Nursing Home Abuse and Medical Malpractice

With advancement in medicine and better health care, people now live longer than they did in times past.

nursing-home-abuseThis phenomenon has also increased the need for elder care. However, on a sad note, more than one million elderly people are subjected to abuse in nursing homes on a yearly basis. The abuse can assume many different forms.

Types of Elder Abuse

Experts have divided types of elder abuse into two broad categories: abuse and neglect. Abuse is further subdivided into three categories: physical abuse, mental abuse, and sexual abuse.

Physical Abuse – This refers to all types of maltreatment of the elderly that involve the use of physical force. Fractures, bedsores, and bruises are some of the possible signs of physical abuse.

Mental Abuse – In terms of its implications, mental abuse is as bad as physical abuse and probably worse. It involves threats, intentional negligence, and isolation. Missouri medical malpractice lawyers believe that since this sort of abuse is psychological in nature, it may be hard for family members of residents to notice signs of mental abuse.

Sexual Abuse – Sometimes, residents at nursing homes may be subjected to sexual harassment. They could be made to have sexual activity against their will, resulting in negative physical and mental consequences.

Neglect – Neglect occurs when caregivers in nursing homes become lax in performing their duties towards residents. A home is negligent if it fails to provide proper care to its residents. It should be noted that neglect may also be a result of insufficient staff rather than intentional neglect.

Possible Signs of Abuse or Neglect in a Nursing Home

If you notice that a loved one in a nursing home is suffering from cuts, open wounds, or bruises on a recurrent basis, you should look into possible abuse or neglect of such a person. Mysterious fractures as well as sudden, severe weight loss and malnourishment could also be taken as signs of abuse. Seizures, involuntary muscle movements, and extreme fatigue associated with over-medication could be warning signs as well.

Bedsores are also among the common indicators of nursing home abuse. These are ulcers which usually result from application of pressure on some parts of the body. Failure to turn an immobile resident when necessary may be a cause of bedsores. Elderly people are at increased risk of this problem as a result of poor circulation, thin skin, and malnutrition. Bedsores first appear in the form of red skin patches, which could extend down into the tendons, muscles, or bones. If not quickly treated, bedsores may become untreatable.

A nursing home has failed in its duties if residents are abused or neglected. Contact Zevan and Davidson at (314) 588-7200 to schedule a free consultation.

Photo credit: Borya via Flickr

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