Nursing home negligence and abuse occurs every day in the State of Indiana. In many cases, nursing home abuse victims and their families have no idea where to turn after the abuse occurs. If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse in the State of Indiana, Indiana’s Adult Protective Services Program may be able to help.
If you sustained injuries as a result of nursing home abuse or negligence, you should also consider retaining legal counsel for representation. An experienced Indiana nursing home abuse lawyer will be able to safeguard all of your legal rights and provide you with the legal representation that you need and deserve.
Below, we’ll go over the following topics:
- Who is typically responsible for abuse against nursing home patients
- What qualifies as an “endangered adult”
- What qualifies as abuse
- How the Indiana Adult Protective Services (APS) Program helps
Who is Responsible for Nursing Home Abuse?
Any nursing home or assisted care facility employee can commit acts of abuse or negligence against a resident or patient. The employees who are most typically responsible for nursing home abuse include the following:
- Nursing assistants
- Physical therapists
- Nurse practitioners
- Nursing home administrators
As we’ve previously learned from our last post about Indiana’s nursing home abuse statistics, Indiana ranks poorly on a national scale in terms of the quality of care provided to nursing home residents.
Some fast facts:
- Of 542 certified nursing facilities in the state, 28% contain some sort of “serious” deficiency putting residents at great harm or risk. Meanwhile, about 10 deficiencies exist in each of Indiana’s nursing facilities.
- Just 1.8 licensed nurse hours are spent on each nursing home resident per day in Indiana. Although that figure does make Indiana one of the best states in the U.S. for licensed nurse hours, it’s one of the worst for total nursing staff hours — it ranks below the U.S. average of 4.1 hours.
- The majority of Indiana nursing homes — two-thirds — rank below average in health inspections.
Additionally, the elder population is only expected to grow over the next 15 years — by about 50 percent, to be exact. The problem of nursing home abuse and negligence also may continue to expand.
‘Endangered Adults’ and Types of Indiana Nursing Home Abuse
Pursuant to Indiana law, an “endangered adult” refers to an individual who meets all of the following:
- The individual is at least eighteen (18) years of age.
- The individual is incapable, by reason of mental illness, mental retardation, dementia, or other physical or mental incapacity, of managing or directing the management of property or providing or directing the provision of self-care.
- The individual has been harmed or threatened with harm as a result of neglect, battery, and/or exploitation of the individual’s personal services or property.
In order to report abuse in a timely manner, it’s important to know the signs. Indiana nursing home abuse may involve neglect, exploitation, physical abuse, or emotional abuse.
Neglect occurs when an adult caretaker (such as a nurse, nursing assistant, or other nursing home employee) fails to provide a necessary good or service to the patient and/or fails to safeguard the patient’s well-being, taking into account that patient’s individual circumstances and health conditions.
Exploitation takes place when a nursing home caretaker uses a patient’s resources for monetary or personal gain. This may even include stealing money or belongings from a resident, such as a resident with Alzheimer’s, who would not be in a position to know about the theft or to understand what took place.
Physical abuse typically involves the intentional use of physical force by a caregiver against a patient, resulting in serious physical injury or pain. While physical abuse sometimes includes instances of pushing, hitting, or slapping, in the nursing home or assisted living context it could also include force-feeding a patient, improperly withholding medication from a patient, or providing medication to a patient without the patient’s consent.
Emotional abuse typically involves instances of verbal abuse towards a patient, as well as improper threats or intimidation. The extent of the emotional abuse rendered must be considered in the context of the patient’s physical and mental state at the time the abuse occurred.
Services Provided by the Indiana Adult Protective Services Program
The Adult Protective Services Program in the State of Indiana was established in 1985 to investigate reports of abuse and to protect adults who are the victims of abuse, neglect, or exploitation in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other settings. Indiana is the only state in the country where the APS Program operates within the criminal justice system. Each Indiana county has an elected prosecutor, as well as a court system — both of which prescribe the procedures and protocols for that county’s APS Program.
According to APS Program statistics, 90% of abuse to adults is done by family members, including 40% by adult children. Twenty-seven percent experience abuse from their own spouse, while another 9% of cases involve grandchildren abusing their grandparents.
At any given time, APS keeps a number of full and part-time investigators on hand, and several of the directors also take part in investigations — including nursing home abuse investigations. These investigations can be challenging, however, because of the lack of physical evidence, lack of eyewitnesses, and conflicting statements. Both elder abuse and domestic abuse are underreported, as well.
The sole purpose of the Indiana APS Program is to investigate allegations of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of endangered adults. It’s important to know that it’s not a service organization and does not provide services other than referrals, but APS does determine if an individual is an endangered adult; can conduct unannounced home visits; interviews victims, witnesses, and perpetrators; and refers the case to law enforcement if the allegation arises to a criminal level.
Contact an Indiana Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today
Nursing home abuse can take many forms, including nursing home neglect, patient exploitation, physical abuse, or emotional abuse. In cases of Indiana nursing home abuse, the Indiana Adult Protective Services Program may be able to assist you.
If you or someone you love has sustained injuries as a result of nursing home abuse or negligence in the State of Indiana, you can contact our experienced Indiana nursing home abuse attorneys at any time, via telephone or online, to get the compensation you deserve.