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Nursing Home Abuse FAQ

If your loved one has been the victim of abuse at a nursing home you may be considering filing a lawsuit against those who are responsible for the harm that was done to your loved one. This page addresses some of the frequently asked questions our firm comes across in elder abuse cases.

WHAT IS ELDER ABUSE AND NEGLECT?

The CDC defines elder abuse as “[a]n intentional act or failure to act by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult.”

WHAT TYPES OF ELDER ABUSE AND NEGLECT ARE THERE?

Elder abuse and neglect includes, but is not limited to: physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, bedsores, falls, medication errors, and financial exploitation.

HOW PREVALENT IS ELDER ABUSE?

The National Council on Aging estimates that about 1 in 10 elderly individuals are subject to abuse. The National Center on Elder Abuse similarly states that about 10% of the elderly population has been the victim of some form of elder abuse. Other estimates of abuse put the mark at as many as 5 million elderly people being abused each year. A majority of the time the person abusing an elder individual is a family member.

In general, elder abuse is severely underreported. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) states that just one in four cases of elder abuse is reported. A study of elder abuse in New York stated that the “elder abuse incidence rate in New York State . . . was nearly 24 times greater than the number of cases referred to social service, law enforcement or legal authorities who have the capacity as well as the responsibility to assist older adult victim.”This means that for every single case that was reported, the study estimated that another 24 were not.

WHAT IS PHYSICAL ABUSE AND WHAT ARE THE SIGNS MY LOVED ONE HAS BEEN MISTREATED?

The CDC defines physical abuse as “[t]he intentional use of physical force that results in acute or chronic illness, bodily injury, physical pain, functional impairment, distress, or death.” This type of abuse includes actions such as striking, hitting, or beating an elderly person. It also includes burning, pushing, shaking, scratching, kicking, pinching, hair pulling, using restraints inappropriately, physical punishments, and withholding medication or other inappropriate use of a medication.

The signs of physical abuse can include visible injuries like burn marks, bruises, abrasions, broken bones, fractured bones, or pressure marks. In addition to the physical markers of abuse, an elder who has been the victim of abuse may also exhibit behavioral signs such as “anger, fear, anxiety, nervousness or depression.” In addition, he or she may become apathetic, avoid eye contact, or cringe away from physical contact. An elderly individual who has been the victim of physical abuse may also become withdrawn, startle easily and have difficulty sleeping. Another sign could be if the caretaker of the elderly person refuses to let him or her have visitors or not leave the elderly individual alone with any visitors that are permitted.

 

WHAT IS SEXUAL ABUSE AND WHAT ARE THE SIGNS MY LOVED ONE HAS BEEN SUBJECT TO THIS TYPE OF ABUSE?

NCOA guidance states that sexual abuse can be defined as “touching, fondling, intercourse, or any other sexual activity with an older adult, when the older adult is unable to understand, unwilling to consent, threatened, or physically forced.” Those who are at greater risk for abuse are those who are cognitively impaired, physically disabled, isolated, or those without a support system. In addition, women are more frequently the victims of sexual abuse.

There are a number of warning signs that an elderly individual has been subject to sexual abuse. These signs can include: pain, irritation, bruising, or bleeding in the genital region or anal region, bruising on the inner thighs, or underclothing that is bloody, stained, or has been torn. Other an elderly individual has been sexually abused is if he or she has a difficult time walking around or sitting, has contracted an STD or is exhibiting behavioral changes.

Learn more about elder sexual abuse.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I SUSPECT MY LOVED ONE IS BEING ABUSED?

If you suspect your loved one is being abused by someone it is important to take action and get them help. If your loved one is in immediate danger, call the police. If there is not an imminent threat then you can contact the state Adult Protective Services on behalf of your elderly loved one to report the suspected abuse.

You may wish to visit the website for New York’s Adult Protective Services.

CAN MY LOVED ONE FILE A LAWSUIT IF HE OR SHE HAS BEEN ABUSED IN A NURSING HOME?

If your loved one has been the victim of abuse at a nursing home, then he or she can file a lawsuit in order to recover damages for the injuries that he or she has sustained. The specific legal claims that your loved one will bring against the abusive parties will depend on the facts and circumstances of the case. These claims could include, but are not limited to, negligence, negligent hiring, negligent supervision, assault, or battery.

In addition, in New York, nursing home residents have certain rights. The Department of Public Health has determined you have the right to:

  • Dignity, respect and a comfortable living environment.
  • Quality of care and treatment without discrimination.
  • Freedom of choice to make your own, independent decisions.
  • The safeguard of your property and money.
  • Safeguards in admission transfer and discharge.
  • Privacy in communications.
  • Participate in organizations and activities of your choice.
  • An easy to use and responsive complaint procedure.
  • Exercise all of your rights without fear of reprisals.

If those rights are violated, the individual may bring a claim under the state’s Public Health Law. This law states that “[a]ny residential health care facility that deprives any patient of said facility of any right or benefit, as hereinafter defined, shall be liable to said patient for injuries suffered as a result of said deprivation, except as hereinafter provided.” N.Y. Pub. Heath Law §

Contact An Elder Abuse Attorney

If you or a loved one has been the victim of elder abuse, either through neglect in a nursing home or another type of negligent care, please do not hesitate to contact the law firm of Dalli & Marino, LLP. Our attorneys have extensive experience in the entire discipline, and, in cases and the law surrounding Bedsores, and are dedicated to helping our clients recover just compensation for their injuries. You can call our office today at 888 465-8790 or complete our online form.

 

Dalli & Marino – New York Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

Dalli & Marino, LLP is a premier nursing home negligence and elder abuse law firm in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut. Our team of attorneys is familiar with all major nursing home facilities in the New York metropolitan area and has been fighting for the rights of nursing home residents for over 20 years. Dalli & Marino has won millions of dollars for victims of nursing home negligence.

Lawyers Not Screeners

In addition to speaking to a live person whenever you call Dalli & Marino to discuss a nursing home abuse or negligence case, you’ll find that every case is screened by a lawyer, not a receptionist. Contact us and speak to a lawyer who can tell you if you have a case.

Focus

A firm must be experienced in the particulars of nursing home operations and applicable state and federal law to be (persuasively) successful at trial. Dalli & Marino, LLP is that law frm.

Evidence Gathering

Gathering evidence in today’s environment requires a clear understanding of the rules, plus the possible role of electronic medical records/electronic health records (EMR/EHR) and expert witnesses.

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