Lawyer Monthly - October 2022

In brief, what is abuse and neglect understood to mean in the context of nursing homes? There is really no ‘official’ definition of nursing home abuse. I think the easiest way to define the issue is that any time that a resident at a nursing home is mistreated should be considered an episode of abuse or neglect. I tend to think of abuse as more of intentional act when caretakers harm residents in nursing homes and other long-term facilities. Neglect is likely what is behind the majority of episodes involving an injury or fatality in a skilled nursing facility. This occurs when staff simply do not provide the medical care that residents require according to their specified requirements or as dictated by their condition. How does this abuse often manifest? There is essentially an endless type of abuse that can occur in a nursing home setting. When facilities control every aspect of a patient’s care and living arrangements, there is a lot of room for errors. As the person that families may call after an incident, I do see some patterns in terms of common situations such as: • Neglect of a residents basic needs resulting in an injury • Physical abuse perpetrated by staff or other residents • Sudden deterioration of health • Sexual assault • Emotional abuse • Weight loss • Physical injuries such as bed sores or broken bones How are cases of nursing home abuse tried? What is the process involved? There is definitely a process to pursuing a nursing home abuse case. The initial step involves obtaining the medical records from the facility where an incident occurred. While getting a copy of the resident’s medical chart may sound Identifying and Tackling NursingHome Abuse Thought Leader Abuse that is inflicted on residents in nursing homes is often insidious, requiring the close attention of a loved one in order to discern. In this article, experienced personal injury lawyer Jonathan Rosenfeld explores the subject in greater depth. What are the signs of elder abuse occurring in nursing homes, and how can it be addressed? 96 LAWYERMONTHLYOCTOBER 2022

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