Physical Abuse in Nursing Homes

It’s unfathomable that anyone would physically abuse helpless elderly nursing home residents, least of all the very people who are paid to care for them. Simple acts of neglect, which in itself can inflict great harm on the aged, are much more common than deliberate abuse in nursing homes, but that doesn’t mean the latter doesn’t happen. Nursing facilities that house the elderly have a legal duty to take reasonable measures to protect their patients from harm, intentional or unintentional. If your loved one has been hurt as a result of a nursing facility’s negligence, an experienced Bergen County nursing home abuse lawyer can fight for their rights.

Women Experience the Worst Elder Abuse

Experts believe nursing home abuse in the U.S. is much more pervasive than official statistics reveal because most of it goes undetected and unreported. Despite state and federal laws designed to protect vulnerable residents in New Jersey nursing homes, many facilities fail to ensure their safety because they are chronically short-staffed and underfunded. It probably comes as no surprise that most victims of elder abuse, inside and outside the long-term care setting, are female. Elder abuse victims are three times more likely to be hospitalized than older people who are not abused and have a 300-percent greater risk of death.

Aged nursing home residents are uniquely vulnerable to physical abuse because they are heavily dependent on their caregivers, often physically immobile, and unable to defend themselves. In some cases, neurological decline impairs their ability to communicate their experiences to others. This is why families must be vigilant about spotting the often subtle signs of abuse.

A study conducted by the National Center for Elder Abuse found that more than half of nursing home staff had admitted to inflicting some form of physical or mental abuse and neglect on patients. Residents are often subject to acts of violence not only from their professional caregivers but from fellow residents and even visitors from outside. In fact, resident-on-resident abuse is believed to be the most common form.

No matter the abuser, most of these incidents could have been prevented had the nursing home owners not been negligent in their duty to protect their residents. Residents who exhibit violent behavior toward other residents should be subject to intervention, and problematic visitors should be barred from the facility. Hired staff should be thoroughly vetted and trained, and abusive behavior should be immediately sanctioned.

Watch Out for the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Many elderly victims either can’t communicate their abuse to anyone or remain silent out of fear, so if you have a loved one in one of these facilities, it is critical that you recognize the warning signs so you can protect them.

These are some things you should look out for:

  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, or scratches
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Signs of unusual anxiety, withdrawal, and other changes in personality and mood
  • Signs of fear or silence in the presence of staff or other residents
  • Poor personal hygiene and unclean surroundings

You should immediately report any concerns or suspicions to the coordinator or supervisor of the nursing home.

Contact a Bergen County Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

Vulnerable seniors should not have to suffer physical abuse because a nursing home operator puts profits ahead of patient safety. If you believe your elderly family member has experienced harm from physical abuse, it is critical that you speak with a New Jersey nursing home abuse lawyer immediately.

Contact Aretsky Law Group P.C. to be connected with a Bergen County nursing home abuse attorney who can help you protect your loved one’s safety. If you suspect your elderly family member has been the victim of abuse in a New Jersey nursing home, our nursing home negligence attorneys can investigate your concerns and hold the negligent operator accountable.

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