Elder abuse is a terrible, and unfortunately common, occurrence. In 2019 alone, the Kentucky Adult Protective Services received over 22,000 calls that reported abuse of individuals over the age of 60. A large number of these calls were a direct result of a loved one being put at risk in an LTC (long term care) facility. When it comes to elder abuse, those around them can take action and help. Reporting the abuse as soon as possible is crucial in the process of protecting your loved ones so that physical and legal action can take place. It is estimated that only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse are ever reported to the authorities.
Recognizing Abuse in a Nursing Home
There are five main types of abuse to watch for in a nursing home.
- Physical abuse. This mistreatment of your loved one can manifest in evidence such as bruising, malnutrition, dehydration, fear, and illness.
- Sexual abuse which can culminate in anxiety, sores, or sexually transmitted diseases.
- Financial abuse wherein a care facility agent may have gained access to an elder’s bank account.
- Neglect can be defined as anything that does not mean the standards of care that should be upheld by the nursing home. This includes missed medication, misplaced hearing aids or dentures, unwashed persons or clothes, and other actions that lower the quality of life.
- Emotional abuse often causes confusion, fear, and an inability to communicate confidently.
Reporting Elder Abuse
It is essential to report elder abuse as soon as you suspect it. Not only is it legally required in the mandatory reporting state, but it is crucial to ensure legal action can be taken. The earlier the report is made, the more evidence there is to support the claim if it goes to court. Call the statewide reporting line at (877) 597-2331, or your Local Coordinator for the Council of Elder Abuse. You should also call the following Kentucky authorities to report suspected abuse:
- Adult Protective Services: 1-800-752-6200
- Office of the Inspector General: 502-564-7963
- Office of the Attorney General: 877-228-7384
Contacting Legal Council
Your next step is to contact an attorney who can support you through your case. It is imperative to contact a lawyer as soon as you have made the report. In Kentucky, the personal injury statute of limitations also applies to abuse in a nursing home. Action must be taken within one year of finding evidence of the neglect, or the case cannot be carried to court. While you are getting legal assistance, be sure to document every instance of abuse that you can. Even if you are not sure if something is considered neglect under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, gather the evidence anyway. Your lawyer will help you determine what is normal care, and what is harmful neglect.
Get Them the Help They Deserve
Do not let your loved ones suffer any longer. If you suspect neglect or abuse of an elderly relative or friend in a nursing home, call Roberts Law Office today to set up a consultation.