Nursing home abuse is a growing concern, as well as elder abuse in general. Data reveals that reported cases have nearly doubled over the past 10 years. The health and safety of Canadian senior citizens is of particular concern because almost 25 per cent of the population will be 65 or older by the year 2031, according to Statistics Canada. A year-long CBC Marketplace investigation called “Crying Out for Care” found that violence is a growing concern in Ontario’s nursing homes. Between 2011 and 2016, reported abuse between residents or by caregivers has more than doubled in long-term care facilities. The number of nursing homes in Ontario that have been reported for negligence or abuse is extremely eye-opening. The victims tell their stories of negligence, malnutrition, medication errors, physical and sexual assault, and countless other horrors. Individuals in assisted living facilities are vulnerable, and often physically unable to defend themselves.
Defining nursing home abuse
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines elder abuse as “any single or repeated occurrence, or lack of appropriate response, happening where there is an expectation of trust, causing harm or distress to an older person.” WHO estimates that 15.7 per cent of people 60 years and older are subjected to abuse at some point. It’s also likely that this statistic is even higher, due to the number of individuals who choose not to report their abuse.
Why does it occur?
There are several reasons why people commit crimes involving abuse of power. One of the reasons is an inadequate screening process for hiring new staff. Because these care facilities need to fill empty positions, they sometimes rush through the hiring process. Criminal background checks are critical but at times skipped. Someone with a history of physical violence could get the job, which would put the defenseless patients at risk. Another reason is the care facility’s lack of time and resources. Nursing homes are often understaffed, which can result in high levels of stress, and the limited ability to provide individualized care. Lack of proper training is another mistake that can lead to unintentional patient harm. If a caregiver does not understand the symptoms of a worsening health condition and chooses to ignore it, they are ultimately liable for any distress or pain that the patient experiences.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer can help
If you wish to resolve the case without going to court, you can agree to a settlement. This means that both the plaintiff and the defendant sides (the abuse victim and the nursing home facility) can negotiate, and then agree on a sum of money that will be given to the victim, or to the victim’s family. In exchange, the case will be closed and no further legal action can be taken. A Personal Injury Lawyer can help you understand your rights, and what compensation you are entitled to. If you wish to take your case to court, we can help you with that as well.
If a caregiver has breached their duty to you, or someone you know, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. Nursing home abuse is an issue that we take seriously, and we will personally visit you to discuss your claim and to ensure you are properly compensated for your injuries.