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How Residents of Nursing Homes Can Be Victims of Abuse and Neglect

Residents of Nursing Homes Can Be Victims of Abuse and Neglect

Those who are elderly or so physically or intellectually disabled they need to reside in a nursing home or long term care facility are at the mercy of those who work there.

Though most residents are well cared for there is a sizable minority who are victims of abuse and neglect.

Abuse and neglect is defined by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) as,

  • Intentional actions that cause harm or create a serious risk of harm (whether or not harm is intended)
  • To a vulnerable elder,
  • By a caregiver or other person who stands in a trust relationship to the elder,
  • Including the failure by a caregiver to satisfy the elder’s basic needs or to protect the elder from harm.

The NCEA states there are no certain figures on how many elders suffer from neglect and abuse, but women are more likely to be abused and abuse is more likely the older a person gets. Signs of abuse may be missed by professions due to a lack of training and even it abuse is suspected it may not be reported due to fear of retaliation or a desire not to have the abuser held accountable because he or she may be a family member.

The organizations states,

  • Studies have shown that that 7.6%–10% of elderly survey participants stated they experienced abuse in the prior year.
  • The overwhelming number of cases of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation go undiscovered and untreated each year.
  • About 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse comes to the attention of authorities.
  • The New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study estimates that for every known case of abuse or neglect there are 24 that were unreported.

Elder abuse happens in private homes, nursing homes and long term care facilities. Research on abuse in long term care facilities shows,

  • 7% of all complaints reported to Ombudsmen concerned abuse, neglect or exploitation, and
  • Interviews of 2,000 residents in the year 2000 showed that 44% of respondents claimed they had suffered nursing home abuse and 95% stated they had been neglected or seen another residents being neglected.

Abuse and neglect can have a serious, negative impact on the elderly and disabled.

  • Those who experienced abuse had a 300% higher risk of death when compared to those who had not been abused.
  • Victims of elder abuse have much higher levels of psychological distress and lower perceived self-efficacy than older adults who have not been victimized.
  • Those who are victims of violence have additional health care problems than other older adults, including increased problems with bones, joints, digestion, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, high blood pressure and heart problems.

The impact of abuse, neglect and exploitation are bad enough if you consider the physical and emotional cost, but there are also financial impacts.

  • The direct medical costs due to injuries to older adults are estimated to add over $5.3 billion to the nation’s annual health expenditures.
  • The estimated financial loss by elderly victims of financial exploitation is estimated to be $2.9 billion in 2009, a 12% increase from 2008.

If you have questions or concerns about elder abuse or neglect by nursing home staff, contact our office so we can discuss the situation, what laws may apply and what can be done to stop what’s going on.

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