How Common is Nursing Home Abuse in Ohio?
Posted in: Legal Blog
KNR Legal Blog
June 15th is Elder Abuse Awareness Day and there are an estimated 214,000 cases of elder abuse in Ohio each year. But the majority of cases do not get reported.
Unfortunately, abused seniors are often fearful of what may happen if they tell someone and rarely discuss abuse. Instead, they may attempt to hide or downplay injuries. At KNR, we want to bring these issues to light and provide some helpful information.
First and foremost, if you believe an older loved one is a victim of elder abuse, reach out to our highly skilled Ohio nursing home lawyers.
Elder abuse comes in many forms and can be at the hands of spouses, children, or other family members as well as by the staff at nursing homes, assisted living centers, hospitals, and other facilities.
Here are some of the various types of elder abuse:
Elder abuse is usually associated with the stress of a caregiver. Ohio estimated that about 115,000 seniors experience abuse, neglect or financial exploitation at the hands of a caregiver
While being a caregiver is stressful, caregivers do not have the right to take their stress out on seniors and engage in abuse. Rather than being an isolated event, elder abuse is often a pattern of behavior that happens over time and targets a specific senior.
There are some older adults that are more susceptible to elder abuse than others. For instance, elder abuse is more common in females than in males.
Common risk factors of elder abuse include low social support, low income or poverty, living with several family members, poor physical health, disability, mental illness, and dependency on others for care.
Previous trauma, dementia, or another cognitive impairment, fear, inability to communicate, substance abuse, and frailty may also increase the chances of elder abuse.
Under Ohio’s elder abuse law, professionals must report elder abuse.
This includes pharmacists, outpatient health facilities employees, firefighters, ambulance drivers, first responders, building inspectors, certified public accountants, bank and credit union employees, and real estate agents are also required to report cases of elder abuse in the state.
Financial planners, notary publics, and investment advisors fall under this expanded list of professionals as well.
If you suspect an adult age 60 or older is a victim of abuse, neglect, or exploitation in Ohio, it is important to file a report with the Department of Job and Family Services in your county.
You can do this by phone, mail, fax, or in-person during the agency’s business hours. If you prefer, you can call 1-855-OHIO-APS toll-free at any time.
To file a report, you’ll need to provide the following:
Keep in mind that you do not need evidence to report suspected elder abuse in Ohio. You can file a report as long as you have a reasonable cause to believe that an older adult is being abused, neglected, or exploited.
Additionally, it is not your responsibility to determine whether the abuse is actually occurring so you don’t have to worry about collecting and providing evidence. The Department of Job and Family Services and/or an elder abuse attorney will take care of this.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services supervises the Adult Protective Services (APS) in the state.
APS is designed to assist vulnerable older adults who are 60 or older and in danger of harm, unable to protect themselves, and may not have anyone to help them. They respond to reports of elder abuse, investigate allegations, work with seniors to address their needs, and help prevent future abuse.
APS workers are required to consider their right to self-determination. Often, it can be a real challenge to find a balance between a senior’s safety and right to self-determination. Contrary to popular belief, the role of the APS is not to take seniors out of their homes and place them in nursing home facilities to protect them.
If you suspect your senior loved one has been abused, it is in your best interest to consult our experienced Ohio nursing home abuse attorneys. We know how difficult it can be to watch someone you love get mistreated and are here to fight for their rights.