An aide beat and bloodied an elderly woman residing in a Bronx nursing home a few months ago. She experienced injuries from this case of elder abuse so severe they required staples to close. A surveillance video caught the altercation, showing the 47 year old aide pushing the 73 year old woman who was a resident at the Bronx Park Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.
Police arrested the nurse and medics took the victim to an area hospital. There, she received an examination and staples for her head injury and laceration. The defendant claims that the elderly woman tried to attack her and that she acted in self defense. The court found Rosemarie Brooks guilty for causing bodily harm to her patient and for falsifying an accident report at the facility.
Cases involving nursing home abuse and neglect are all too common. Unfortunately, until stricter protocols for monitoring employees are deployed, abusers will continue to slip through the cracks and oversee the nation’s elderly population. Some victims never report their abuse, due to their fear of speaking out to the authorities.
What is Elder Abuse?
The Administration on Aging’s National Center on Elder Abuse defines elder mistreatment as “Intentional actions that cause harm or create a serious risk of harm (whether or not harm is intended) to a vulnerable elder by a caregiver or other person who stands in a trust relationship to the elder. This includes failure by a caregiver to satisfy the elder’s basic needs or to protect the elder from harm.”
There are a number of different things that contribute to elder abuse. One is lack of training. The other is the elderly man or woman’s inability or willingness to report abuse or neglect. They fear retribution if outing the abuser. According to the NCEA, 90% of abusers of the elderly are family members of the victim.
The American Psychological Association (APA) points out some rather shocking facts including that many of the incidents involving the abuse of an elderly person do not occur in nursing homes and other residential settings. Administration regulates and monitors most care facilities. So, elder abuse and neglect happens more often at home and there isn’t a single pattern of elder abuse. A number of different things can cause a caregiver to lash out and victimize a senior.
The APA states that “Every year, an estimated 4 million older Americans experience physical, psychological or other forms of abuse and neglect”. This number does not even reflect those cases that go unreported. Experts state that for every case of elder abuse reported, 23 cases go undetected.
Effects of Elder Abuse:
Abuse can be physical, emotional, financial, and sexual. It can cause health to decline and helplessness and depression to set in. Hence, abuse is very detrimental to the health and well-being of the victim. The APA notes that, “Research also suggests that older people who have been abused tend to die earlier than those who have not been abused, even in the absence of chronic conditions or life-threatening disease.”
There is no excuse for elder abuse. If you suspect that a caregiver to your senior family member is mistreating or abusing them, by all means, take immediate action. At once alert the proper authorities and call an attorney right away. Consequently, a legal professional well-versed in this area of the law on your side greatly increases your chance of receiving compensation. You may not be able to prevent abuse but you can certainly stop it from happening again.
About the Author:
Joe Macaluso is a personal injury lawyer practicing at the Bronx law firm of Macaluso & Fafinski, P.C. A graduate of Brooklyn Law School, Mr. Macaluso has been in private practice since 1990 with an exclusive focus on personal injury and medical malpractice. A member of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, he has served on the Legislative Committee of this organization. He is also a member of the Bronx County Bar Association, and served on the Board of Directors of Bronx Legal Services.