An Overview of Caregiver Abuse in Nursing Homes

legal nurse consultantsThere is never any excuse for elder abuse, whether at the hands of family members, unpaid caregivers, or professional nursing home staff.  However, understanding the reasons behind these abusive behaviors is important, as it can allow family members to spot the signs and intervene if needed.

For this post, we’re discussing caregiver abuse, particularly within nursing homes. Caregiver abuse in the US is a tragically under-reported crime, with recent stats placing 1 in 6 residents as having experienced abuse at the hands of a caregiver in a nursing home, and 1 in 2 residents having witnessed a caregiver act in an abusive manner towards another resident. It's important for us all to know the signs and ensure that our elderly loved ones are given the care they deserve.

What Can Lead to Caregiver Abuse in Nursing Homes?

In general, caregiver abuse can stem from resentment or frustration. Looking after elderly patients can be difficult, especially for those who have a lot of needs. In addition, problems such as substance abuse and financial complications can play a role as well.

Within nursing homes, there are other factors to consider. Underfunding is a serious problem across nursing homes all over the country. When the staff is overworked and/or not properly trained, instances of elder abuse increase. Likewise, poor supervision, little accountability, and inadequate background screening of potential employees are common issues in nursing homes focused on cutting corners.

Signs of Caregiver Abuse

While not all victims of caregiver abuse will always show the same symptoms, the following could be a sign that an eldery patient is experiencing abuse at the hands of a caregiver and could warrant further investigation:

  • Bed sores
  • Unexplained or frequent bruises and cuts
  • Symptoms of dehydration
  • Broken bones and other injuries
  • Frequent infections
  • Mood swings and sudden emotional problems
  • Fear and refusal to be left alone with caregiver(s)
  • Unexplained loss of weight

Medical Experts and their Role in Nursing Home Neglect Cases

When signs of caregiver abuse are apparent, many family members can help protect their elderly loved ones and ensure that all responsible parties are held accountable via a lawsuit. When this happens, attorneys representing the victims are tasked with preparing the case, which is where they collaborate with medical experts such as legal nurse consultants to help corroborate the facts of the case.

Legal nurse consultants are valuable allies in your case work up. They perform duties such as assessing medical records, analyzing the medical facts of the case, uncovering evidence that supports the attorney’s case, conduct research and present findings, offer expert testimony in court, and more. Relying on their years of medical expertise, they can illustrate if and how caregiver abuse is taking place and prove that a nursing home facility is failing its duty of care to its patients.

Do you want to learn more about caregiver abuse and other issues that your loved ones are exposed to when residing in poorly-staffed and inadequately operated nursing homes? Or do you want to know more about how legal nurse consultants collaborate with attorneys and other experts inside and outside the courtroom?  If so, be sure to call us at Legal Nurse Consultants USA, LLC, where we welcome all your questions. You can reach our offices by calling us at 877.211.7562.