Senior elder abuse happens more often than many people realize, and the current healthcare climate of restricted visitation could well be making the situation worse. Those who are being cared for in their homes or someone else’s residence even have visitation restrictions in place in certain states with regions where Covid-19 cases reportedly exceed an acceptable level. And, for those who are housed in a nursing home or assisted living center, similar visitation restrictions exist as well along with being in close proximity to others who could contract the disease. Elder abuse cases typically begin when a family member or loved one senses something is not quite right with the individual care arrangement, and restricted visitation impedes that realization. It is difficult to see elder abuse happening, and even more difficult to report it with credibility. Many times reporting cases will actually require the assistance of a senior elder abuse attorney who knows the signs of abuse from prior personal experience.
Elder Abuse at Home
It is a fact that most elderly people who need supervision or medical monitoring still want to stay at home where they are most comfortable. In fact, this is the most common situation. The decision to remain at home is generally dependent on the level of need for the individual, but this agreement to care for family members and close friends is not unusual. However, abusing this scenario is not unusual either. The problem is that the abuse can be minimal to some degree and still not be acceptable. And, abuse can occur in multiple ways, including financial. Those who have assigned a power of attorney to a primary family member could easily be vulnerable to theft and falsified signatures on certain documents such as wills and property deeds. While it does not take an attorney to detect this type of abuse, it can assuredly be a valid form of documented evidence and effectively presented in court.
Facility Elder Abuse
There are numerous problems that can occur or exist in a nursing home or an assisted living facility. Healthcare facilities and nursing homes are often understaffed to begin with, and many of those workers are not trained before beginning employment. Housekeeping is also seriously lacking in many nursing homes, which could easily create substandard health conditions. Even certified nurse’s assistants are often lacking in experience, which means there are even fewer people working the floor who actually know what the standard should be and how to respond in an emergency other than seeking more qualified personnel. This lack of experience and training can result in many elder abuse situations either being covered up or never reported in any fashion regardless of what the law requires. And, it can be a real problem when the families of residents are not allowed visits. This combination of factors means that many times the only available recourse is contacting a nursing home negligence attorney with the legal expertise to force an inspection of the facility.
Inspection Record Documentation
Inspection records serve as excellent evidence when the state has recognized that problems exist, even if they are general. Documentation regarding visitation denial can also be used to establish the concept that the facility managers are indeed hiding something. A negative inspection report can actually begin investigations for other residents, which all health care and assisted living facilities want to avoid at all costs. One report can begin a chain of events that develops into a valid abusive environment for multiple elders, not to mention the possibility that a nursing home could be forced to cease operation. While this is an extreme measure by the state, forced closures do happen when facilities are well below standard care level and the information can be solid evidence in any senior elder abuse case.
Many cases of elder abuse will require reporting to the proper government or public service agency to establish that there is a problem. The novice family member may not be aware of legal parameters when evaluating surrounding circumstances, and some also do not want to be the culprit in a family where other people know and are allowing the abuse to continue. Knowing what to do can be difficult even when there are agencies such as Adult Protective Services. Serious cases should actually include involvement from an elder abuse attorney who can identify problems from a legal standpoint and conduct a full investigation into a totality of circumstances.
Even in these trying times, it is never a good decision to sit back and let potential elder abuse continue when something can be done to stop it. Always call an experienced elder abuse attorney or nursing home negligence attorney who can investigate the claim take appropriate legal action. The life of a family member or close friend may depend on it.