No one wants to imagine that their loved one is being abused by caregivers. Tragically, however, nursing home abuse is not uncommon. In Ohio, there are 60,000 seniors who have suffered abuse from a caregiver, as estimated by the Ohio Department of Aging. That number does not even paint the whole picture since research indicates that, at best, one in five nursing home elder abuse situations are reported, according to the Administration on Aging.
Nursing home residents often suffer from diminished capacity, preventing them from communicating the abuse they are suffering. Additionally, they may be embarrassed about what has occurred and uncomfortable discussing it with family.
The best way to prevent nursing home abuse is to be actively involved in your loved one's care, and aware of signs that they may be experiencing abuse or neglect.
POTENTIAL INDICATORS OF NURSING HOME NEGLECT OR ABUSE
- Bed sores and pressure ulcers
- Unusual weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration
- Unsanitary living conditions such as soiled bedding or clothes
- Being left dirty or unsuitably clothed for the weather
- Caregiver's refusal to allow you to see your loved one alone
- Broken eyeglasses or frames
- Signs of unnecessary restraint such as rope marks on wrists
Unexplained signs of injury such as bruises, welts, or scars
OHIO NURSING HOME RESIDENTS' BILL OF RIGHTS
Ohio law expressly prescribes nursing home residents a variety of rights. These rights are aimed at ensuring that elders enjoy a safe and healthy environment in their golden years, free from nursing home neglect. Some of the rights include:
- A safe and clean living environment
- Freedom from physical, verbal and mental abuse
- To be treated with courtesy and respect at all times
- Adequate and appropriate medical treatment and nursing care
- Prompt response to reasonable inquiries and requests
- Clean clothes and bed sheets
- Unrestricted communications with the resident's family
- Participating in decisions affecting the resident's life
The consequences of elder abuse and neglect can be severe. Your loved one may experience unnecessary suffering or premature death. If you suspect your loved one is being victimized you should contact a lawyer experienced in nursing home abuse and neglect cases. A nursing home neglect attorney can advocate on your behalf to ensure those responsible for your loved one's suffering are held accountable.