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San Francisco California Elder Abuse Law Blog

Malnutrition: A serious problem for some nursing home residents

Elderly individuals who are in a nursing home often require special care assistance. When the duties of the nursing home staff members are neglected, the residents are the ones who can face significant issues. One problem that can come up is malnutrition.

Understanding the signs of malnutrition can help you determine if a loved one is suffering from it. If they are, getting them help right away is a priority.

Emotional abuse of nursing home residents is atrocious

Abuse of elderly individuals shouldn't ever happen. They have lived long lives and deserve to be able to enjoy their final years in peace, especially if they have moved into a long-term care facility. The staff members at these homes should be ready to do what they can to ensure that the residents are getting the care they need. Unfortunately, residents are sometimes abused or neglected.

One form of elder abuse that isn't often talked about is emotional abuse. This doesn't come with physical marks, so seeing the signs is a bit more complex; however, this form of abuse is just as damaging to the resident as physical abuse. It might even be more difficult for the resident to overcome emotional abuse.

Financial abuse is often at the hands of trusted individuals

Elderly individuals are sometimes thought to have an abundance of assets, including money in the bank. This misconception often causes individuals to try to take advantage of them, especially when the senior citizen isn't as mentally sharp as what they were in their youth. Unfortunately, this is a problem that isn't likely going to get any better with time.

Financial abuse of the elderly is an atrocious problem that must be addressed quickly when it is discovered. It is estimated that somewhere around 90% of cases of financial abuse of a senior citizen is done by a trusted person. This includes family members and close friends.

Nursing home negligence leads to resident harm

Long-term care facilities have a duty to take care of the residents who live there. Each person in the facility will likely have different needs, and it is up to the staff to ensure those are met. There are some points that must take priority. These are all safety points, including making sure that residents are eating, drinking, taking their medications and not at risk of a fall.

When the residents aren't taken care of properly, they can suffer harm. This is a tragic situation because they should have been able to count on the staff members to meet their needs. After all, this is what the facility staff members are being paid for. We know that this is a hard situation to fathom, but it is a reality for some residents who desperately seek the care they are paying for.

Recognizing financial exploitation of nursing home residents

Perhaps your family reached a point where it was obvious that you were no longer able to provide your loved one with the level of care he or she needed. As people age, they may need medical care, regular supervision and assistance with daily tasks. This can be overwhelming and impractical for your situation, so you may decide to place him or her in a nursing home. 

This is not an easy decision. It can be distressing to decide whether you need someone else to care for your loved one. It is also difficult to properly research nursing homes and find one that suits your needs. In addition to all of these things, you may also want to learn more about financial exploitation of nursing home residents. When you know the signs and know your loved one's rights, you will be able to fight back if this happens to your family.

We don't know how many seniors suffer from sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is just one type of abuse that happens in nursing homes and assisted living centers, and it's discouraging to think about how often it happens. In fact, one of the biggest issues with this epidemic of abuse is that we don't know how many people suffer on a daily, weekly or yearly basis. As experts have put it after studying the issue, it's simply "impossible to know just how many victims are out there."

Why don't we know? The elderly are often chosen by the perpetrators specifically for their own vulnerability. For instance, they may:

  • Not be able to remember what is happening to them.
  • Have mental disorders that mean they don't even really understand what is going on.
  • Have mental or physical disorders that make it impossible to speak.

Common nursing home injuries to watch for

Long-term care facilities have a duty to keep their residents safe from harm. These individuals often need considerable assistance with daily life tasks. When they don't get the care they need, these residents might suffer harm. There are a few types of injuries that are more common than others, so focusing on these could help to make these facilities safer for the individuals who live in them.

Because many residents can't move well on their own, they are at risk of developing bedsores. These are pressure ulcers that come from remaining in the same position for a prolonged period. It is also possible that they will occur because of the shearing that occurs when residents are transferred in or out of bed or chairs.

Resident-to-resident elder mistreatment is a serious matter

When people hear about violence against nursing home residents, they often think about it being at the hands of the staff members. They don't think about the possibility of residents becoming violent toward each other. This is known as resident-to-resident elder mistreatment, or RREM.

Unfortunately, there isn't much research on RREM, which can make it difficult to understand. Without an understanding of it, long-term care facilities might not be as prepared to stop it from happening. This has a negative impact on everyone in the facility, including other residents.

Signs of negligence in long-term care facilities

Residents of nursing homes expect that they will receive proper care. There are times when this doesn't happen, so the loved ones of anyone who lives in a long-term care facility should watch for signs that neglect is occurring.

Many things will signal this, so you must remain vigilant when you visit. From the time you walk into the door until you leave, you might notice little things that show something is amiss.

What should you consider when choosing a nursing home?

Whether you saw it coming or it snuck up on you, it became abundantly clear that your parent could no longer take care of him- or herself. You may have tried taking care of your parent yourself, but your second realization was that you didn't have the skills needed to care for him or her.

Now, you face finding a nursing home that you believe will take care of your loved one the way you would. But, after hearing all of the negative stories about nursing homes, you may have some anxiety about making this choice.

  • SFTLA | San Francisco Trail Lawyers Association
  • Canhr | Elder Justice Advocates
  • Super Lawyers
  • The Bar Association Of San Francisco
  • Consumer Attorneys Of California
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