Abandonment of the Elderly in Nursing Homes
In the context of nursing homes, abandonment involves the desertion of an elderly person by a caregiver or caregiving institution which has been entrusted with the care of or who has physical custody of that elderly person. Nursing homes and caregivers have a legal obligation to provide a reasonable standard of care to older residents. Failing to uphold that obligation may be grounds for legal action.
Abandonment often coincides with neglect, physical, emotional, and/or financial abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, hundreds of thousands of senior citizens are neglected, abused, and abandoned every year in this country. Countless others suffer maltreatment as resident of nursing homes and care facilities but are unwilling or unable to report it.
Signs and Symptoms of Elder Abandonment
In many cases involving nursing home abandonment, victims are left alone for longer periods of time, sometimes indefinitely. This isolation and desertion may not be visible to visitors of the care facility; but nursing home residents may report instances of abandonment to family members.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of nursing home abandonment include:
- Self-reporting by an elder of being left alone, abandoned, or neglected
- Desertion of an elder at a shopping center, park, or other public location
- Failure to provide continuing care at a hospital, nursing facility, nursing home, or similar institution
Preventing Nursing Home Abandonment
Many in the public health sector refer to elder abuse as an “invisible epidemic.” The single most effective way for family members or guardians to prevent elder maltreatment is to visit relatives in nursing home or care facilities as often as possible. Upon visiting a facility, keep an eye out for unacceptable or unhealthy conditions within the facility. Generally, even able-bodied residents should not be left unmonitored or unsupervised for any length of time.
When visiting with a loved one, try to meet with them alone and talk to them, ask lots of questions, and most importantly listen to them. It can be very difficult for victims to report abuse out of misplaced feelings of shame and guilt. Instead, counteract self-blame by empowering and encouraging your elder to speak up when they don’t feel well or aren’t being treated well. That way, if they ever do suffer some form of abuse, they will be primed to report it to you before it gets out of control.
Pennsylvania & New Jersey Elder Abandonment Lawyers
No matter how vigilant we are, we cannot watch our loved ones all the time. For those with an elder who has suffered abandonment, neglect, or abuse, please contact us immediately to protect your legal rights. You can reach our team of elder abuse attorneys toll-free at 1-855-462-3330 or by using our online contact form.