Nursing homes are charged with the care of elderly persons who are, at least in part, unable to care for themselves. Because the people in charge of these facilities are in a special relationship of trust with those under their care, many legal issues can arise if this duty is breached.
One of the most severe and disturbing ways (though certainly not the only, or even the most common) ways in which this duty can be breached is through elder abuse. This is seen as a particularly egregious breach of the special duty of care, because, rather than simply not doing what one is supposed to do in the course of caring for an elderly person, it involves affirmative acts directed at an elderly person specifically designed to harm them.
The reasons for this abuse can vary – disgruntled nursing home employees may engage in elder abuse out of resentment, it may be a form of intimidation (perhaps for financial gain), or, maybe, some people simply need the sense of power that it gives them. In addition, elder abuse can take many forms – from physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, to severe neglect. It can also take the form of financial fraud and/or extortion.
According to LegalMatch case statistics from the last 12 months, a wide variety of legal issues arise in nursing homes. While elder abuse is one of them that came up with some frequency, there are others, such as family members fighting to secure visitation rights, protecting elders’ privacy rights, and setting up personal bank accounts for seniors under the care of nursing homes.
Based on this information, it is clear that nursing homes and their residents can become involved in legal issues that other industries don’t face. Accordingly, if you are in charge of a nursing home, or are a relative of a family member who needs to go into a nursing home or other care facility, it is probably a good idea to contact an experienced lawyer who specializes in elder law.