It is a sad fact that those individuals who are most often the victims of abuse are those individuals who are least capable of preventing it. This is generally the case with nursing home abuse. It is unfortunate that any elderly individual is subject to abuse and it is even more unfortunate that elder abuse is more common than many people think.
In addition to nursing home abuse, there must also be an awareness of nursing home neglect. While there may be similarities between abuse and neglect, it is important to understand what legal distinctions there are.
Elder neglect vs. elder abuse
· Elder neglect – Elder neglect is generally understood by legal institutions to be the failure of a caregiver to provide for the patient whatever services are necessary for their care. If a caregiver does not fulfill their obligations, they may very well be negligent.
· Elder abuse – Elder abuse is defined by The Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging as “the willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or cruel punishment with resulting physical harm, pain, or mental anguish or deprivation by a person, including a caregiver, of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness.
Nursing home abuse liability
If abuse happens in a nursing home, it is very possible that the actual facility can be held liable. A nursing home can be held liable for abuse that comes as a result of under staffing, lack of proper training of employees, improper dedication, etc.
It is also important to be aware of vicarious liability. This means that nursing homes can be held liable for the actions of their employees. If a nursing home employee abuses a person whom they have been charged with providing care, both the employee and their employer may be held liable for the abuse.
As awareness of elder abuse and neglect has risen, options for taking actions against them have become more available. Immediate help can be received from local police, Adult Protective Services (APS), or an elder abuse hotline.
It is a tragedy that so many elderly citizens are not treated with proper respect and dignity. Abuse should be responded to with legal action. If you find yourself in a situation wherein you are faced with elder abuse or neglect, seek immediate assistance and seriously consider contacting a knowledgeable and experience legal professional. They will be able to provide support and assistance as you get the justice you deserve.