Minnesota Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Helping Clients and Their Families in Austin
Did you know that at least one out of every 10 seniors experiences some type of nursing home abuse? According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), that figure is likely much lower than the actual number due to underreporting, and the rate of elder abuse in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities across the country is only expected to grow as the senior population rises. To be sure, by the year 2050 the elderly population will more than double if the statistics are correct, which means that nursing homes will have about double the number of patients. The more seniors who are vulnerable to abuse, the more likely that the rate of nursing home abuse and neglect will rise.
When you have an elderly loved one at a nursing home or similar facility in Austin, MN, it is essential to know the signs and symptoms of abuse, and to contact an Austin nursing home abuse lawyer if you suspect that your family member is being harmed.
Challenges of Defining Elder Abuse in Austin, Minnesota
The NCEA explains that defining elder abuse is a difficult task, largely because there are so many different forms of nursing home abuse and neglect. In some cases, researchers focus on the types of abuse that are most common, while other researchers want to give equal weight to each type of elder abuse.
When it comes to abuse that occurs in the nursing home setting, the following types of abuse are most common:
- Physical abuse;
- Psychological or emotional abuse;
- Sexual abuse; and
Families that have an elderly loved one in a nursing home in Austin or in the nearby area should know the signs of these types of abuse.
Understanding the Different Types of Elder Abuse and Neglect at Austin Nursing Homes
What signs and symptoms should family members be looking for in order to quickly report, stop, and ultimately prevent nursing home? A fact sheet from WebMD cites the following as the distinct signs of each type of abuse that is most common in nursing homes in Minnesota and throughout the country:
- Physical abuse: This type of nursing home abuse can show itself in the form of cuts, bruises, or burns that are unexplained, broken bones or fractures, sprained muscles, repetitive injuries, and a strong desire from the patient to avoid seeking medical attention for the injuries.
- Psychological or emotional abuse: While it can be difficult to recognize signs of psychological or emotional abuse especially when a senior suffers from dementia, family members should keep an eye out for general behavioral changes in the senior, the patient acting frightened, the patient acting withdrawn or losing interest in activities she previously enjoyed, sleeping problems, general signs of anxiety or depression, and any other unexplained shifts in behavior.
- Sexual abuse: Sexual abuse is commonly perpetrated by nursing home staff as well as by other residents at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. Signs can include torn or bloody clothing, symptoms of sexually transmitted infections, bruises or cuts around the genital area, and vaginal or anal bleeding.
- Neglect: Although neglect does not involve active abuse toward a patient, it can also result in severe injuries. Neglect is a term that refers to a lack of care and attention toward a patient, and signs can include general messiness or unkemptness, unclean clothes and bed sheets, unexplained weight loss, lack of appetite, missing dentures or other necessary medical aids, and bed sores.
You should keep in mind that other forms of abuse can occur. For example, nursing home patients may be subject to financial abuse or exploitation, and they can also become victims of self-neglect in certain circumstances.
Risk Factors for Minnesota Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
What are some of the risk factors for nursing home abuse? While any senior can become the victim of elder abuse or neglect, there are certain risk factors that the NCEA and other organizations identify:
- Low levels of social support;
- Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia;
- Previous victim of traumatic experiences, including domestic violence, sexual assault, emotional abuse, and financial exploitation;
- Physical health impairment or poor physical health in general;
- Sex/gender (women are victimized more often than are men); and
- Low income or low socioeconomic status.
Legal Protections for Austin, MN Seniors
Seniors at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in Austin, Minnesota have rights and protections under both federal law and Minnesota state law. Under 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act and the Minnesota Health Care Bill of Rights both outline protections for seniors.
When an elderly nursing home resident suffers any form of nursing home abuse, she may be able to file a claim.
Seeking Help from an Experienced Austin Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Nursing home abuse and neglect can be difficult to detect, but it is extremely important to seek help from an experienced Austin nursing home abuse attorney if you do suspect that an elderly loved one has been mistreated. A dedicated advocate at our firm can go over the facts of your case with you today and can discuss your options for moving forward with a Minnesota nursing home abuse claim. Contact Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm LLC to get started on your claim.