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Elder Abuse Attorneys in Cincinnati
Cincinnati has dozens of nursing homes and assisted living facilities that provide care to aging residents. While many of these facilities have sufficient, caring, and competent staff, we still hear stories of callous disregard for residents' needs and the inhumane treatment of our most vulnerable citizens. Claims of nursing home neglect have even prompted a new law intended to provide comfort to concerned family members. Esther's Law took effect in March of 2022, which allows loved ones to install cameras in nursing home rooms to monitor the quality of care their family member receives.
Esther's Law was enacted in response to the treatment of an elderly Ohio nursing home resident, Esther Piskor. According to her son, she was the victim of abuse and neglect in an Ohio nursing home for the last three years of her life. Like many victims of elder abuse, Esther was living with dementia. Her son installed a camera in her room where he witnessed his mother being subjected to physical and emotional abuse. Furthermore, she was left alone and neglected in her room for long periods of time. Steve Piskor, her son, worked with lawmakers to enable a law that allows the legal electronic monitoring of their loved ones and prohibits retaliation for such measures.
If you're looking for elder abuse attorneys in Cincinnati, you're probably already all too aware of the painful reality of nursing home abuse and neglect. At Morgan and Morgan, we work with family members who are seeking justice and compensation for their aged loved ones who have been subjected to this shocking behavior. No one deserves to be mistreated in their golden years, and we understand the torment family members must feel when they discover their loved one has been the victim of gross misconduct. We're here to help you make the wrongdoers pay.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation to get started.
Morgan & Morgan
What Is Elder Abuse?
Intentionally causing or creating risks that result in harm to an older adult is considered elder abuse. A failure to act also qualifies as elder abuse, for example, neglect. Older adults can experience physical, emotional, and sexual abuse at the hands of their caregivers or other facility residents. Older adults are also vulnerable to financial exploitation, which is another form of abuse.
When we give our loved ones over to someone else's care, we expect them to be treated with kindness, dignity, and medical competency. In many cases, it's impossible for family members to care for elderly family members due to obligations or the inability to provide adequate medical care. It can be overwhelming for family members to properly care for a family member living with a debilitating condition. That's why we make the responsible choice to get them into a facility that can provide professional care.
Unfortunately, long-term care facilities are where older adults can be exposed to elder abuse, and the family members may not realize what is happening until grave harm has already been done. Elder abuse is often underreported because many victims cannot or will not talk about it. Whenever signs are present, it's essential to speak up, contact authorities, and call Morgan and Morgan. We might be able to recover compensation for your loved one, and the wrongdoers will be subject to a reckoning for their abuse and neglect.
What Are the Types of Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse can take on many forms. Some involve emotional cruelty, and others include physical harm or financial swindling. Here are the most common:
Causing emotional pain or distress is the most common form of elder abuse and can include the following:
- Yelling or threatening
- Ridicule, scolding, and humiliation
- Blaming, scapegoating, and gaslighting
- Ignoring the elderly person
- Isolating an older person from friends and activities
- Exhibiting frightening or hostile behavior toward an older person
The consequences of emotional abuse are serious because they can end up causing health problems and are detrimental to the victim's overall well-being. Emotional well-being is critically linked to the overall wellness of individuals of all ages. Emotional abuse can result in a loss of appetite and sleep, which has negative ramifications for a resident who may already be dealing with health problems. Emotional abuse has also been associated with premature mortality.
What Are the Signs of Emotional Abuse in Older Adults?
Emotional or psychological abuse is hard to detect, especially if the victim is already living with a cognitive health problem like dementia or Alzheimer's disease. However, the signs may include the following:
- Lowered physical activity or responsiveness
- Weight loss or evidence of dehydration
- Avoiding eye contact
- Rejecting food, drink, and medication
Whenever a caregiver uses their body to inflict intentional harm or injury on an older person, this is physical abuse and can include:
- Using physical or chemical restraints
Physical abuse of the elderly can have long-lasting health and emotional consequences that can diminish the remaining quality of life and, in tragic cases, cause premature death. Victims may lose significant weight, be more susceptible to illness and infection and experience an overall decline in health.
What Are the Signs of Physical Abuse in Older Adults?
Physical abuse may be easier to spot than other forms of abuse and can include:
- Bruises and welts
- Chronic pain
- Broken bones and dislocations
- Cuts and other unexplained wounds
- Signs of restraints being used, especially around the wrists or ankles
It's appalling to think that older, vulnerable people may be the victims of sexual abuse from their caregivers or other residents in a long-term care facility. However, this form of abuse is more common than you might think. When elder sexual abuse has been reported, 70% of the time, it takes place in nursing homes. It's the ultimate violation of trust, and these sorts of degenerate abusers target the sick and vulnerable because they think they're easy targets. Especially those that are experiencing cognitive decline.
Sexual abuse is any form of unwanted or non-consensual sexual contact or action. Non-consensual acts don't have to involve touch. A caregiver could force a resident to witness sexual acts such as masturbation or subject them to viewing pornography.
What Are the Signs of Elder Sexual Abuse?
Here are signs of sexual abuse to be watching out for in older loved ones:
- Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases and infections
- Exhibiting fear or anger around certain caregivers
- Bruising around genital areas, thighs, buttocks, and breasts
- Unexplained genital or anal bleeding
- Depression and anxiety
- Blood-covered, stained, or torn undergarments
Sexual abuse can have the same serious consequences as other types of abuse that can substantially impact the victim's health and wellness.
Failing to provide residents with standard care is a form of elder abuse. It is often rooted in a lack of staff, poor training, and cost-cutting measures. In long-term care facilities, adequate care is essential, and failure to provide it can endanger the well-being and lives of older adults. Overworked caregivers may neglect the needs of their patients. While there is no excuse, this lack of oversight is frequently linked to poor management.
Neglect can take on a wide variety of forms, such as:
- Improperly administering medication (missed or incorrect dosages)
- Ignoring the needs of immobile residents
- Isolating patients with mobility issues
- Missing mealtimes and not providing hydration
- Not helping residents with hygiene and bathroom visits
What Are the Warning Signs of Neglect of Older Adults?
Here are some red flags to look out for that may signal your loved one is being neglected in an elder care facility:
- Significant weight loss
- Papery skin (an indicator of dehydration)
- Unclean environment, clothing, and bed linen
- Unattended wounds or other physical conditions
- Poor hygiene
Nursing home neglect is, unfortunately, far too common. Operators of long-term care facilities are responsible for keeping residents safe and properly attended to with adequate and competent staff. When they fail to provide this, they may be liable for negligence. While finding, training, and retaining staff may be challenging, cutting corners instead of addressing recruiting problems is no excuse for allowing neglect to occur.
The financial exploitation of older adults can rob them of their resources and, ultimately, a way to finance care in their golden years. This is a serious problem for the victim and their families. Our elder abuse attorneys in Cincinnati might be able to help recover funds stolen by fraudsters or hold those in charge responsible for the loss. Financial exploitation can include:
- Theft of money, valuables, and assets
- Misuse of credit and assets
- Manipulating an older adult into giving a fraudster access to financials
What Are the Red Flags to Watch for That May Indicate Financial Exploitation of an Older Person?
The advances in technology and the possible mental decline of older adults leave them vulnerable to financial abuse. Family members should regularly review financial records, accounts, and possessions of value that may tempt con artists. Here are the signs that might indicate financial abuse:
- Credit reports with unexplained credit accounts
- Unexplained bank account withdrawals
- Missing jewelry or other valuables
- Unfamiliar names linked to financial accounts
- Sudden changes in spending habits
- Fear of spending money
- Unexplained changes to a will or trust funds
The financial exploitation of older adults can cause substantial issues. Perhaps the direst is the ability to pay for care. If you believe your loved one has been the victim of financial fraud linked to an elder care facility, contact Morgan and Morgan and Ohio's Adult Protective Services.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Ohio Elder Abuse and Neglect Cases?
All personal injury actions are subject to Ohio's statute of limitations which is the legal deadline to file a civil case for elder abuse. The deadline to file an action is two years from the date the victim suffered their injuries. From a legal perspective, "injuries" do not have to be physical. In fact, many instances of nursing home neglect are emotional in nature. Still, the ramifications of such mistreatment can be just as serious as physical wounds.
Should the injury be the result of medical malpractice, the deadline is much shorter. If your loved one was harmed through a mishandled medical procedure or treatment, you have just one year from the date of the incident to file a civil action. The starting point for a medical malpractice claim can vary based on the following:
- The date when the malpractice occurred
- The date when the malpractice was discovered
- The date the relationship between the doctor and patient was terminated
Although the timeline may vary depending on your specific circumstances, no medical malpractice claim can be filed if four or more years have passed. When in doubt, contact our elder abuse attorneys in Cincinnati at Morgan and Morgan to discuss the statute of limitations.
How Can Elder Abuse Attorneys in Cincinnati Help?
Elder abuse and fraud are growing problems in Ohio. We can offer victims and their families experienced and dependable legal representation at Morgan and Morgan. We will pursue the wrongdoers, hold them accountable for their misdeeds, and recover compensation so that you can provide your loved one with the best care and comfort moving forward. Ohio law permits victims of elder abuse to recover damages for medical care, pain and suffering, and more, plus attorney fees and court costs in successful cases. Ohio state and federal laws will also ensure the abusers are subject to criminal prosecution if warranted.
Contact us today for a free and confidential case evaluation. Your loved one deserves justice, and we will work tirelessly to make sure they get it.