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AZ Midday - Nursing Home Abuse Segment

Moderator: Welcome Back to AZ Midday. Nursing home abuse is a serious problem in this country, but most people don’t know where to turn for help. Today we’re here with Gene Cullan, J.D., Ph.D. a Trial Lawyer with Cullan & Cullan which represents families who have had a loved one injured from nursing home abuse and neglect. Thank you so much for being here this afternoon.

Dr. Cullan: Thank you for having me.

Moderator: Alright, let's talk about nursing home abuse and neglect. What exactly is it?

Dr. Cullan: The national council on elder abuse has defined a number of types of categories that involve abuse and what they've defined it as are three different types which are either emotional abuse, physical abuse, or even financial abuse. They can involve such things as physical neglect where there is a failure to provide for the safety of a patient. Preventive healthcare is often not provided and personal hygiene. Even such things as failure to provide dentures or eyeglasses can be a type of physical abuse.

Moderator: And there is also of course emotional abuse and emotional neglect. What is that?

Dr. Cullan: Emotional neglect occurs when a patient has not been provided adequate stimulation with other people so if an individual is left for long periods of time without any contact that's a type of emotional or psychological abuse or neglect of a patient.

Moderator: Now how common is this problem?

Dr. Cullan: It's very common, in fact, studies that were done by the House Select Committee show, from the early nineties for instance, that as many as two million adults throughout the United States of the ages of 60 or greater have been abused or neglected, and so it is very pertinent in the United States as well as here in Arizona.

Moderator: It's just so sad, it's an awful problem. Now if a viewer has a loved one in a nursing home are there sign and symptoms that they can watch out for, because a lot of people maybe they don't get visitors but once a month.

Dr. Cullan: There are a lot of signs and symptoms that can lead someone to believe that neglect or abuse has in fact occurred, such as unexplained injuries, bruises, burns, malnutrition, and bed sores. That's one of the most common things that we see in cases of neglect or abuse.

Moderator: And what about if a family member suspects that a loved one in a nursing home is being abused or neglected, what should they do? Once they say o.k., I see some of these symptoms, what do I do now?

Dr. Cullan: They should contact the Adult Protective Services or more frequently and perhaps even a better source, is the doctor that takes care of the elderly individual. The doctor has training, adequate training, and has a responsibility in fact to report cases that they suspect involve abuse and the doctor is very important in preventing future abuse to the patient because they record things in the medical records which then tip off people to what to be looking for.

Moderator: O.K., now, what about if viewers have additional questions maybe about nursing home abuse and neglect, can they contact you to get more information?

Dr. Cullan: Absolutely, we would be happy to entertain any questions that they may have.

Moderator: O.K., thank you so much and again you can call (816) 253-8606 or go to doctorspracticinglaw.com for more information a very important topic and we appreciate you being here.

Dr. Cullan: Thank you.

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