Elder abuse still a serious issue in long-term care homes

The National Center on Elder Abuse classifies elder mistreatment in six main ways: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, neglect and abandonment. According to the Senate Special Committee on Aging, almost 5 million Americans, including elders in Alabama, may be the victims of one or more of these forms of abuse. Victims of elder abuse and malnutrition usually have some form of either physical or mental disability and are usually over 75 years of age.

Approximately one in eight American citizens is considered an elder, and elder abuse is continuing to gain media coverage and recognition. This is especially true of long-term care facilities. Data from the On-Line Survey and Certification Fund was used by the University of California to study the care within elder care homes. The study found that almost 25 percent of the nursing facilities had a poor quality of care, and almost half of them were failing to ensure the safety of their residents.

Studies have also shown that among nursing staff, almost 70 percent of them had witnessed an elder being yelled at, and over 30 percent of the nursing staff had yelled at an elder in anger themselves. Among 80 nursing home residents questioned, 44 percent felt that they had been physically abused. Almost half felt they had been handled roughly by a staff member.

Personal injury attorneys can help elders that have been victims of neglect as well as the families of those who suspect their elderly family members have been abused. Abuse is not always of a physical nature, and mental duress can also count as abuse. Furthermore, exploitation has become extremely common in recent years. Elderly patients may be coerced into making donations, offering money to nursing staff or even putting their nursing homes and caregivers into their will. This is still a form of abuse and still requires the help of a legal professional.

Source: Medical Daily , "Reporting Elder Abuse: You Are Not Alone ", Susan Scutti, May 31, 2013

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