Are Our Veterans at Increased Risk of Nursing Home Abuse?
In the United States, our veterans are to thank for the rights and privileges the rest of us Americans enjoy on a daily basis. Sadly, rather than receiving healthcare of the highest quality, these individuals often receive subpar treatment at overcrowded veterans administration hospitals and other facilities. Many veterans are forced to wait months for an appointment—and many die waiting for proper healthcare.
In the United States, there are roughly 21 million veterans,, nearly 10 million of which are aged 65 or older. These older veterans have served in World War II, the Korean Conflict, and the Vietnam War. Throughout the country, it appears that our veterans are even more susceptible to nursing home abuse than are other elderly individuals.
Why are veterans at an increased risk of suffering abuse in nursing homes?
As they approach the end of their lives, veterans should be comfortable and content. Sadly, this is not always the case. It appears that veterans are especially vulnerable to nursing home abuse because of the nature of their previous injuries—during their military service, these individuals may have endured debilitating injuries. They may suffer from traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder. They may be paralyzed in some manner. They may be confused or have memory problems. These conditions make veterans susceptible to nursing home abuse. Abusers in nursing homes often select victims who cannot speak up about the abuse that is occurring.
Further, veterans are often entitled to government benefits. Therefore, these veterans may be at an increased risk of financial abuse. Nursing home staff and other employees may steal from the veteran, or they may try to trick the veteran into giving them money and property.
Nursing home abuse and neglect is much more likely in crowded environments. Many nursing homes are understaffed, with large staff-to-resident ratios. When nursing homes are understaffed this way, it is more likely that unsanitary conditions develop. Additionally, residents may not receive their meals in a timely manner.
Veterans in federally funded nursing homes are generally those in poor physical and/or mental health. Additionally, these facilities may be crowded, similar to the condition of veteran hospitals, and the veterans may not have a lot of money—therefore, they may be unable to afford a move to another facility.
How can nursing home abuse be prevented?
It is important for family members to be proactive in preventing nursing home abuse, especially for veterans. Family members should visit the nursing home facility as frequently as possible to check on the resident’s condition. Is the room clean? Does the resident appear well fed and content? Family members should know staff members on a first-name basis, and they should build relationships with those staff members. The resident should also be examined for any unusual bruising, cuts, or sores. Any time a care plan is developed or altered for the resident, family members should be present to discuss the resident’s care with the facility. In addition, family members have a right to know about the facility’s hiring practices and how they decide which staffers to hire and fire.
It is disturbing to think that so many of our veterans may suffer abuse at the end of their lives. However, by staying involved in our loved ones’ lives, we reduce the odds that they will be harmed.
If you suspect nursing home abuse, call Leonard Legal Group today
At Leonard Legal Group, our attorneys are experienced in nursing home abuse claims. We have successfully represented many veterans and their family members in these troubling cases. To schedule your free consultation with our legal team, call our 24-hour call center at 973-984-1414 or contact us online.