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Nursing home abuse may be widespread

Making the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home can be very difficult for California families. The combination of the frailties of advanced age coupled with various physical and mental conditions render many elderly individuals beyond the care capabilities of the average family member. Additionally, without some form of long-term care insurance, costs can be daunting. However, another more serious concern looms large -- nursing home abuse.

A 2017 investigation reveals a bleak picture. In a recent three-year period, the federal government cited more than 1,000 facilities across the country for malfeasance in handling or failing to prevent some form of sexual assault on their residents. Most incidents alleged were patient-on-patient assault but many were perpetrated by a facility staff member on an often helpless resident. As disturbing as these statistics are, elder abuse experts contend that most assaults go unreported by the victims for a variety of reasons, and therefore the true number of victims is far higher.

Inability to communicate, fear of not being believed and fear of retaliation are just a few of the reasons for underreporting. Moreover, this is true for other forms of abuse. Abuse can be physical without being sexual in nature, or it could involve depriving the patient/resident of proper care. Soiled linens and bed clothing, lack of proper hygiene with medical devices and lack of nutritious and timely meals are just a few examples.

Additionally, mental abuse in the form of social deprivation or threats cannot be overlooked. An experienced elder abuse lawyer can explain how the friends and family of a nursing home resident can act as that person's advocate to secure the rights and dignity that every nursing home patient deserves.

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