Nursing homes and other care facilities are liable in civil lawsuits for personal injuries and wrongful death caused by patient abuse and neglect. Murphy & Landon has experienced personal injury attorneys who have successfully sued these facilities for abuse and neglect of patients and residents.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), elder abuse is defined as “an intentional act, or failure to act, by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult. (An older adult is defined as someone age 60 or older.)” https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/elderabuse/definitions.html.
The CDC identifies several forms of elder abuse, including:
“Physical Abuse: the intentional use of physical force that results in acute or chronic illness, bodily injury, physical pain, functional impairment, distress, or death. Physical abuse may include, but is not limited to, violent acts such as striking (with or without an object or weapon), hitting, beating, scratching, biting, choking, suffocation, pushing, shoving, shaking, slapping, kicking, stomping, pinching, and burning.”
“Sexual Abuse or Abusive Sexual Contact: forced or unwanted sexual interaction (touching and non-touching acts) of any kind with an older adult.”
“Emotional or Psychological Abuse: verbal or nonverbal behavior that results in the infliction of anguish, mental pain, fear, or distress. Examples include behaviors intended to humiliate (e.g., calling names or insults), threaten (e.g., expressing an intent to initiate nursing home placement), isolate (e.g., seclusion from family or friends), or control (e.g., prohibiting or limiting access to transportation, telephone, money or other resources).”
“Neglect: failure by a caregiver or other responsible person to protect an elder from harm, or the failure to meet needs for essential medical care, nutrition, hydration, hygiene, clothing, basic activities of daily living or shelter, which results in a serious risk of compromised health and safety. Examples include not providing adequate nutrition, hygiene, clothing, shelter, or access to necessary health care; or failure to prevent exposure to unsafe activities and environments.”
The National Center for Elder Abuse (NCEA)
The National Center for Elder Abuse (NCEA) is an important source for information about elder abuse and neglect, including statistics and data: https://ncea.acl.gov/What-We-Do/Research/Statistics-and-Data.aspx#ltc. The NCEA website has links to key resources for the elderly and their families, including justice for the elderly. https://elderjustice.acl.gov/.
According to the NCEA, there are more than 16,000 nursing homes in the United States. https://ncea.acl.gov/NCEA/media/docs/Abuse-of-Residents-of-Long-Term-Care-Facilities-(2012)_1.pdf. During the two-year period 1991-2001, nearly one-third of nursing homes were cited for violations of federal standards that either caused harm, or had the potential to cause harm, to a resident. In a study of 2,000 interviews of nursing home residents, 44% said they had been abused and 95% said they had been neglected or seen another resident neglected. (Broyles, 2000): https://ncea.acl.gov/NCEA/media/docs/Abuse-of-Residents-of-Long-Term-Care-Facilities-(2012)_1.pdf. According to a 2008 study by the U.S. General Accountability Office, state surveys understate problems in licensed facilities. Nursing Homes: Federal Monitoring Surveys Demonstrate Continued Understatement of Serious Care Problems and CMS Oversight Weaknesses.
The elderly population in the United States continues to grow. The NCEA indicates that, between 2020 and 2050, the number of Americans over the age of 65 will increase by more than 20 million to a total of more than 80 million. https://ncea.acl.gov/What-We-Do/Research/Statistics-and-Data.aspx#population. And the number of Americans age 85 and older will increase from about 6 million to 18 million.
Important links for information about preventing elder abuse include:
If a family member or loved one is the victim of suspected elder abuse or neglect in a nursing home, acute rehabilitation facility, or any long term or temporary care facility, in Delaware, Southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or Maryland, contact Murphy & Landon for a free consultation: 302-472-8100 or toll free: 866-939-8100.