Elder abuse and neglect can happen anytime at any place, and it will bring forth real and very serious repercussions including bedsores and other physical damages such as broken bones, hip problems, gangrene and hematoma. If caretakers are neglectful of their elderly patients and everything else is dismissed or overlooked, the end result is the untimely death of the elder.
The National Center on Elder Abuse recently published a paper that defines neglect as the following: “the refusal and/or the failure by those in charge to provide food, shelter, health care or protection of a susceptible elder.”
Of course, there are various definitions as to what is considered elder abuse in different states. Researchers, in the meantime, have utilized other definitions to explain and study the issue.
How To Handle Those Folks Responsible For Elder Abuse/Neglect
People have morals and they have the means to apply or disregard them. Of course, there’s no legal duty that says people have to help others in peril. However, there are instances in which there is a duty to helping the elderly.
1 – A Statute Compels A Duty Of Care
The NCEA says that 30 states have put in place filial responsibility acts that make it a legal duty for adult children to care for and look after their elderly parents.
2 – Contract That Creates Duty Of Care
Organizations and people can enter into contracts that make it a duty to take care of an elderly person. This includes:
– Home care agencies
– Long term care facilities
– Nursing homes
3 – Special Circumstances That Set A Duty Of Care
People who voluntarily take the caregiver role could be seen as the person to give the duty of care or look for help from other people to give that duty of care.
A Look At Duty Of Care
Now, caregiver duties rely on the method to impose the duty of care. Laws may spell out the civil liability or put forth criminal penalties for the acts of caregivers or their failure to act. There are some cases where the duty comes about because of a contract relationship… meaning a person or company consents to give care to an elderly person
A Look At Statutory Duties Of Care
The filial responsibly act places the duty on adult children to give their parents financial support, should their parents be unable to support themselves financially.
Each state varies in their terms for specific obligations. However, the NCEA says that most will impose the duty of care to give elderly folks the basic necessities such as food and shelter. Remember that 30 states have passed laws regarded filial law but 11 of them have never enforced it.
Other laws have been designed and set caregiver duties based on special circumstances. For instance, a caregiver may be a person that is related to the person either by blood or marriage… or:
– Lives with the elderly relative
– Resides in the same building and visits the elderly relative
– Lives with elderly relative and should understand that relative is not able to care for him/herself
A Look At Contractual Duties Of Care
Now, the NCEA says that people who commit institutional abuse are those who have a legal or contractual duty of care to give their elderly victims both care and protection. For instance, nursing home doctors and nurses, board and care facility staff members and paid caregivers have promised to give an elderly adult the level of care they need to stay alive. Once this contract has been entered into, they may not be allowed to intentionally and knowingly endanger or neglect the person.
A Look At Other Duties Of Care
Even when there has been no set definition of a caregiver and there is no contracts, courts have ruled that a caregiver relationship can be voluntarily created. The court will look at four things to see if a caregiver relationship has been created voluntarily:
– Do the parties live together?
– What tasks are being performed for the elderly person?
– Does the caregiver designate the title to him/herself? Do other people view those people as caregivers?
– Was help requested to provide care?
If the court finds there is a reasonable amount of the above criteria satisfied, the person could face both civil and criminal punishment for any neglect and/or intentional abuse.
Elderly abuse potentially has criminal civil and administrative consequences to it. Negligent caregivers could be subjected to civil liabilities that include monetary damages, criminal charges and a denial of the right to work for older persons again.
Anytime a person, be it family members or friends, are concerned about an elderly person, they need to speak with an elderly abuse attorney about their grievances and to find out what options they have to address the problem and caregiver/business.