Do you suspect that a friend or relative is being abused or neglected at his or her nursing home?
If so, it may be up to you to speak up and stop the abuse. Fortunately, in Ohio, you have the right to alert authorities to suspected nursing home abuse no matter what your relationship to the victim (which means you don’t have to wait on his or her next of kin to step in to say something).
Here are some truly terrifying facts about nursing home neglect and abuse:
- Women are more likely to be abused in nursing homes than men — perhaps because they are generally physically less strong or perhaps because older generations of women were socialized to feel ashamed of being victimized (making them reluctant to report the abuse).
- The older the resident, the more likely he or she will become the target of abuse. Abuse is a form of bullying, and bullies seek power over their victims. The weaker the victim is, the more complete the bully’s power.
- During a three-year study by the government, almost one out of every three nursing homes were cited for failing to meet the minimum standards of care they were expected to meet.
- During that same time period, one out of every 10 nursing homes left the elderly in conditions that created a risk of severe harm or actual death.
Are there certain things that should make you suspicious that abuse or neglect is happening? Absolutely.
- Be wary if a staff member seems to hover over your visit with your friend or relative as if listening to what he or she might tell you.
- Be particularly concerned if your friend or relative alleges abuse and the worker dismisses it, saying something like, “She’s out of her head again,” or “He doesn’t know what he’s saying.”
- Watch for missing money or valuables, particularly highly-sentimental items that the senior may have been pressured into “giving” a staff member.
Nursing home neglect and abuse is a terrible thing. It preys on the weakest people in our society and is a truly depraved act. If someone you love has been abused in a nursing home, talk to an attorney about the possibility of a lawsuit. Our firm has attorneys who are experienced in this area of the law and may be able to help.