Ask an Expert: What to Know About Elder Abuse

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Roughly two million elders in the United States are victims of abuse. And, when you have a loved one in a nursing facility, that statistic can be concerning. In fact, statistics from federal and state authorities record that almost one-third of nursing homes throughout the United States have been issued citations for abuse infractions and violations. We sat down with Bill Tiano of Tiano O’Dell to find out what signs to look for when you have a loved one staying in a nursing facility:

Where is elder abuse and negligence most common?
Bill: Abuse to elders can happen anywhere at any time. Elder abuse can occur at rehab centers, residential treatment and care facilities, assisted living or shared housing facilities, nursing homes and all other homes of the elderly.

What are the signs that a loved one may be being abused in a nursing facility?
Bill: Just like any other kind of abuse, friends and family members should look for physical signs of abuse — bruises, unexplained injuries, signs of restraint, change in personality, fear of being left with a caregiver and a caregiver refusing you to be alone with the elderly person.

Aside from physical abuse, what other kinds of abuse can the elderly be exposed to?
Bill: The elderly can be abused not just physically, but also, mentally, emotionally, sexually abused, neglected and financially exploited by their caregiver.

What are the common causes of nursing home abuse and neglect?
Bill: Common causes include failing to do background checks on staff, hiring unqualified staff, overworked and limited staff, poor training programs, carelessness, lack of oversight and pharmaceutical mismanagement.

In what ways can an elderly person be neglected?
Bill: A person in a nursing facility who is experiencing negligence may have been neglected medically (not treated for medical conditions); neglected from basic needs (not given adequate food and water) or neglected of proper hygiene in which the resident is not assisted with bathing, brushing teeth and so on. A resident may also experience emotional neglect in which the elder is ignored or yelled at by a staff member.

If you suspect your loved one may be a victim of elder abuse, contact Tiano O’Dell today for a free consultation of your case.