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New York Enacts Additional Elder Abuse Law; Leitner Varughese Fights for Victims of Elder Abuse and

Recently, Governer Cuomo signed a bill int law which requires state agencies to develop guidelines to assist health care providers (i.e. nursing homes, doctors, nurses, assisted living facilities, hospitals, certified nursing assistants) to detect elder abuse and mistreatment. These guidelines will be formulated by the Office for the Aging, the Department of Health and the Office of Children and Family Services.

It has been reported that 10 percent of all Americans over the age of 60 have been subjected and/or victimized by elder abuse. Many cases involving elder abuse are not reported because the victims are afraid to report the circumstances. This is especially worrisome in the New York area in light if the rapidly growing number of the senior population.

Especially important is training Emergency Room practitioners to identify victims of elder abuse as a first line of defense, as seeking assistance in the hospital may be the only time the elderly victim is seen by personnel outside of the nursing home, assisted living facility, or home, where the alleged abuse occurred.

Some signs and symptoms of elder abuse to watch out for are:

  • Bed Sores or Pressure Sores (also known as “decubitus ulcers” or “pressure ulcers”)

  • Falls resulting in fractures or other serious injury

  • Infection or Sepsis

  • Head injuries

  • Injuries of unknown origin

  • Malnutrition or Dehydration

  • Medication Errors

  • Choking

  • Clogged Breathing Tubes

  • Physical or Sexual Assault or Abuse

  • Physical or Chemical Restraints

  • Burns

  • Alzheimer's and other dementias

  • Assaults by staff

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