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Elder Abuse FAQs

What constitutes a nursing home or nursing facility?

A nursing home or facility refers to any institution that:
  • Is principally involved in providing skilled nursing care and related services for residents who require medical services or attention.
  • Provides injured, disabled, or sick persons with residents with rehabilitation services.
  • Provides health-related care and services to individuals who have mental or physical conditions that require such services (but is not primarily established for the care and treatment of mental diseases.


What is institutional elder abuse?
Institutional elder abuse is any type of elder abuse that occurs while an elder is living in a nursing home or nursing facility or abuse that occurs while an elderly individual is under the care of a nursing home or facility. There are many types of elder abuse, including general neglect, physical abuse, abandonment, psychological or emotional abuse, sexual abuse, or financial abuse. With more elder Americans living longer than ever before, the incidence of institutional elder abuse will continue to rise.

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How can you tell that elder abuse is occurring?
There are many signs that indicate elder abuse is occurring. Examples of elder abuse include sores or rashes on the body, a smell of urine or fecal matter on elder's body, in their room or other living area, obvious malnutrition, elder is excessively dehydrated, inappropriate display of affection by staff member, or resident has no awareness of their financial affairs. General neglect is deprivation of basic care for totally dependent residents that often results in injury and death.

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Should I contact an Elder Abuse Attorney if a loved one has been neglected, abused, or injured in a nursing home or other assisted living facility?

It is very important that you contact an Elder Abuse Attorney if you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected inside a nursing home. A knowledgeable elder abuse attorney can help protect your loved one's legal rights. Often times, an attorney can help you collect the proper documentation before a nursing home covers it up or misplaces it. They will know about statute of limitations and other potential pitfalls that can stop you from receiving a just remedy for the elder abuse injury or death caused to your loved one.

If the immediate safety and health of your loved one is not in jeopardy, but you feel that they have suffered some form of elder abuse or neglect, you should contact:
  • An attorney to investigate the incident and to inform you of your rights
  • Your state's department of health
  • Your regional ombudsman

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Do nursing home staff have to report elder abuse if they see it?

Reporting of elder abuse is mandatory in some states by certain individuals, although the requirements will vary from state to state. If certain individuals or facilities do not report elder abuse, they have failed in their duties to the resident and may be guilty of a misdemeanor offense. Certain states may also hold this party liable for damages to the injured resident. Most states have laws that provide immunity to an individual who reports an incidence of elder abuse in good faith. However, immunity does not apply if the elder abuse report is made by the individual who committed the act.

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How prevalent a problem is elder abuse?

Elder abuse is a serious problem that is continuing to rise. It is estimated that 1,000,000 elderly Americans are victimized each year, and while this includes institutional elder abuse, domestic abuse, and self-abuse, well over half of the incidents reported are associated to nursing home elder abuse. Experts have estimated that well over 30,000 older Americans die prematurely due to some form of elder abuse, negligence or mistreatment.

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What should you do if you fear elder abuse of your
loved one?

If you fear that elder abuse may have occurred, you should be aware that defendants often deny liability for their actions or place the blame on other residents or on the resident themselves. In the majority of cases, elder abuse or neglect is the fault of either a staff member or the facility itself.

If you fear an injury has occurred due to elder abuse, begin collecting as many facts about the case as you are able. The nursing home, especially if they know they are guilty, will not cooperate in this process. The perpetrator of the elder abuse or neglect may change their stories, alter paperwork, or commit other acts if they fear they are facing legal action. This is why it is important to gather material now so that it makes it difficult for them to forge documents, etc. later on.

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What types of damages are recoverable?

Damages are recoverable for negligence, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and special and punitive damages.

If the safety and health of your loved one is in jeopardy, and you feel that they have suffered some form of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact us to speak with an attorney.


HOMEPAGE

AN OVERVIEW OF ELDER ABUSE

INSTITUTIONAL ELDER ABUSE

GOVERNMENT ACTION AGAINST ELDER ABUSE

FILING AN ELDER ABUSE COMPLAINT

PROTECTING YOUR ELDER IN A HOME

RESIDENT RIGHTS

SAMPLE NURSING HOME COMPLAINT FORM

ELDER ABUSE FAQs

LINKS

CONTACT AN ELDER ABUSE ATTORNEY

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Resident Rights

Visitation

Equal Access

Grievances

Married Couples

Rights and Services

Protection of Funds

Privacy

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Elder Abuse in the News

Organizations to Assist in Elder Abuse Cases

Information on Rules, Nursing Homes, etc.


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