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October Is Nursing Home Residents' Rights Month

October has been designated Residents’ Rights Month by the Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, an advocacy group focused on improving the quality of care and life for all persons receiving long-term care. The theme of this year’s campaign is “Speak Out Against Elder Abuse.”

“We want to help create a safe and secure environment for older adults and individuals with disabilities, no matter where they may happen to live. Whether it’s the residents themselves or witnesses of elder abuse, there is no reason someone should keep quiet and avoid taking action. We hope to facilitate and encourage ways for residents, their loved ones, or witnesses of elder abuse to use their voice and speak out against this serious issue,” said Sarah F. Wells, Consumer Voice Executive Director.

As San Diego elder abuse attorneys, we have seen the tragic consequences of this growing problem firsthand. Although hard figures regarding the prevalence of elder abuse are not available, one survey of 2,000 nursing home residents found that 44 percent of respondents had been abused, while 95 percent reported being neglected or seeing another resident neglected.

Many cases of nursing home abuse go unreported as seniors are either too afraid to report the abuse for fear of retaliation or embarrassment or simply do not know that they are being abused. If your loved one has unexplained injuries, bed sores, or other warning signs, and you are suspicious of elder abuse or nursing home negligence, it is important to report it immediately. In addition, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit, including a wrongful death action if the elder abuse has led to death.

If you suspect someone is a victim of elder abuse , please try to intervene. First‚ take steps to get more involved in his or her care. Talk to the caregiver or advisor, assess the situation, and do your best to determine the nature and extent of the problem.