Most elderly adults (aged 60+) enjoy being independent and don’t usually care for change, so when they have to make a move into a nursing home or long-term care facility, finding a good one is important. You want your elderly loved one to be cared for by properly trained and compassionate staff, and when that doesn’t happen, your loved one often pays the price.
Unfortunately, there has been a rise in recent years of nursing home residents suffering at the hands of those whose duty it is to care for them. If you believe your elderly loved one has been a victim of abuse or neglect in Prince George’s County, an experienced Bowie nursing home abuse lawyer from GDH Law can help you seek justice.
If your loved one is in immediate danger, please contact local police and make sure your loved one is in a safe place before calling our office.
What Is Considered Elder Abuse?
According to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), each year, over 10% of adults age 65 and older suffer from some form of elder abuse. And while every situation and each victim are different, the types of abuse generally fall into the following categories:
- Physical: Any physical act of violence or aggression that causes bodily harm, injury, illness, or even death, such as hitting, kicking, pushing, or slapping.
- Psychological: Any verbal or non-verbal behavior that inflicts mental anguish, pain, fear, or distress, such as disrespect, threats, harassment, isolation, or humiliation.
- Financial: Any unauthorized or illegal use of an elderly adult’s benefits, belongings, money, property, or assets for the benefit of someone other than the elderly adult.
- Sexual: Any unwanted or forced sexual interaction of any kind, such as touching, sexual harassment, or intercourse.
The DOJ also classifies neglect and abandonment as forms of abuse, even though each individual state within the U.S. may not.
Signs To Look For
We don’t want to think about our loved one being harmed in any way, especially by those who are taking care of them. However, if you have suspicions that abuse is occurring, there are some warning signs to look for in your loved one:
- Sudden changes in behavior
- Bruises or cuts
- Sprains or dislocations
- Broken or fractured bones
- Open wounds or untreated injuries
- Changes in sleeping patterns or eating habits
- Depression or anxiety
- Extreme agitation
- Non-communicative behavior
- Bruising around the breasts or genital area
- Unexplained venereal disease or infection
- Unexplained disappearances of the elderly adult’s funds
- Abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents
- Unexplained credit card charges
- Sudden transfer of assets to a family member or someone outside the family
- Sudden addition of names added to an elderly person’s bank account
Any of these signs may not be due to abuse, but if one or more of these presents itself, it’s always a good idea to err on the side of caution and begin investigating.
You can ask your loved one if they’ve been recently treated badly or if someone is harming them, but often, elderly individuals who are suffering from such acts may feel shame or be afraid of the person responsible and may not want to tell you about it.
Consequences and Prevention of Abuse
Whenever a person suffers abuse or neglect, there will be physical and emotional effects. Victims can be anxious, fearful, or develop trust issues. Physical injuries can be minor, such as bruises, cuts, or welts, or they can lead to more serious issues, such as broken bones, disability, or even death. Psychological or emotional abuse can lead to depression or a loss of the will to live. Abuse of the elderly is not just damaging; it’s illegal, and we all need to work together to prevent it.
In the State of Maryland, there are laws requiring the mandatory reporting of elderly abuse. Suppose you witness or have a suspicion that any person who is a vulnerable adult, developmentally disabled, mentally ill, or a resident of a related institution (such as a nursing home) is being abused. In that case, you are legally obligated to report it.
If you believe elder abuse is occurring, you should call local police or reach out to Adult Protective Services in Maryland to make a report as soon as possible. You should also hire a lawyer who has experience with these types of cases.
Why You Should Hire a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
When it comes to our elderly loved ones, we want what is best for them, and we want them to be safe in their later years.
If your loved one is in a nursing home or long-term care facility and you believe they are being abused or neglected in any way but they are not in immediate danger, the best thing you can do to help them is to reach out to a nursing home abuse lawyer. At GDH Law, we suggest contacting a lawyer before expressing any concerns to nursing home staff or management, as the facility may attempt to hide or destroy evidence so that a legal case cannot be made against them.
Hiring a lawyer from our team will ensure you have someone experienced fighting for your loved one’s well-being and that you and your loved one will receive justice and compensation for any wrongdoing that has occurred.
Your lawyer will gather necessary evidence such as video, patient or staff files, medical records, and anything else pertinent to proving the abuse and will assist you in contacting the proper authorities to make a mandatory elderly abuse report to the State of Maryland.
Although specific compensation amounts vary from case to case, your nursing home abuse attorney can push for compensation for the following common damages:
- All medical bills associated with the abuse
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish or distress
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of earnings
In the event that your loved one dies due to the abuse they have suffered, you can pursue a wrongful death claim alongside your existing abuse case, which your lawyer can also assist you with.
The elderly community in Prince George’s County has grown over recent years, and with the Bowie Farmer’s Market, Allen Pond Park, local museums, and nearly year-round pleasant weather, it’s easy to see why. We want your elderly loved one to enjoy their golden years and stay safe while they do, but if you believe your relative is being mistreated, don’t hesitate to reach out to our office today to speak with a Laurel nursing home abuse lawyer.
Our compassionate and qualified lawyers at GDH Law are ready to help you and your family during this difficult time, and we won’t stop until justice is served.