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What is Nursing Home Abuse?

In 1965, the Older Americans Act was passed to protect the rights of nursing facility residents.[1] Residents have the right to a dignified existence, the right to self-determination, and the right to access services inside and outside the nursing home. Furthermore, residents also have the protected rights of freedom of choice, right to privacy, and right to voice complaints. The consequences of elder abuse may result in the deterioration of overall health, and depression, diminishing an individual’s quality of life. So, what is nursing home abuse?

Warning Signs of Abuse and Neglect

Nursing home abuse and neglect may come in many forms. Elder neglect may be defined as “the failure of a caregiver to provide food, shelter, clothing, medical services, medication, or health care for an elderly person.”[2]

Neglect can include failure to properly attend to bathroom responsibilities or a lack of the provision of food, water, hygiene, or medication. Common warning signs of neglect include malnourishment, dehydration, rashes, or safety hazards.

In Alabama, nursing home abuse is defined as the intentional use of physical force, resulting in illness, injury, pain, or functional impairment.[3]

Abuse may be in a physical or psychological form. Physical abuse may be manifested through pushing or hitting, burning, slapping, improperly restraining, and forcing or denying food or drink. Psychological abuse may involve verbal or physical threats, harassment, isolation, or any action knowingly causing the emotional anguish of the resident. Another form of abuse may be emotional abuse. Emotional abuse can be defined as the “intentional or reckless infliction of emotional or mental anguish or the use of a physical or chemical restraint, medication, or isolation as punishment or as a substitute for treatment or care of an elderly person.”[4]

How to Report

If you suspect elder abuse, listen to what the elder individual is saying. It is essential to take care of our older Americans’ safety and best interests. If you notice any of these warning signs, please do not hesitate to report them immediately.

You are able to make a report by calling the Adult Abuse Hotline at 1-800-458-7214.

Nursing home abuse attorney Derek Chen regularly works with other lawyers throughout the state whose skills and experience match the unique needs of each of his clients. Don’t choose a personal injury lawyer based on their advertisements. Let Derek Chen use his knowledge and relationships to see that you get the best representation possible. And he'll be right there with you every step of the way to ensure that maximize your recovery in the following types of personal injury matters.

[1] OAA of 1965 [2] Ala. Code §13A-6-191(7) [3] Ala. Code §13A-6-192-3 [4] Ala. Code §13A-6-191(4)

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