Elder abuse inflicts devastating emotional and physical damage to millions of nursing home residents each year. It’s estimated that 1 in 5 elderly patients will suffer abuse, yet barely 1 in 14 cases is pursued. In Minnesota, nursing homes and caregivers can be held liable for the personal injuries they inflict on patients.
Physical abuse is defined as the non-accidental use of force. For example, a caregiver striking a patient for not complying with demands, or a caregiver deliberately over-tightening restraints to “punish” a nursing home resident for any number of reasons. Elder abuse can include kicking, punching, slapping, or implementing corporal punishment for any reason.
The physical abuse of elderly patients can inflict personal injuries that can have serious consequences. This is in part because elderly patients who are abused have a diminished capacity for healing. The direct physical injuries they suffer in an assault from a caregiver can lead to secondary injuries including bed sores, heart arrhythmia, insomnia, and other manifestations that can prolong and delay healing. Worst of all, elder abuse in Minnesota significantly increases the risk of death. Patients who have suffered physical or mental abuse have a 300% greater risk of death than their peers who have not suffered abuse.
Recognizing Physical Abuse
Physical personal injuries suffered by elderly patients are relatively easy to spot. Visible symptoms can include abrasions, cuts, deep scratches, and broken bones. Conversely, the psychological symptoms are more subtle. These can include withdrawal, depression, talk of suicide, trembling in the presence of a caregiver, etc.
Family members who identify these symptoms in their loved ones should meet with a personal injury lawyer in Minneapolis to develop a plan of action to transfer the patient’s care and pursue personal injury claims against the individuals responsible for the abuse. In most cases, it is essential to remove the patient from care in order to protect them from suffering further abuse or mistreatment from those entrusted with their care.
Pursuing Claims for Personal Injury
Victims or their guardian(s) may pursue claims for personal injury against nursing homes and caregivers. Pursuing these claims requires thorough documentation of the event(s) and the physical injuries that were inflicted. A personal injury lawyer in Minneapolis can use photographs, personal testimony, and medical records to show the detrimental physical and psychological impact of the abuse on the patient.