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The elderly have cared for their children and grandchildren for many years. Now, it is time for them to be cared for in their golden years. However, this does not always happen in society. Many nursing home residents are abused or mistreated by staffers in these facilities.
Many times, the elderly living in nursing homes may not realize they are being abused. Family members and friends need to be their voice and report the crime. If you know of someone or have a loved one, who is being abused in a nursing home, you should contact a Camden County nursing home abuse lawyer immediately. A qualified Camden County personal injury attorney can also help you pursue damages.
Quick References for Nursing Home Abuse
- What is Elderly Abuse?
- Nursing Home Abuse Warning Signs
- Elderly Abuse Laws
- Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
- Contact an attorney
Definition of Elderly Abuse
Elder abuse is the mistreatment of the elderly by someone who is entrusted to care for or look after them. It can be any intentional act that causes harm, injury, or serious risk of harm to the victim.
In some cases, it does not have to be intentional, but negligent behavior that leads to harm or risk of harm to an older person. When a caregiver does not provide for the basic needs of a nursing home patient or resident, they can be charged with elderly abuse. Nursing home abuse in Camden can happen in a variety of forms.
Types of Abuse
- Sexual abuse – Unwanted sexual contact that may include the use of force, threats, or taking advantage of an elderly person who does not have the clarity of mind to say no
- Physical abuse – utilizing physical force, hitting, slapping, or punching an elderly person
- Verbal and psychological abuse -using words to frighten, intimidate, disrespect, or humiliate an elderly individual
- Financial abuse or exploitation – illegally taking control of an aging person’s finances or property utilizing coercion, theft, forgery, or other deceptive tactics
- Neglect – failing to properly care for a disabled elder person, which may include not providing food, water, medications, or medical and personal care
Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Every resident of a long-term care facility in Camden County and elsewhere is entitled to be free from mistreatment and violence. Unfortunately, elder abuse at nursing homes is not uncommon. It is up to family members and concerned friends to closely monitor their loved one’s condition and ensure there are plausible explanations for any distressing changes.
Loved ones should expect declines in an elderly person’s cognition and energy level as time passes, but those who pay close attention can sense when something feels “off.” Friends and family members should never ignore that feeling.
Some signs of elder neglect or abuse are obvious, while others are subtle. Warning signs of nursing home abuse include:
- Unexplained bruises, scars, or other injuries
- Changes in a person’s character or behavior
- Signs that indicate a restraint has occurred
- A caregiver not allowing family to visit
- Unexplained weight loss
- Changes in eating habits
- Unattended medical conditions or bedsores
- Unexplained sexual transmitted diseases or infections
- Arguments between the caregiver and person being cared for
- Changes in the elderly’s financial accounts
- Unclean living conditions
- Changes in the power of attorney or wills
Nursing Home and Elderly Abuse Laws
The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 requires long-term care facilities that obtain Medicare or Medicaid payments to uphold certain standards of care for those in their care. The Nursing Home Reform Act established certain rights for nursing home residents, which include:
- The right to freedom from abuse, mistreatment, and neglect
- The right to freedom from physical restraints
- The right to privacy
- The right to accommodation of medical, physical, psychological, and social needs
- The right to participate in resident and family groups
- The right to be treated with dignity
- The right to exercise self-determination
- The right to communicate freely
- The right to participate in the review of one’s care plan, and to be fully informed in advance about any changes in care, treatment, or change of status in the facility
- The right to voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal
New Jersey Law mandates that individuals who are 60 years of age or older are protected under elder abuse statutes. One can be charged with endangering the welfare of the elderly if the individual has the legal authority to care for the person suffering from a mental, physical, or emotional disability and fails to do so.
Furthermore, one can be charged with endangering the welfare of the elderly if they fail to allow someone else to properly care for the physical and mental needs of a disabled elderly individual.
A Camden County nursing home abuse lawyer can explain these laws and help your file a lawsuit to punish the perpetrators of the inhuman crime of elder abuse. If your loved one was a victim of nursing home abuse, please contact our Camden County wrongful death lawyers to help create your case.
Reporting Nursing Home Abuse in Camden County
When someone suspects nursing home neglect, exploitation, or abuse, the first thing they should do is bring the concern to the nursing home administrator. Document the date and time of the meeting and note what was discussed. If further legal action is necessary, this document could prove that the facility was on notice about the concerns.
It is also advisable to make a report to one of the state regulators who license and inspect nursing homes in Camden County. The Department of Health offers a convenient online complaint filing option, as well as telephone reporting for people who wish to remain anonymous. The Long-Term Care Ombudsman in the Governor’s Office also receives and acts on complaints.
While making official reports is critical to improve conditions at the facility for all residents, working with a Camden County attorney to initiate a nursing home abuse lawsuit can have a more direct, beneficial impact on an abused resident. Although most lawsuits do not go to trial, any settlement is likely to include funds to reimburse medical expenses, nursing home fees, and compensation for the resident’s suffering and humiliation. Our team of attorneys is ready to take any nursing home abuse case to trial if necessary.
Contact a Camden County Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Most seniors have worked hard throughout their lives, and they deserve to be treated with respect in nursing homes and other senior care facilities. If your loved one is experiencing elder abuse in any form, contact a caring and supportive Camden County nursing home abuse lawyer.
The lawyer will work diligently to bring justice and dignity to your aging parent, friend, or family member. Be an advocate for them, and call a Camden nursing home abuse attorney.