Elder Abuse on the Rise in Nevada

June 14, 2013

last-station-nursing-home-5_l.jpgNursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at Pintas & Mullins report that Nevada's Department of Health and Human Services recently affirmed that, within the past several years, the state has seen a troubling increase in the abuse of older adults.

Compounding this problem, the Social Services Manager at the state's Aging and Disability Services Division said that, for every case of abuse that is reported, another five cases go unreported. Abuse can take the form of neglect and exploitation as well, whether that be physical, emotional, sexual or financial. She went on to say that the most common form of reported abuse in Nevada is self-neglect, followed by abuse by an immediate family member, and third most common is abuse from a service provider.

Sometimes, the abuse is intentional, such as taking money from a vulnerable adult's bank account, taking their social security checks, or convincing them to invest in something they would ordinarily give money to.

In 2011, Nevada closed a Las Vegas assisted living center after its employees were charged with physically and financially abusing its residents. Residents of the Las Vegas Home Sweet Home were removed from the home and placed into other facilities after the Bureau of Health Care and Compliance suspended the nursing home's license.

The abuse was discovered after an investigation into the facility, which uncovered that social security checks and other funds were being deposited into various caregivers' personal bank accounts. Investigators found that employees also took more money than necessary from residents for grocery store purchases, which they never returned to residents.

Other reports confirmed that one elderly woman who was abused had a recent shouting match with a manager, ending with the woman being dragged down the hallway by her ankles while kicking and screaming. The woman was later removed from the home.

Las Vegas Home Sweet Home was investigated and fined repeatedly before its 2011 closure. The final license suspension was issued because the state felt the residents were not safe as a result of repeated and consistent non-compliance with regulations.

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services estimates that more than 2 million older American are victimized by abuse, exploitation and neglect every year. The Department enforces how important it is to recognize the signs of abuse, such as lack of basic hygiene, verbal aggression, and sudden weight loss or recluse. One of the greatest ways to prevent elder abuse is by calling and making the first report.

In fact, in several states, most recently in Colorado, the reporting of elder abuse is now required by law. The bill requires those in certain professions, such as law enforcement, chiropractors, dentists, nursing home staff, social workers, clergy members, and financial professionals, among others, to report any known or suspected cases of abuse. Furthermore, anyone required by law to report abuse who fails to do so could face a class three misdemeanor charge for knowing disregard.

After abuse is reported and there is reasonable cause to believe its merit, law enforcement officials conduct a criminal investigation into the case. This year law enforcement agencies throughout the state will be engaging in new training programs to help officers handle such cases.

Nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers
at Pintas & Mullins will continue to report on new legislation, statistics, and important reports on elder abuse in the United States. If you or a loved one was seriously injured by a nursing home employee or caregiver, you have important legal rights. We can help you obtain maximum compensation for your medical bills and pain and suffering.