What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
By Zachary Mushkatel on September 17, 2015
With more than 3.2 million people residing in nursing homes, abuse and neglect is a growing problem in Arizona and across the country.
According to a publication by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), nearly one out of every three nursing homes, in a two-year period, received citations for violations of federal standards that resulted in actual or potential harm to residents.
In a study of 2,000 residents of long-term facilities, the NCEA reports, 44 percent said they had been abused, and 95 percent said they had been neglected or seen another resident neglected.
Nursing home residents may be abused not only by nursing home staff but also by other residents – especially when understaffed facilities fail to provide appropriate supervision and care.
If your loved one resides in a long-term care facility, it is important to know the signs of elder abuse in nursing homes and to take immediate action if you suspect abuse.
Look for Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Elder abuse and neglect in nursing homes can be physical, emotional, sexual or financial. As reported by the Administration on Aging (AOA), warning signs of nursing home abuse may include:
- Bruises, abrasions, pressure marks, broken bones, and burns
- Withdrawal from normal activities, depression or sudden changes in alertness
- Poor hygiene, unusual weight loss, bed sores or neglected medical needs
- Bruises around the breasts or genital areas
- Arguments or tense relationships between an elderly person and a caregiver.
Respond Promptly If You Suspect Mistreatment
If you discover that your elderly loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home, take action immediately.
In an emergency situation, call 911. In a non-emergency situation, report the matter to nursing home management, and also report it to the appropriate authorities.
The Arizona Attorney General’s Office suggests that you call your local police department and also provides contact information for:
- Adult Protective Services – Adult Abuse Hotline – You can call (877) 767-2385 or go to the APS website
- Area Agency on Aging – 24-Hour Senior Helpline – You can call (602) 264-4357.
Get Legal Help for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Arizona
Elderly nursing home residents are vulnerable to abuse and neglect. They need their family members to defend and protect them. When you discover that your loved one has been abused in a nursing home, you may take action to report it and prevent further abuse. However, a great deal of physical, emotional and financial harm may already have been done.
Arizona law allows nursing home abuse victims and their families to hold responsible parties accountable and recover compensation for the harm they have suffered. If your elderly loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, it is in your family’s best interests to consult with an attorney experienced in handling elder abuse cases.
At Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, P.L.L.C., we help victims of nursing home abuse and neglect to pursue compensation for their losses. This may include medical treatment for injuries suffered, future medical treatment, therapy and rehabilitation as well as reimbursement of assets wrongfully removed.
If your loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing home, contact our firm. You can rely on our Phoenix personal injury lawyers to aggressively pursue the compensation your family deserves. Our goal is to help you and your family move past the abuse and restore your quality of life.
Zachary Mushkatel is an Arizona native who earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona in 2001 and his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2004. After serving as a public defender, he entered into private practice and, ultimately, joined forces with Mathis Becker to form the law firm known today as Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC. In addition to criminal law, Mushkatel practices civil litigation, with a focus on estate litigation and personal injury cases. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce and Sun Valley Lodge, and he is an executive officer and member of the Board of Directors for the West Maricopa County Bar Association.