In recent years nursing home abuse and other forms of elder abuse have come under increased scrutiny as the baby boom generation reaches retirement age and is confronted with the need for assisted-living care.
Each year, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services publishes an Elder Abuse and Neglect Report, which tracks and analyzes incidents from all county agencies. The elder abuse attorneys at Boller & Vaughan understand the risks faced by seniors who require care, either in their own homes or in a nursing home.
In this post, we discuss some findings from the most recent Elder Abuse and Neglect Report. In total, there were more than 7,300 reports of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation in Wisconsin in 2017 (the year covered by the latest report).
In more than 80
percent of reported cases, the incidents of neglect, abuse or financial
exploitation occurred where the elderly individual lived.
This includes seniors who lived alone or with others in a private residence, as well as those who lived in nursing homes, community-based residential facilities (CBRFs), licensed adult family homes, and residential care apartment complexes (RCACs). More than 900 reports in 2017 involved some type of elder care facility.
the report, nursing homes are the third-most-common site reported in incidents
of neglect, abuse or financial exploitation.
One of the most
interesting things found within the state’s annual report is a breakdown of at-risk
characteristics. This can be especially helpful to proactive families who want help
identifying various risk factors as they make the difficult decision to entrust
their loved ones to care providers.
Here are the leading
traits linked to the likelihood of incident:
Based on the
report, age seems less of a risk factor than other characteristics. For
example, individuals between 70 and 79 represented about 32 percent of all
reported cases; those aged 80 to 89 comprised about 30 percent of reported
incidents; and seniors between 60 and 69 made up about 26 percent of reported
There were some
notable statistical discrepancies regarding gender and race, however. In
approximately 59 percent of reported cases, the victim was female. In about 70
percent of reported incidents, the victim’s race was identified as
age, gender or race, elder abuse remains underreported. Nationally, it’s
estimated that as few as 1 in 14 cases of elder neglect or abuse are reported.
Reporting is complicated
by the fact that many victims lack the verbal or cognitive ability to report
abuse. In some cases, victims may fear the repercussions of reporting their
Government officials have taken notice and are stepping
up oversight of elder care facilities. Private parties are also seeking legal help when facts and evidence give rise to
One of the best ways to avoid misconduct by a third-party caretaker is for family members to be a regular presence and positive partner in the care of their loved ones. Indicators like bedsores, unexplained bruises, sudden behavioral changes, and changes to financial accounts are warning signs of elder abuse that should be taken seriously.
If you suspect a loved one is a victim of neglect or abuse at a nursing home or other assisted-living facility, you can make an anonymous report to the Wisconsin Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program at 800-815-0015 or via your local Nursing Home Resident Care regional office.
If you believe
an elderly family member is in imminent danger, you should contact local law
enforcement or call 911 immediately. As a precaution, it’s wise to document any
indicators of neglect or abuse; take photos or video of any injuries,
unsanitary conditions, dangerous surroundings, etc.
It’s also advisable to arrange a consultation with a knowledgeable nursing home abuse attorney who can help you understand your legal options, and protect your loved one and others from further abuse. Please call Boller & Vaughan today at 608-268-0268 for a free consultation or contact us online to tell us your story now.
Stay informed about elder abuse issues in Wisconsin. Follow Boller & Vaughan on Twitter or “like” us on Facebook.
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We live in Friendship, Wisconsin, and Boller & Vaughan came to our doorstep to discuss our mother’s wrongful death claim on a Saturday morning. Not only were we pleased with the large recovery, we were so thankful to have lawyers who were willing to explain to us every twist and turn along the way. It is great to know there is a law firm that will fight for the rights of elderly people all over Wisconsin.
Mr. Boller and Ms. Vaughan were incredible in working on my case and my daughter’s case. I was out of work and in the hospital with a new baby. Mr. Boller and Ms. Vaughan protected our rights and it was a pleasure to work with them. I hope never to be in another motor vehicle accident, however, if I am and I am injured, I will contact Boller & Vaughan immediately.
I was referred to Michelle through a friend. I have never had a better experience. It took a little over a year to get my settlement but the staff there stayed in constant contact and kept me in the loop. Oh, and Michelle actually got me MORE money than we discussed. I will refer anyone to this firm. Words cannot do justice the thanks that I have for Michelle and her staff (Mary especially) thank you guys so much!
After my husband died as a result of a motor vehicle accident, Boller & Vaughan spent countless hours talking with me, meeting with me in person, and making sure that I was okay. The drunk driver who hit us did not have any insurance, and we had to make a claim through our own insurance. Boller & Vaughan was fantastic at explaining the law to me and the handling of our claims.
After my son was injured in a daycare setting, Ms. Vaughan took the time to thoroughly investigate our case and my son’s injuries. Michele was approachable and had answers to our questions. Talking with her helped to relieve many of our anxieties.