While many people may be familiar with nursing home abuse, they may not be as aware of elder abuse in assisted living communities. In an assisted living facility, senior citizens receive help with everyday tasks like maintaining hygiene, dressing, and eating. The main difference between assisted living and a nursing home is the level of medical care—nursing home residents often need 24/7 medical care.
Even though residents in an assisted living community may not require around the clock care like those in a nursing home, they still do need help. If they’re around staff members who don’t have their best interests at heart, the residents can be victims of elder abuse. Let’s take a look at the severity of this problem.
Elder Abuse in Assisted Living Facilities
In a study looking into the prevalence of staff abuse in assisted living, there were several categories that emerged. Verbal abuse included actions like arguing with a resident, making humiliating remarks, swearing, and yelling. For every 1,000 residents per year, there were about 203 instances of humiliating remarks—making it the most common form of verbal abuse.
The next highest form of abuse was psychological abuse. Between threatening remarks, critical remarks, and threatening to stop caring, critical remarks were the highest with 163 instances per 1,000 residents a year. Psychological abuse can make seniors feel belittled and helpless, which greatly affects their self-esteem and sense of independence.
Those in assisted living facilities may still need medication. In a neglectful facility, residents may not get the medication they need. About 158 residents per 1,000 experience a delay in getting their medication.
Physical abuse includes pushing, grabbing, throwing objects at the resident, hitting, bullying, or displaying aggressive behavior in any form. Bullying was the most common type of physical abuse with 73 instances per 1,000 residents.
Other forms of abuse include caregiving abuse, like not getting food or fluids. There are also instances of material exploitation that can include stealing or ruining the resident’s belongings. Sexual abuse can also occur in these facilities.
No one deserves to experience abuse in their home. Your loved one should be able to trust those helping to take care of them. When staff abuses or neglects their duties, you can take action. Our nursing home abuse lawyers in Charleston will help your loved one get the justice they deserve.
Before we explain more about how we can help, you may be wondering about the preventative steps you can take to make sure your loved one is in a safe environment.
What Can You Do When Choosing a Place for Your Loved One?
There are quite a few items to keep in mind when finding the right community for your loved one. ElderCare recommends finding answers to these questions:
- What are your loved one’s needs? Is the facility able to meet those needs and how will they do so?
- Is the home close to you? Is it also close to other businesses?
- Does the facility offer activities that give residents opportunities to be social, have fun, or practice their spirituality?
- Do they have a philosophy of care in writing?
- Does the facility have admission and retention policies for those who have cognitive impairments or physical disabilities?
As you’re visiting these places, go as often as you can. It may be a good idea to go at other times than peak visiting hours. This way, you’ll get a look at how the homes are when no one is expecting visitors to see it. You can get an idea of the cleanliness and attentiveness of staff.
Speaking to other residents and their families about their opinion of the facility can also inform your decision. If several families say the staff is respectful, responsive, and their loved one is thriving, then you can expect your loved one will receive the same treatment. Having conversations with staff is also important so you can get an idea of who your loved one would interact with on a regular basis and their level of training.
Researching the facility can also include contacting West Virginia’s long-term care ombudsman and the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any filed complaints.
Our Law Firm Protects Seniors’ Rights
Assisted living facilities with staff who fail to provide care or abuse your loved one should be held accountable for their actions. Our Charleston attorneys will do everything possible to make sure your loved one’s voice is heard.
To get started on your nursing home abuse claim, give our office a call today. We’re here to help.