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Nursing home neglect or abuse may lead to suicide in Virginia


The elderly make up the largest segment of nursing home population and, as a general rule, need a lot more medical care on an average basis compared to their younger counterparts. Sometimes spending time in a nursing home may aggravate a patient's condition instead of curing it. In extreme cases, nursing home residents who have suffered years of abuse while living in a nursing home might feel compelled to take their own lives due to the psychological stress, abuse and neglect meted out by nursing home staff.

Psychological abuse and physical neglect are often the most serious complaints levied against nursing homes in Virginia. Elderly residents with no family, close friends or loved ones who visit regularly are sitting ducks for abusive nursing home staff. Some investigations of nursing home abuse have even uncovered sexual abuse. Being unable to verbalize their complaints for fear of being displaced often leaves nursing home residents in enough despair to take their own lives. The increase in nursing home suicides has not escaped those who regulate nursing home administration.

Many nursing home residents are often admitted to treat some form of mental illness, such as depression or anxiety. In such cases, nursing home abuse or neglect of someone with a delicate state of mind can become a ticking time bomb. Research has found that most cases of nursing home deaths attributed to suicides are by residents with a history of mental instability.

Families place their loved ones in nursing homes to provide regular and vigilant monitoring of that loved one whose mental state is delicate. When cared for by apathetic abusers, illnesses often get worse. In some cases, family members or loved ones initiate a legal case against a nursing home when gross negligence has been detected. A professional attorney can help set things right.

Source: VDH.Virginia.gov, "Suicide and placement for nursing home or hospice care in Virginia," Feb. 2014

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