When people look for care or nursing homes for their elderly family members one of their foremost concerns is for their safety and wellbeing. They trust the nursing home staff to be kind, caring and attentive towards their residents. Finding out that their loved one suffered elder abuse can be extremely distressing. Unfortunately, elder abuse can and still does happen. It can happen in nursing homes and hospitals. It is also not unknown for older persons living in their own homes to have endured abuse by social workers, home carers, health professionals and even friends or family members.
If you, a loved one, or any other vulnerable older adult you know has suffered elder abuse, you must take action to stop and report the abuse immediately. Age UK provides some sound advice on their website here. You might also want to get in touch with a reputed personal injury solicitors for legal advice as it is likely you could file an elder abuse claim for compensation. A solicitor will help you understand your rights and will give you legal advice on what to do next.
Different Forms Of Elderly Abuse Claims
The thought that elder abuse happens is truly disturbing. As a person ages, sometimes they have failing physical and mental abilities leaving them increasingly susceptible to being abused. Elder abuse claims can arise from several different forms of abuse, from physical abuse and mental abuse to financial abuse and sexual abuse. It’s a truly disturbing thought.
Some of the more common forms of elder abuse in nursing homes/care homes and hospitals might include:
- Neglecting an elderly person’s basic needs such as nutrition, hydration, and hygiene;
- Not providing the necessary assistance to the aged individual who may be mobility impaired;
- Lack of supervision, which is particularly important for elders suffering from dementia;
- Failing to provide proper medical care;
- Being impatient and pushing an elderly person to move along faster;
- Violating an elder’s right to privacy and dignity;
- Scamming or stealing from somebody who may be unable to stop the financial abuse or unaware that it is happening.
Signs Of Elder Abuse
Older people such as old age pensioners may not always be forthcoming about the fact that they are being abused. In most cases this is commonly because they fear that the abuse may get worse if the perpetrator found out they told somebody. Those suffering from dementia may not remember exactly what happened or who abused them or they may confuse the facts leaving you wondering how much of it is true.
To help prevent your loved one from suffering elder abuse, it is crucial that you look out for them in every possible way if you’re able to. When you visit them, whether it is in a care home, hospital or their own home, do you notice any unexplained bruises, cuts or other physical injuries? Do they have any mysterious broken bones or burn marks that ring alarm bells? Are they suffering from pressure sores?
It’s not just the physical abuse that you should be looking out for. Mental and emotional abuse are just as prevalent but because they are more subtle, they often go unnoticed. Does the person look constantly anxious and afraid to talk? Do you notice any significant changes in their usual behaviour? Has the person lost a considerable amount of weight in too short a time?
If you notice anything that doesn’t seem right, don’t just ignore it and hope it’s nothing. Ask your loved one gently if all is okay. Convince them they can trust you to look out for them. Maybe visit more often to ensure that all is okay.
What To Do When You Know Your Elderly Loved One Is Being Abused
As we suggested earlier, the first thing to do is to remove the person from the abusive environment. If there are physical injuries, get photographs that show the injuries as clearly as possible. If the abuse was psychological, ask questions and write down the answers.
Filing a complaint with the police is an important second step. It helps create a record of the abuse, which you will need if you decide to pursue an elder abuse compensation claim.
Contacting a personal injury solicitor will help you understand if you are entitled to compensation and how to proceed with filing an elderly abuse claim. Compensation may be the last thing on your mind when your loved one has experienced abuse, but it would a mistake to overlook this aspect. While money cannot make up for the trauma, it can help to cover the cost of the medical care and psychological support your loved one may need now and over the long term.
Making An Elder Abuse Compensation Claim
Being abused, or having a loved one abused can leave you shaken up. You need time to heal and to try to come to terms with the experience. Meanwhile, you may have to bear the cost of expensive medical treatments and counselling sessions. With so much going on, it is difficult to find the time, energy or money to initiate legal proceedings.
When you have a personal injury solicitor by your side, they will pull out all the stops to safeguard your legal rights so you can take the time you need to attend to yours or your loved ones physical and mental injuries.
With the age of the Internet, contacting a personal injury solicitor has never been so easy, and as most offer totally free consultations over the phone to talk through what has happened and determine whether or not you should file a claim, never so convenient. If you speak with a solicitor and they decide your case has merit, they will advise making your claim using a No Win No Fee agreement so you don’t have to bear any legal costs until compensation has been awarded. The basic terms of a No Win No Fee contract are simple. If our solicitors win your elder abuse claim and you’re awarded compensation, you pay an agreed, set percentage of the award. If they don’t win the case, you don’t pay anything at all.
Once you agree to the terms and sign the No Win No Fee contract, the solicitor will conduct a full investigation into your complaint. They can also research records kept by local authorities, the police, medical institutions and courts to look for other complaints against the alleged abuser.
Filing an elder abuse claim on a No Win No Fee basis gives you several advantages. Having legal representation increases the odds not just of winning your claim but also of being awarded the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
If you would like to arrange a consultation with one of our personal injury solicitors at a time that is convenient to you to discuss an elder abuse claim please call us on 0800 6524 881.