Elder Abuse and Suicidal Behavior

More than two million elderly Americans are victims of nursing home abuse every year, according to the American Psychological Association. This abuse can take many forms, including medical negligence, emotional abuse, psychological abuse and more. In many cases, elder abuse frequently leads to suicidal behavior.

While a nursing home is supposed to be a place of comfort, not every nursing home provides proper care and support to its elderly residents. Many seniors will be improperly treated for mental illness at a nursing home, for example, or even attempt suicide if they feel desperate or sad. It’s important that care givers at a nursing home not only provide quality service, but are also trained to look out for behavior that can lead to a suicide attempt.

If you have a loved one in a nursing home, and you are concerned for his or her wellbeing, then please read on to learn more about suicides in nursing home and why they occur. Or, if you think you have a case, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced nursing home lawyer at Pope & Howard, P.C. in Atlanta.

How Common are Suicides in Nursing Homes?

The number of elderly individuals and seniors that attempt suicide, or succeed, is on the rise. Many suicides go unreported or are incorrectly classified as accidents, so it can be difficult to understand the reality of this problem. Seniors over the age of 65 have a suicide rate that is 20% higher than the national average. In many cases, the suicide could have been prevented – especially if they are supposed to be receiving constant care in a nursing home.

Why Do Seniors Attempt Suicide?

Seniors attempt suicide for many different reasons, but most of these reasons lead back to elder abuse. These factors can include:

  • Social isolation
  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse

Mental illness, often undiagnosed, can also be a factor.

Can a Nursing Home be Held Liable for a Suicide or Attempted Suicide?

Allowing a resident the opportunity to take his or her own life is an example of neglect. Nursing homes have the power to prevent many suicides by training staff to look for the signs of suicidal behavior, following the orders of a resident’s psychiatrist, offering group activities to prevent social isolation, and just treating residents with warmth and respect.

With proper training, the nursing home can actually decrease the change of suicide. Too often, nursing home facilities are overcrowded, with overworked or improperly trained staff members, which can result in nursing home abuse or neglect.

Contact Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

If you suspect a loved one may be a victim of nursing home or elderly abuse, you have legal options. The nursing home abuse lawyers at Pope & Howard, P.C. can help answer your questions and talk to you about possible next steps. Contact us at 866-910-0642 or fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation.

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