Colorado used to be one of three states without an elder-abuse law – but not anymore, thanks to the work of a task force that met last summer and bipartisan legislation that was signed into law in May 2013.
Colorado Senate Bill 13-111 requires doctors, nurses, social workers, clergy members, law enforcement officers, nursing home staff, home healthcare workers and others to report any neglect or abuse of anyone over the age of 70 within 24 hours of observing the abuse. Those who willfully fail to report abuse could face a fine up to $750 and up to six months in jail.
Under the bill, “abuse” includes bodily harm as well as confinement or sexual abuse. The bill also addresses caretaker neglect and it covers financial exploitation as well.
The National Center on Elder Abuse, Bureau of Justice Statistics, states that the number of elderly abuse cases in 2010 totaled 5,961,568. The median age of victims was 77.9. A breakdown of reported abuse cases indicates that neglect constituted 58.5 percent, Physical violence 15.7 percent and financial exploitation 12.3 percent.
Elder abuse can come in the form of neglect, abuse, mistreatment, malnourishment, financial exploitation or injury due to improper care. Elder abuse is a serious issue that can have dire consequences for the victim and their families.
Some warning signs indicating that some form of neglect or abuse is occurring:
- Repeated falls
- Change in condition or mental status
- Continual odor of urine or feces
- Medical conditions that are not taken care of immediately
- Urinary tract infections that become frequent
- Excessive weight loss and malnutrition
- Bed sores or pressure sores or decubitus ulcers
- Sudden changes in resident’s behavior
- Isolation of the resident from others
- Lack of adequate clothing
- Broken bones or fractures
- Poor personal hygiene
Residents of nursing homes are protected under federal and state laws, which require nursing homes to provide high-quality care. When abuse occurs, or when a federal/state law is violated, a resident can file a complaint with several state and federal agencies.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of elder abuse, contact the experienced attorneys at McDivitt Law Firm toll free at (877) 846-4878 and we will arrange an initial free personal consultation. You can click here to download a free consultation form. Our lawyers have the knowledge, experience, and resources necessary to help you in your time of need. Your initial consultation is free, and you do not owe us any fee until we collect money for you.