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Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes

Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes

Speak With An Indianapolis Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

The elderly are among the most vulnerable people in the United States, especially if they are in assisted living or other long-term care situations. Unfortunately, they are often easy prey for those with malicious intent – estimates from the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) state that as many as 1 in 10 people over age 60 have been victims of elder abuse to some degree. While the majority of abusers are the adult children of the victims, the significant minority of cases occur at the hands of nursing home staff. If you believe that your loved one has been a victim, it is wise to consult an attorney.

Not All Abuse Is Visible

There are generally held to be five different types of elder abuse, all of which are actionable in most circumstances. Physical abuse and sexual abuse are fairly self explanatory; any kind of unwanted physical or sexual conduct can in theory qualify as abuse. The other three types are emotional, financial and neglectful. Emotional abuse can be alleged when there is a pattern of demeaning or degrading behavior, and can go hand in hand with neglect. Financial abuse is perhaps the most common, with the elderly person’s assets being drained without their knowledge.

Reasonable Suspicion Is Enough To Report

Because of the vulnerability of the U.S. elderly population, it is not necessary to have absolute proof of elder abuse before reporting. Unlike many other states, Indiana actually imposes a limited duty on all interested citizens to report suspected abuse to Adult Protective Services (APS), and provides immunity in most situations for anyone who makes a report that later turns out to be erroneous. However, there are even stricter reporting requirements for nurses, healthcare workers and other professionals who may possess better training than the average person in detecting such abuse – a failure to do so many open them to allegations of negligence.

Individuals Or The Nursing Home May Be Liable

If you suspect that a loved one is being abused, you may have a case against the individual employee, but depending on the situation, it may also be a wise idea to bring suit against the nursing home as a business. Indiana subscribes to the common-law doctrine of respondeat superior, also called vicarious liability, and this means that it is possible to hold an employer liable for the acts of their subordinates, if the action in question was performed in the scope of employment. Given that managing the needs of patients is almost always within the scope of employment, it is often a good idea to possibly bring suit against the nursing home as well as the individual employee.

Seek A Knowledgeable Indianapolis Attorney

The abuse of an elder can understandably make tempers run high, but if your loved one has been injured by a nursing home aide or professional worker, it may be possible to obtain compensation for their injuries by knowing your options. Call an Indianapolis nursing home abuse attorney at Holland & Holland today to discuss your case; you can do so either via our website or by phone at (317) 581-4400.

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