Abuse in Residential Care Facilities

Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE) serve persons 60 and older.  They provide room, board, housekeeping, supervision, and personal care assistance with basic activities like personal hygiene, dressing, eating, and walking.  Facilities usually centrally store and distribute medications for residents to self-administer.

Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly are sometimes called “Assisted Living” or “Board and Care” facilities.  They provide a level of care that includes assistance with some activities of daily living, while allowing residents to be more independent than in most nursing homes.

Unfortunately elder abuse in residential care facilities has been rising.  The forms of elder abuse found in nursing homes or residential care facilities mirror those found in domestic settings; they include homicide, physical and sexual assault, neglect, inappropriate restraint, financial abuse, isolation, verbal threats and intimidation.  In addition, nursing home abuse includes institutionalized practices that result in chronic neglect, sub-standard care, overcrowding, authoritarian practices, and failure to protect residents against untrained, troubled or predatory workers, or against abusive residents or visitors.  Subtle forms of abuse include denying residents the right to exercise personal choice in such matters as when they want to eat, get up or go to bed; pressuring residents to participate in activities; and “labeling” troublesome individuals, resulting in depersonalized treatment and exclusion.  Also, facilities engage in discriminatory practices, such as emphasizing activities that favor more capable residents.

If you suspect criminal abuse or neglect to a loved one in a residential care facility immediatley report the incident, verbally or by letter, to the administrator, social worker, director of nursing, or the change nurse of the health care facility.  You should also immediately report the incident to the local police or sheriff’s department.  Contact The Law Offices of Eugene K. Hollander to confidentially discuss your claim.  Our attorneys can provide counsel to the family of a victim of residential care facility abuse, and can represent the patient if there is a claim.

Individuals commit crimes when they physically abuse residents of the residential care facility by kicking, punching or molesting them; neglect residents by willfully failing to provide timely, consistent, adequate and safe services involving nutrition, therapies or sanitary clothing; and mistreat them through the knowing misuse of medications, isolation or physical restraints.  Some of the crimes abusive providers can be charged with include:

  • Assault
  • Endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person
  • Willful violation of health laws endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person

Financial Fraud and Theft in Residential Care Facilities

Fraud in nursing homes and assisted living facilities is rampant.  Such acts include the improper use of funds or the theft or misappropriation of monies entrusted to the caretaker, spouse or child for the benefit of the elderly party.  In such instances the financial assets of the victim including money received from government agencies, retirement accounts and other funds in their possession.

Protect Your Loved One

  • Visit frequently, at different times. Don’t be predictable.
  • Ask questions about care.
  • Check for bed sores, unexplained bruises, and pain.
  • Note the cleanliness of the residents and facility.
  • Check for weight loss or dehydration.
  • Keep a small journal for notes after visits.
  • Take your camera. Each visit, have your photo taken with your loved one and date it.
  • Report any suspected abuse.

If you suspect your loved one is a victim of residential care facility abuse or neglect, or if you are a victim, the first step is to ensure the victim is no longer in a dangerous situation.  You want to ensure that your loved one continues to be safe, that he or she receive treatment for any short or long-term effects of the abuse, and that neither you nor your loved one have to suffer financially as a result of the abuse and its aftermath.  Due to statute of limitations it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible.  Contact the experienced nursing home abuse attorneys at The Law Offices of Eugene K. Hollander today at 312-425-9100 for a free legal consulation.