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Rockford personal injury attorneysIt is estimated that about 1.5 million people currently live in nursing home facilities in the United States. Nursing home staff are responsible for helping residents with medical needs as well as everyday needs such as showering, going to the bathroom, and eating meals. Most importantly, it is the nursing home staff’s responsibility to keep the residents safe. It is hard to believe that anyone would intentionally harm an elderly or disabled individual. However, nursing home resident abuse is tragically not that uncommon. When a nursing home staff member abuses a resident physically, mentally, sexually, financially, or otherwise, the facility may be liable for damages.  

Types of Resident Abuse

When we hear the word “abuse” physical violence such as hitting, pinching, or kicking may come to mind. However, this is just one of several forms of abuse to which residents may be subjected. Mental or psychological abuse involves a nursing home worker intentionally upsetting or frightening a resident. 

Working in a nursing home facility can be a stressful and frustrating occupation. Sadly, some nursing home staff use work stress as an excuse to belittle, intimidate, or mock residents. Increasingly, social media is being used to violate residents’ privacy. Workers have been caught taking and distributing humiliating photographs of residents using applications like Snapchat. This is not only an unacceptable invasion of resident privacy; it is often also a direct violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Sexual abuse is also a serious problem in U.S. nursing homes. In one horrific case, a female resident in a vegetative state became pregnant after being the victim of rape. A nurse working at the facility has been arrested and charged with sexual assault and is currently awaiting trial.  

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Winnebago County nursing home abuse attorneysAs the Baby Boomer generation ages, more and more individuals are seeking the 24/7 care that nursing homes offer. One study suggests that over half of the current U.S population will need to stay in a nursing home, at least temporarily, at one point in their lives or another. Unfortunately, some nursing homes are not able to manage the increasing number of residents. Understaffed nursing homes or staff who are not properly trained can leave residents without the help and resources they need. When left unchecked, nursing home neglect and abuse can be deadly.

Nursing Home Abuse and Mistreatment Shockingly Common

The most vulnerable among us deserve to be cared for and respected by nursing home staff. Sadly, many nursing home residents find themselves in facilities that do not make residents’ needs the staff’s top priority. Some nursing home staff even purposely harm the residents. A congressional report found that almost a third of all U.S nursing homes were guilty of safety and regulatory violations which put residents at increased risk of harm. Surveys show that almost half of nursing home residents have reported being mistreated at some point in their stay. Even more concerning, an astounding 95 percent of nursing home residents claim to have personally witnessed staff neglecting other residents.

Warning Signs of Abuse and Neglect

One of the most tragic realities about nursing home abuse and neglect is that many residents are unable to communicate what is happening to them. Residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can be especially vulnerable to mistreatment. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, be on the lookout for signs of neglect or abuse such as:

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