As elderly people find it becomes a struggle to take care of their own day-to-day needs, many find they need the extra help that comes with an assisted living apartment or a nursing home. Some are also able to rely on family members as their needs increase. Unfortunately, nursing homes and family caretakers sometimes take advantage of their vulnerability.
Recently, two nursing home attendants in Cleveland were sentenced to jail for nursing home abuse. Startlingly, both nursing aides were convicted for abusing the same elderly woman.
Caretaker actions against an elderly person can rise to the level of a crime, as in the one case where a nursing aide intentionally sprayed perfume into her elderly client’s face. In addition to being a crime, the actions of caretakers may sometimes be the basis of a civil lawsuit, especially when it occurs in a nursing home.
Typical Signs of Abuse
Elder abuse can involve a number of things, including:
- Neglect or failing to properly care for an elderly person
- Exploitation, for instance, improperly using a elderly relative’s bank account
- Physical abuse, such as pushing or slapping
- Emotional abuse, including threats and humiliation
- Sexual abuse, such as rape and other unwanted sexual contact
Unfortunately, elder abuse can happen anywhere. In the Cleveland case, the facility where the woman lived and the employer of the nursing aides issued a formal apology. Each will implement additional training to ensure that employees do not abuse residents. However, for the elderly woman, an apology is likely not enough. The law may provide some relief for the woman and her family if she decides to file suit.
Elderly people and their families in Ohio can report suspicions of elder abuse by contacting the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. In emergency situations, elder abuse can be reported by calling local law enforcement.
People interested in learning more about our firm’s legal services, including medical malpractice in Ohio, may ask questions or send us information about a particular case by phone or email. There is no charge for contacting us regarding your inquiry. A member of our medical-legal team will respond within 24 hours.
Source: WKYC, “Investigator: Abusive nursing aide jailed,” Tom Meyer, Jan. 26, 2012.