Myths about Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
An experienced Alabama attorney can help you get justice
Moving a loved one into a nursing home can be very difficult. We want to ensure that loved ones will be in a place where their needs will be met, and they will be treated with compassion and respect. Unfortunately, every year in Alabama and throughout the United States, residents of these facilities experience nursing home abuse and neglect.
It’s a serious issue that impacts the lives of victims in many ways – physically, emotionally, and financially. Unfortunately, it’s also an issue that is often misunderstood. There are many myths about nursing home abuse and neglect. That’s one reason why identifying the problem and putting a stop to it can be complicated.
Here are some common myths regarding abuse and neglect in nursing facilities.
Myth #1: Nursing home abuse and neglect is rare.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, more than 9,000 cases of adult abuse, neglect, and exploitation were reported in the state in 2021. That number includes elderly and disabled adults in a variety of care settings. The actual number of abuse and neglect victims is likely much higher due to underreporting.
Myth #2: Nursing home abuse and neglect only happen in poorly managed or understaffed facilities.
Abuse and neglect can happen in any nursing facility, regardless of its rating, reputation, management, or staffing level. Abuse and neglect of residents can occur due to a wide range of factors, including individual staff members’ attitudes and behaviors, inadequate training, and lack of oversight.
Myth #3: Nursing home abuse always results in physical injuries.
When many people think of “abuse,” they think of physical injuries such as bruises and broken bones. Physical abuse is a genuine problem in nursing homes, but it is far from the only type. Some residents suffer emotional abuse through insults, threats, or intimidation. Others are the victims of financial abuse and lose their money or property. Some residents suffer sexual abuse. And many residents suffer when there is neglect, and they do not receive the care they need.
Myth #4: it’s easy to spot the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect.
There are a few signs of abuse that are obvious, such as unexplained bruises or injuries. But many signs are more subtle and challenging to identify. They can include sudden changes in behavior or mood, unexplained weight loss, and poor hygiene. Nursing homes may offer other explanations for these signs. But you know your loved one. So if you suspect something is wrong, following your instincts is important.
Myth #5: Only nursing home staff members are responsible for abuse or neglect.
Staff members who engage in nursing home abuse or neglect must be held accountable. But nursing home facilities have a responsibility to protect their residents. That means they are responsible for checking backgrounds and qualifications in the hiring process, providing proper training for staff members, and setting and enforcing policies and procedures designed to protect the health and safety of residents.
Myth #6: Residents who are being abused will tell their family members about it.
There are many reasons why a resident who is being abused won’t talk about it to family members. They may be ashamed or embarrassed by what’s happening. Or they may fear retaliation by the staff member who is committing the abuse. In some cases, residents are unable to discuss the abuse due to dementia or another illness.
Myth #7: Nursing homes are the only facility where seniors are abused or neglected.
The abuse of seniors is also a significant problem in assisted living facilities. These facilities help residents with bathing, dressing, medication management, and housekeeping. But residents of these facilities are also sometimes subjected to physical, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse.
Myth #8: Reporting nursing home abuse and neglect is straightforward.
If you suspect a loved one is being abused or neglected, you can report your concerns to the nursing home facility and state agencies. However, the process can be complex and frustrating. The administrator of the nursing home facility may not seem responsive to your concerns. Reporting procedures can be complicated, and you may face legal and bureaucratic obstacles. That’s why talking to an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer about your situation is important.
Talk to an attorney about your potential legal options
Holding nursing home facilities and staff members accountable for abuse and neglect can be an uphill battle. Nursing home facilities often deny that any abuse or neglect has been happening, putting you in the position of having to prove a loved one was a victim. Insurance companies representing these facilities have lawyers who will work to minimize your claim.
At Shuttlesworth Law Firm, P.C., you get a caring and compassionate attorney with decades of experience fighting for victims of nursing home abuse and neglect in Alabama. Attorney Perry Shuttlesworth works personally with clients and is committed to helping them get the best possible outcome.
Attorney Shuttlesworth knows the obstacles you can face when trying to recover compensation for abuse and neglect. Our legal team reviews medical records, seeks access to facility records, interviews witnesses, and consults with experts as needed. As a result, we build strong cases that insurance companies can’t simply ignore.
If you think a loved one may be the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect in an Alabama facility, it’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. We can review the details of your loved one’s situation, discuss your legal options, and answer any questions you have.
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