A Minnesota nursing home worker was criminally charged with both neglect and disorderly conduct after an incident of alleged abuse against an Alzheimer’s patient. Two aides working with the woman observed the defendant hurting the elderly patient and using aggressive behavior and language while providing care. The abuse is a criminal misdemeanor and the woman faces up to two years in jail and fines of up to $6,000 if convicted.
Much Elder Abuse Goes Unreported
In this case, the other nursing home workers observed the abuse and reported it to the nursing home manager. In many instances, this does not happen. Often, the abuse occurs when there is nobody else present. All too many times, the patient is vulnerable and unable to make a report of the problem, so the crime goes unpunished. In addition to criminal charges, patients and their families have the right to seek damages from the nursing home because of the abuse. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), greater than 50% of nursing home staff said they had mistreated older patients, including physical violence, mental abuse, and neglect during the past year.
How to Know if Abuse Has Occurred
Many times, nursing home abuse or neglect is not overly obvious to outsiders. The abuse may occur behind closed doors and the patient may never report it, even to relatives. If you suspect abuse may be occurring it is important to understand some of the signs. Look for:
· Unexplained Bruises and Other Injuries · Tension or Arguments Between Patient and Caregivers · Broken Eyeglasses · Weight Loss, Malnutrition · Unsanitary Conditions · Problems with Prescription Drugs · Caregiver Does Not Allow Private Visits
Of course, there are many other signs that something could be wrong. If you suspect possible nursing home abuse it is best to take steps to protect your loved one from harm. Talk to the manager to discuss the care that is being provided. Ensure that you meet the caregivers and learn their qualifications and backgrounds. If you are concerned about abuse discuss the matter with a qualified elder abuse attorney.
Resolve Nursing Home Abuse
The discovery that a loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing home is devastating. It is necessary to take legal steps to resolve the problem. Report the situation to authorities including the nursing home manager and the police. An investigation may be necessary to determine the specifics of the situation. Remove your relative from the harmful situation immediately to ensure his or her safety. Be sure to have your loved one completely checked by a doctor and have any medical problems taken care of quickly. Talk to a reputable nursing home attorney as soon as possible after the occurrence. Your lawyer will guide you through the process to bring legal action. If a loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse contact Levin & Perconti to schedule a consultation today.
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