Elder abuse can happen anywhere, but it is especially prevalent in institutional settings like nursing homes and hospitals. Read on and reach out to a competent California hospital elder abuse lawyer from Cowdrey Jenkins, LLP to learn more about elder abuse in hospitals, how it compares with elder abuse in nursing homes, and how our legal team can help if your loved one is a victim.
How frequently does elder abuse occur in hospitals?
According to the World Health Organization, around 1 in 6 older adults experienced some form of abuse in community settings, such as nursing homes, in 2021. However, data on the extent of elder abuse in hospitals is scarce and difficult to obtain, in large part because many cases of elder abuse are not reported or recognized by healthcare providers, family members, or the victims themselves.
That said, some studies conducted abroad have attempted to estimate the prevalence and characteristics of elder abuse in hospitals. For example, a study conducted in China found that 36.2% of hospitalized older adults reported experiencing at least one type of abuse during their hospital stay. Another study conducted in Brazil found that 32% of hospitalized older adults reported experiencing at least one type of abuse during their hospital stay. Still, one can expect that in reality, these numbers are, unfortunately, much higher.
Hospital Elder Abuse Vs. Nursing Home Abuse
While both hospitals and nursing homes pose a high risk of elder abuse, there are some key distinctions between the two. For example, elder abuse in hospitals tends to be more acute and episodic, while elder abuse in nursing homes is typically continuous. Elder abuse in hospitals may also involve various types of perpetrators, such as other patients or visitors, while elder abuse in nursing homes is typically perpetrated by staff members or caregivers.
Still, nursing homes and hospitals do share some common risk factors for elder abuse, such as understaffing, inadequate training, and high workload. Both settings may also share some common signs of elder abuse, such as bruises, bedsores, malnutrition/dehydration, sudden personality changes, and more.
If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of elder abuse in a hospital or a nursing home, you should take immediate action to protect them and seek legal help. This includes notifying nursing home management/staff, taking pictures/recording videos of the abuse or its aftermath, ensuring your loved one receives immediate medical treatment, and reporting the incident to law enforcement (especially in cases when you believe your loved one is in immediate danger). Finally, if you suspect your loved one has been abused or neglected in a hospital or nursing home, you should hire a knowledgeable elder abuse lawyer from Cowdrey Jenkins, LLP who can fight for the justice you deserve.