Find Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawyer

Find Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawyer

Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

Two and a half million American adults live in assisted living facilities and nursing homes, facilities for the residential care of disabled or older adults. Unfortunately, this population is particularly vulnerable to mistreatment, otherwise called nursing home abuse. Shockingly, two-thirds of nursing home staff members have admitted to abusing residents according to the World Health Organization. This difficult reality makes it all too important for nursing home residents and their loved ones to become aware of the risks of nursing home abuse and the legal recourse victims have available to them.

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Beausay & Nichols Law Firm

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What Is Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing home abuse is the harm and mistreatment of residents of nursing homes by caretakers. It can be both intentional and unintentional, but it is always to be taken seriously, able to result in trauma, medical problems, and even death.

The prominence of nursing home abuse is a difficult pill to swallow, but issues such as understaffing, burnout, and improper training can cause caretakers to take advantage of the positions of power they are in to harm the residents of their facilities.

The silver lining is that there are options available to the victims of nursing home abuse that will allow them to be safe and receive the proper financial compensation for their suffering. Experienced nursing home abuse lawyers are able to use their expertise to get victims the help they deserve.

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse can come in multiple forms.

- Physical nursing home abuse: Physical harm to nursing home residents can include acts such as pushing, hitting, kicking, and excessively aggressive physical conduct

- Emotional nursing home abuse: Any action that harms a nursing home resident’s well-being such as yelling, taunting, isolation, humiliation, and shaming counts as emotional abuse

- Nursing home neglect: The act of leaving nursing home residents unattended for extended periods of time is dangerous and considered abuse, potentially leading to bedsores, infections, malnutrition, psychological effects, and more

- Sexual nursing home abuse: Any form of non-consensual sexual activity between a nursing home staff member and a resident is considered to be sexual abuse

- Financial nursing home abuse: Stealing objects or money from nursing home residents or otherwise defrauding them is another type of nursing home abuse

Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

The unfortunate reality is that those of us with loved ones in nursing homes may never know that they are being abused if they are unable or unwilling to communicate it. However, there are both subtle and more obvious signs that you can watch out for that may be indicative that abuse could be happening.

 These include physical signs such as:

- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Illness or infection
- Cuts, lacerations, or skin tears
- Fatigue, insomnia, or other sleep disorders
- Bedsores or pressure ulcers
- Bruises, burns, or welts on the skin
- Head injuries
- Dental injuries
- Broken or fractured bones
- Unexplained weight loss
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Bruises or welts around the genitals
- Unexplainable STDs
- Unchanged, filthy clothes or bed sheets
- Malnutrition or dehydration

However, there are also other warning signs that are not physical, which may make them more challenging to notice but are no less important to watch out for. These include:

- Lowered confidence and self-worth
- The onset of aggressive or violent behavior
- Trauma or PTSD symptoms
- Substance abuse
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
- Inappropriate physical contact with staff members
- Anxiety
- Depression
- Opening new credit cards or bank accounts
- New changes to the power of attorney
- Strange financial transactions or charges

It’s important to remember that each instance of nursing home abuse is quite different and there is no single way that a nursing home abuse case may appear. Remaining generally aware and observant and listening to your intuition can help you identify suspicious situations.

Nursing Home Abuse Law

There are both federal and state laws that guarantee nursing home residents certain rights such as:

- The right to a safe living space free of abuse
- The right to participate in decisions regarding their care
- The right to file lawsuits if they are mistreated

When identifying a nursing home abuse case, the first step should be reporting it to the authorities. The next step is to contact a lawyer. They will be able to help you understand how nursing home abuse laws affect your case and guide you in receiving the proper compensation by assisting in the process of gathering evidence, filing your claim, and arguing your case in court.

Types of damages that you may be able to recover in a nursing home abuse lawsuit include:

- Funeral costs
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages

Do You Need Legal Advice Regarding a Nursing Home Abuse Case?

If you or a loved one have been through nursing home abuse, it’s important to reach out as soon as possible to a lawyer experienced in these types of cases. This will help you learn your options for how to proceed in order to receive the compensation you deserve for your pain, suffering, and loss.

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Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is considered nursing home abuse?

Nursing home abuse is a broad term that covers several specific types of abuse. Any time an elderly resident suffers from physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, emotional abuse, or sexual abuse at the hands of nursing home staff, that is considered nursing home abuse.

Physical abuse can involve any kind of unwanted touching but most often involves pushing, hitting, or otherwise injuring an elder resident. Emotional abuse can include putting down or screaming at residents, or manipulating elders who have impaired mental functions. Financial abuse can be as simple as stealing any money or valuables an elder may have or as complicated as using the elder to open credit cards or bank accounts without proper authorization. Sexual abuse can be any inappropriate touching or contact that an employee makes. Finally, neglect can include leaving an elder on the floor after they fall, not moving a bedridden resident regularly, or failing to change or wash residents who can’t do so themselves in a timely manner.

2. How to report nursing home abuse?

If you suspect that a resident is being abused, there are several organizations that can be notified. If there is evidence of physical, sexual, or financial abuse, you should contact local law enforcement. The police have the jurisdiction to intervene in any ongoing illegal activity like assault. Additionally, you can file a complaint with the nursing home ombudsman in your area. The ombudsman is responsible for mediating complaints between nursing homes and residents. 

On the federal level, you could file a report with the Eldercare Locator or the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA). The Eldercare Locator is a federally sponsored program from the Department of Health and Human Services that has an elder abuse hotline. The NCEA is a federal department devoted to vetting and addressing reports of abuse.

3. How to prevent nursing home abuse?

When it comes to preventing nursing home abuse, there are some important preventative steps that can be taken. First, it is vital to extensively vet the nursing home you are considering housing yourself or your family member in. Make sure to take note of the amount of staff that you see around compared to the number of residents living at the facility. In addition, if possible you should check reviews from the Department of Health and Human Services as well as the residents.

Once you or a family member are living at the facility, find out whether your state allows you to plant a hidden camera in the room. Having a hidden camera can help you discover and preserve evidence of misconduct by staff which will give you more power in pursuing justice but is not legal in all states.

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