Adult Protective Services (APS) consists of social services designed to protect and serve the elderly and significantly disabled adults. State or local governments typically manage APS entities. One of Adult Protective Services’ primary functions is to help nursing home victims by preventing or stopping abuse and neglect.
Nursing Home Abuse Facts
The United States Census Bureau reports seniors ages 60 and older are the fastest-growing demographic. While many elderly adults elect to age in place or receive care from family members, this is not an option for everyone. Nursing homes can provide individuals with mental or cognitive disabilities with a safe place to receive compassionate, consistent, quality medical attention, and personal care. For many patients and their families, these facilities are critical.
Unfortunately, not all nursing homes uphold the expected standard of care. In fact, the uptick in demand for nursing homes due to aging Baby Boomers correlates with a decrease in service quality across the board. Many nursing homes are ill-equipped and understaffed, resulting in a high risk of neglect or abuse.
Nursing home patients are among the most vulnerable members of society. Often, residents have cognitive or physical disabilities which make it difficult or impossible for them to defend themselves or report injustices. Isolation can compound this vulnerability, as can the fear of being a burden.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states elder abuse is one of the most significant global health issues. Sadly, as WHO notes, this is more than likely a dramatic underrepresentation of how widespread the issue is, largely because the vast majority of victims never speak up about their trauma. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) suggests, based on evidence from various studies, that abuse may actually affect up to 50% of nursing home residents.
If your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, contact Adult Protective Services for help. After getting in touch with your local APS, you may also want to consider contacting a personal injury lawyer. Nursing home abuse can have multiple significant effects on victims and their families, including physical and psychological injuries, as well as substantial medical and recovery costs. If your loved one was injured by nursing home abuse, you may have a legal right to pursue justice and financial awards.
What Constitutes Elder Abuse
The Center for Elders and the Courts (CEC) includes physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, abandonment, and self-neglect under the elder abuse umbrella. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states physical abuse accounts for a large number of elder abuse cases. Neglect, or the failure to meet a person’s basic needs, is another of the most prevalent issues. Neglect can encompass a range of actions, including inadequate nutrition, failure to provide a sanitary environment, failure to treat medical conditions, or failure to administer medications. Neglect and physical abuse can be especially life-threatening. Emotional and psychological abuse, as well as financial abuse, are also widespread and can cause severe long-term harm.
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How Adult Protective Services Can Help
Adult Protective Services as an arm of local and state governments is a relatively new phenomenon, per the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA). Virginia Lehmann for the National Council on Aging in 1960 released the first Adult Protective Services study. And in 1961, the White House Conference on Aging officially recommended social, legal, and medical agencies cooperate and step up their collective effort to protect older people. It was not until 1981 that all states had some office designated to protect vulnerable adults. Fortunately, today, most states have mandatory reporting laws and provide government-funded services specifically to elderly adults, according to NAPSA.
Adult Protective Services can help nursing home victims by taking reports of abuse and investigating them, evaluating risk factors, and designing strategies to prevent and stop abuse and neglect from occurring. Per NAPSA, “APS helps by assessing each individual’s unique needs, then developing a service plan to maintain his/her safety, health and independence.” Individuals or their families can request help from APS or law enforcement, or an attorney can request assistance. APS professionals frequently work with police, lawyers, mental health and medical providers, public health entities, social services, and financial services providers.
An Attorney Can Support You
Nursing home abuse is a grave injustice that can have tragic, even deadly consequences. If your loved one has suffered from abuse or neglect in a nursing home environment, contact your local APS immediately. Once you have done so, you may also consider getting in touch with a nursing home abuse lawyer.
Ben Crump Law, PLLC may be able to support you in seeking financial compensation for your family’s suffering, including medical and long-term care bills, emotional pain and anguish, and the cost of funeral or burial expenses if your loved one died as a result of their trauma. Call (800) 959-1444 to speak with a staff member to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to determine if you have a case.