Nursing Home Abuse
First passed by Congress in 1965, the Older American’s Act (OAA) was amended in both 1987 and 2006 in order to further protections offered to aging Americans. Elder abuse was first defined in the OAA after the act was amended in 1987, and the 2006 amendments served to reinforce, strengthen and in some cases broaden those amendments established in 1987. Title II of the OAA established the Administration on Aging (AoA), and authorized this agency to handle cases of elder abuse. Nursing home abuse falls under the umbrella of elder abuse. A form of institutional elder abuse, nursing home abuse has become a growing concern in this nation over the last several years.
By definition, the caregivers, staff, and professionals employed by a nursing home have a “contractual obligation to provide elder victims with care and protection.” When those that contract with or are employed by a nursing home fail to provide the elderly with basic care and protection, they could be held liable for elder abuse. Elder abuse is especially heinous because of the vulnerability and susceptibility of the elderly population to abuse by professional caregivers. In many cases, elderly victims may have disabilities or illnesses, such as dementia, that make it difficult for them to report or even understand the abuse they are suffering.
Nursing home abuse can take various forms; therefore, families should be aware of the warning signs of elder abuse. While many families may look for signs of bruising or malnourishment, these are only a few of the evidences that may indicate abuse. Physical abuse or assault is just one form of nursing home abuse. Emotional abuse and financial abuse also often take place within institutions such as nursing homes. In addition to examining loved ones for physical injuries, families should also observe loved ones for emotional or behavioral changes. The families of nursing home abuse victims should understand that nursing home abuse is illegal regardless of its form.
Victims of nursing home abuse should be represented by a capable, competent attorney that will ensure those responsible for the abusive actions are held accountable. The elderly have a right to feel safe and secure in the environment in which they live. If your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, please contact a lawyer immediately. An attorney will work aggressively to ensure justice is obtained for your elderly loved one.