Alabama Nursing Home Abuse
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UPDATED: Mar 11, 2015
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With a growing aging population, the United States is facing a growing tide of nursing home abuse in which the elderly are abused or neglected by their caretakers. It is hard to acquire statistics on elder abuse, including Alabama nursing home abuse, due to the lack of a uniform system for reporting nursing home abuse and victims’ inability or unwillingness to come forward and report their abuse. However, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse, more than 500,000 Americans aged 60 and older were victims of elder abuse (including nursing home abuse) in 1996, a number that is increasing each year.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Alabama nursing home abuse affects long- and short-term nursing home residents. The term nursing home abuse covers all injuries that result in injury to the residents of a nursing home facility, including injuries such as falls, dehydration/malnutrition, improper dispensation of medication, pressure sores, abusive behavior and general neglect. Elderly patients residing in nursing homes may also be exploited financially or degraded by nursing home attendants who prey on their relative helplessness and the absence of family members in order to victimize the elderly.
While nursing homes in the United States are protected by the federal Nursing Home Reform Amendments passed in 1987, underreporting in nursing homes makes nursing home abuse hard to uncover. In addition, gaining control over nursing home abuse is often difficult because the elderly often give their power of attorney over to loved ones who are responsible for their legal rights, leaving the elderly with little control over their legal future.
Nursing Home Abuse in Alabama
There are over 240 licensed nursing homes in Alabama and approximately 25,000 Alabama residents who live in a nursing home facility. National studies have indicated that Alabama has an extremely poor standard for nursing homes. A 1999 report from the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the University of California San Francisco stated that Alabama’s nursing homes are the third worst in the nation. The perpetrators of Alabama elder and nursing home abuse may be prosecuted under both federal and state laws that protect the elderly and incapacitated.
If You Suspect Abuse
There are several warning signs of elder abuse and nursing home abuse. These include bruising, broken bones, and sudden changes in a victim’s financial condition or emotional state. If you suspect life-threatening danger, call 911 and talk to local law enforcement. Otherwise, contact an organization such as the Alabama Family Protection Unit or the Alabama Department of Public Health.
Once you have contacted these state organizations, get in touch with an experienced Alabama nursing home abuse attorney. Your Alabama nursing home abuse lawyer will help you to understand which Alabama laws apply to your case, tell you whether you may be eligible for compensation for injury and/or financial losses, and help you to file your nursing home abuse claim or lawsuit. For a no-cost, no-obligation evaluation of your nursing home abuse case by and experienced Alabama elder law attorney, fill out our case evaluation form.