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Charleston Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys

0121The elderly population represents one of the most vulnerable classes of society, a fact that makes any violation of their rights inexcusable. Abuse or neglect at an independent living facility, assisted living facility, or nursing home can result in physical or emotional trauma to the elderly person and a loss of trust by the family. These facilities are governed by detailed laws and regulations designed to protect the elderly. When elder care facilities fail to follow these rules, serious consequences can result. If your family member has suffered abuse or neglect at an independent living facility, assisted living facility, or nursing home, you should speak with one of our attorneys about the options available to you.

Our Aging Population

The 2010 census noted that people age 65 and older now account for 13% of the U.S. population at approximately 40 million people. This number is expected to rise dramatically over the next 25 years due to the aging of the “baby boomer” generation. Population forecasts show the number of people age 65 or older will double to 80 million by the year 2040.

Elder Abuse

Elder mistreatment, i.e. abuse and neglect, is typically defined as intentional actions that cause harm or create a serious risk of harm (whether or not harm is intended) to a vulnerable elder by a caregiver or other person who stands in a trust relationship to the elder. This includes failure by a caregiver to satisfy the elder’s basic needs or to protect the elder from harm. The elderly are often reluctant to report abuse themselves because of fear of retaliation, lack of physical and/or cognitive ability to report, or because they don’t want to get the abuser in trouble.

Signs of Elder Abuse

Elder abuse can take many forms, including financial exploitation, physical abuse, neglect by the caregiver, or even emotional abuse. Warning signs of financial exploitation include a lack of affordable comforts in the elder’s home, uncharacteristically excessive gifts to caregivers, and unexpected property transfers. Warning signs of physical abuse include unexplained injuries, such as bruises, sores, burns, cuts and broken bones. Warning signs of neglect include a lack of basic hygiene, lack of food, and lack of medicine or medical aids. Warning signs of emotional abuse include unexplained or uncharacteristic changes in behavior, isolation by the caregiver, and verbally aggressive or demeaning actions or remarks by the caregiver.

Effects of Abuse and Neglect

Abuse and neglect can lead to a variety of results for the victims and their families. The physical effects are obvious and must be taken seriously given the age and physical infirmities of many elderly people. Abuse and neglect can also lead to mental and emotional issues, ranging from post traumatic stress disorder to anxiety to depression. Appropriate evaluation and treatment by mental health professionals is often required. Abuse and neglect can also have disastrous financial consequences for the elderly.

Consult with Abuse and Neglect Attorney in Charleston

If you or a loved one has suffered abuse or neglect at an independent living facility, assisted living facility, or nursing home, you should speak with one of our attorneys about the civil remedies available to you. To speak with an attorney at Clawson and Staubes, LLC: Injury Group about the specifics of your claim directly, please call our offices today at (843) 720-0810.

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect FAQs

How can I be sure that abuse is occurring?

Determining whether abuse is happening can be a stressful, tricky task. The elderly are more susceptible to sustaining bruises and other small injuries from normal daily activities, which can sometimes make it difficult to figure out if physical abuse is occurring or not. Because of this, you should look for patterns of injury as well as the extent of the injuries. You can also look for other signs of abuse such as your loved one retreating from social events, avoiding eye contact, or exhibiting other symptoms of depression. Talk to your loved one about what has been happening to them, and keep in mind that they may be afraid to come forward or incriminate their abuser. It is often a difficult task to determine abuse, but if something seems wrong, it is worth investigating.

Are there any factors that make patients more vulnerable to abuse?

The elderly are already at a higher risk of abuse than other portions of the population. There are also a number of additional risk factors that can make nursing home patients even more vulnerable to abuse and neglect. Some of these factors include memory loss and physical disability. Abusers often take advantage of those they believe they can easily mistreat. Abusers may inflict physical, emotional, and psychological abuse. They may also financially exploit their victims. When a nursing home resident has memory loss or a physical disability, abusers may target them. Because these populations are more vulnerable to abuse, it is imperative to be vigilant in looking for warning signs of abuse and ensuring that your loved one is appropriately cared for.

What is elopement, and is it considered abuse/neglect?

Elopement refers to the incident when a resident wanders away from their nursing home facility. Elopement is almost always a form of neglect since patients should be appropriately supervised and prevented from leaving their care facility. Additionally, elopement can seriously endanger patients if they are not immediately missed. They could fall or otherwise injure themselves outside. Elopement can even be deadly in certain cases. If your loved one has been allowed to wander off the premises and has sustained any injuries in the process, you may entitled to compensation for medical bills and further financial recompense for the neglect that endangered your family member.

The inclusion of specific practice areas on the Clawson & Staubes: Injury Group website is informational in nature and is not an exhaustive listing of the areas of law in which the attorneys at Clawson and Staubes practice. Nothing contained in this website is intended to compare the type or quality of our services to the type or quality of any other lawyer or law firm’s services or to imply specialization or certification by any organization not previously approved by the South Carolina or North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization.