Nursing home abuse in Rhode Island, as well as in other states, is a growing concern with the continued rise of reported incidents every year. Studies conducted by private and public sectors show that for every reported incident of elderly abuse, violence or neglect; five” go unreported to the authorities. This confirms and solidifies the “iceberg theory” of the National Elder Abuse Incidence Study. According to this theory, reports received are the most visible types of abuse and neglect and these only make up the tip of the iceberg. There are still unreported and even unidentified incidents. Some of these abuses are very difficult to identify because of the social isolation of the elderly.
All these studies raise issues of policy development in order to address the problems of violence and neglect. Rhode Island (RI) recognizes its obligation to protect the health, safety and welfare of its elderly citizens by enacting state laws aimed at promoting their rights. The Elderly Violence Prevention Act considers violence against the elderly a serious crime against society. RI has also created the Citizens' Commission for the Safety and Care of the Elderly to act as a liaison between the different departments and the elderly groups. Rhode Island also created the Elderly Affairs Department whose main task is to investigate reports on abuse, among others.
The policymakers, the bodies created for the protection of the elderly and the nursing homes are not the only entities with the duty to address this problem. You, as a member of the society, and we, as legal representatives, are called to join the collective effort to alleviate the standard of living and stop the abuse and neglect of our loved ones in these nursing homes.
If someone you know has been a victim of nursing home abuse, please contact a Rhode Island nursing home attorney at the law offices of d'Oliveira & Associates at 1-800-992-6878 for a free legal consultation.