By Matt Lalande in Nursing Home Negligence on May 13, 2018
3 minute read from Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Hamilton
Ontario Nursing Home Abuse is becoming much more common that it should be, thanks for portable surveillance cameras and secret video recording equipment. Elderly victims, who are an easy target of abuse, are often unable to defend themselves and at times, end up living in desperate silence, unwilling to seek help or complain because they are too vulnerable and often believe their cries will go unanswered. Deterioration in cognition and physical functioning easily sets up the stage for predator victimization and exploitation.
Elder abuse can take many forms, the most common being of physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.
Many senior citizens that are physically abused live in silent desperation. They are too afraid to tell loved ones, either because their relatives won’t believe them or care too much to do anything. They are often afraid of the legal system or they are afraid of repercussions by nursing home staff if their complaints go unanswered. Is your loved one being physically abused by nursing home staff? Here are some of the typical signs of physical elder abuse:
-Injuries with explanations that don’t make sense;
-Hair patches missing;
-Breaks and fractures;
-Your loved one is isolated and withdrawn;
-Your loved one is hesitant to talk freely, secretive and frightened;
-Bruises or cuts around wrists and ankles from being physically restrained. When staffing is low, employees have been known to tie down elderly patients in beds or chairs and cause injury.
-Rolling over an elder roughly;
-Dropping an elder on the floor;
Ontario law imposes upon nursing home owners, staff and nurses the duty to reasonably protect its residents and provide each patient proper health care. There is an obligation to exercise reasonable care and ensure that all residents are protected from abuse and free from neglect. Nursing home neglect can take many forms against vulnerable seniors, such as:
-The failure to provide medication;
-Deprivation of food or water;
-The failure to provide comfort and safety;
-The failure to provide warm clothing, blankets and heat;
-Allowing inappropriate clothing for the weather conditions;
-The failure of nursing home staff to answer calls from residents or not attending to assist the elderly;
-Isolation of the elderly person from other residents;
-The lack of bathing or washing;
-Allowing an elder to live unsanitary conditions;
-Failing to call for medical assistance;
-The lack of toileting assistance leading to skin damage or infections, or falling injuries when residents try to make it to the washroom on their own;
-The lack of helping to move or position leading to bedsores or other infections.
Financial exploitation of the elderly is when a person uses or exploits an elder’s money or property, funds or assets to their own benefit. The financial abuser may take control of a vulnerable person’s bank accounts, forcefully handle all financial matters for the elder person, and do so by threats of abuse or violence, or threats of “placing them” in a nursing home. The abuser may spend an elder’s money, hide funds, misappropriate funds into different accounts, cash the elder’s cheques, withdraw money from the elder’s bank accounts, and/or convince the elder to sign contracts that may result in unwanted obligations or commitments. Often times, for the vulnerable elder victim, the lines are blurred in their mind about whether the person cares about them or whether the person is scheming to take advantage of them. Other common reported ways of financial exploitation are getting the elder to donate to to fake institutions under false pretenses, or convincing an elder to change his/her will and estate plans to benefit the intruder.
If your loved one has died, or seems upset, agitated, withdrawn, non-communicative or displays visible and obvious signs of physical abuse or neglect, or has reported mistreatment to you, it is important that investigate or obtain the appropriate surveillance evidence if possible. If you have clear and cogent evidence that your loved one is being or has been abused, or has died as a result of abuse or neglect, it is important that you speak to a personal injury lawyer that can assist in your elder abuse case and explain your legal options to you. Your elderly loved one has the full right to a safe and providing environment that is stable and caring. If he or she is abused intentionally then damages should be sought against each and every health care provider that was involved in the neglect or abuse. Please call us for a free consultation at 905-333-8888 for more information, fill in a contact form or speak to our live operator who will help you set up an appointment today. Alternatively you may fill out a contact form and we will get back to you within several hours.