What Is Considered Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Ohio?

Post by: Eric Jones | Posted Date: July 21st, 2017 |

Residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities are among the most vulnerable members of our society. Sadly, they suffer from abuse and neglect at alarming rates. A review of several studies into the issue revealed that nearly 10 percent of elderly people who require around-the-clock health care or assistance with the daily activities of living like dressing and eating suffer abuse or neglect.


The nursing home abuse attorneys with the Jones Law Group know all too well that recognizing the mistreatment of aged and disabled individuals is not always easy. Problems can persist for months or years, and the results can be irreversible, even deadly.


In an effort to clear up confusion and spur remedial actions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought together a group of experts in 2016 to formulate a uniform definition of abuse and neglect. The group agreed that neglect or abuse consisted of 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 serious risk of harm.”


That still leaves a lot to unpack, but it offers a good place to begin illustrating what constitutes nursing home abuse and neglect in Ohio and elsewhere. We can start by briefly illustrating possible instances of abuse.


Physical abuse of older and incapacitated people can take the forms of


  • Physical assault like hitting or pushing,
  • Sexual assault, which means any type of nonconsensual and nontreatment-related touching of the genitals, or
  • Confinement or restraint when neither is needed to maintain safety or health.


Signs of physical abuse that family members, visitors, and caregivers should watch for and report include unexplained bruises and broken bones, constant sedation, sores around the wrists and ankles, newly diagnosed sexually transmitted infections, or torn clothing. Note that anyone can, and should, intervene on behalf of a patient who appears to be suffering from abuse. Calling the police may be warranted in extreme cases.


Emotional abuse encompasses insults, threats, denying contact and communication with friends and family, and blaming the person for problems caused by staff or fellow residents. Mental and emotional suffering inflicted on nursing home patients often leads to depression or the worsening of cognitive issues like dementia or aphasia.


Symptoms of emotional abuse can include withdrawal from others, loss of interest in usual hobbies and entertainments, marked agitation and fearfulness, refusal to eat, and sudden declines in mental function or physical abilities.


Financial abuse runs the gamut from actual theft to misuse of Social Security and retirement benefits. Insurance fraud and misappropriating on Medicare or Medicaid funds can also be linked to abuse of individual nursing home residents.


A family member or caregiver who has power of attorney for a patient should watch for unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts, changes to a will or other estate-planning document, missing valuables, and deterioration in the patient’s living conditions despite having bills and benefits paid as usual.


Neglect can also cause significant physical, emotional, and mental suffering. Too-common instances of neglect in health care setting include leaving patients unsupervised and unattended when they are at risk for falls or other crises, undertreating pain, overmedicating as form of control, and leaving soiled clothes and linens unchanged for extended periods.


Signs of neglect include poor hygiene, bed sores/pressure ulcers, noticeable weight loss, and delays in, or refusals to, replace lost or damaged eyeglasses, hearing aids, and a mobility aid like a cane, walker, or wheelchair.


Many instances of nursing home abuse and neglect stem from keeping too few people on staff, assigning poorly trained people to care for patients, and providing inadequate supervision over providers and attendants. When taking legal action to resolve a case of abuse or neglect becomes necessary, it is often appropriate to file complaints and lawsuits against individual staff members, staff supervisors, and the company that owns and operates the facility.


If you need to speak with a nursing home negligence lawyer, you can schedule a no-cost, no obligation consultation with the Jones Law Group by calling (614) 545-9998. Appointments can also be scheduled online. If your health will not allow you to visit our Columbus, OH, offices, we’ll come to you.

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