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More professionals required to report elder abuse

Many people in Ohio may have serious concerns about placing their parents or other elderly loved ones in a nursing home due to the potential for abuse. This is of particular concern as elder abuse often goes unreported, even after people see evidence that older people are being mistreated or neglected. In September 2018, state law changed to require many more groups of people to report elder abuse if they witness suspicious incidents. Among those required to report abuse include lawyers, physicians, counselors and employees of nursing homes and hospitals. However, ambulance drivers, accountants, real estate brokers, bank employees and financial planners are now also required to report abuse.

Many of the professions now required to report are linked to the financial sector because older Americans are often targeted for financial scams that may wipe their accounts dry, leaving them further susceptible to abuse. If people in these jobs fail to report evidence of elder abuse, they could face $500 fines and criminal charges. While financial abuse is the most common type of mistreatment, physical and sexual abuse continue to pose a serious threat to the growing elder population.

Victims of nursing home abuse may show signs of dehydration, malnutrition or other physical symptoms. For example, people who are being neglected may develop severe bedsores that are not mitigated when they are not properly moved. Of course, people outside the named professions can also help if they see signs that an elderly person is being abused by reporting it to Adult Protective Services.

The effects of nursing home abuse can be severe, significantly damaging a victim's quality of life. Even expensive facilities can be the site of mistreatment or neglect. A personal injury lawyer can help people victimized by nursing homes and their families to seek compensation for their damages.

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