting control over their daily life.
Financial exploitation occurs when a staff member or other resident attempts to gain financial control over a resident through manipulation or exploitation. Someone may try to befriend a resident, convince them to give money or even give up control of their money. This can be particularly devastating for both a resident and their family, as it can result in the loss of income, savings, personal possessions, and the ability to pay for their care.
The majority of long-term care facility abuse is perpetrated by staff members who are directly responsible for the personal care and wellbeing of residents. This includes nursing home care staff, support staff, medical staff, and administrative staff. Abuse can also be committed by other residents or even family members.
What Can You Do if You Suspect Residential or Long Term Care Facility Abuse?
If you suspect abuse of a family member or loved one in a residential or long-term care facility, you should report it right away. You can contact local or state authorities so that a proper investigation can begin. An attorney can help you gather evidence, file a lawsuit, and help victims and their families receive the financial compensation they deserve. Give our office a call today at (480) 576-5342 to get answers to any questions you may
have about this process.
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