The idea of a loved one potentially being abused in their nursing home can be unbearable. In homes where the elderly rely on staff for everything from medication to meals, the potential for abuse of such authority exists. You should know the types of abuse to be vigilant against.
False Imprisonment: This is constituted by an elderly person being prevented from going to or leaving from certain areas. This may be in their room or throughout the nursing home. Common methods include taking away one’s wheelchair or other equipment if the individual is disabled.
Financial Abuse: An abuser can gain the trust of elderly patients and use his or her position to extort money. This can range from taking an elderly person’s cash to stealing their savings. Common practices include stealing credit cards or identity theft, as caregivers sometimes have ready access to financial information. Healthcare fraud is another practice in which you or the individual in the nursing home may be charged for services not rendered (i.e. medications or therapy a patient may need).
Physical Abuse: There is little grey area when it comes to using force against the elderly to inflict bodily harm or pain. This is inclusive of forced restraints and over-sedation of a patient as well.
Sexual Abuse: Any form of sexual interaction without consent of the elderly individual is wrong. This isn’t limited to physical contact. Examples such as being forced to undress, or watch sexual acts also constitute sexual abuse.
Emotional or Psychological Abuse: This occurs when a care provider behaves in a way that can cause psychological and emotional distress. These may be verbal or non-verbal gestures, such as name calling or threats.
Neglect or Abandonment: The term is self-explanatory. Constant around-the-clock care is expected in a nursing home, and any form of desertion can be prosecuted. Neglect constitutes a form of abuse by omission, in which services you or an elder person pays for are not provided. Neglect ranges from ignoring bathroom duties to not providing essentials such as food or water.