Nursing homes are designed to take care of the elderly members of our community, as well as provide a safe and comfortable place for our loved ones to live out their golden years. Sadly, some of our loved ones are not treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve. Abuse in nursing homes often goes unnoticed because it comes in many different and subtle forms. It can be heartbreaking when you begin to realize signs of abuse. If you or a loved one has fallen victim to nursing home abuse you may have cause for a claim against the responsible party or even the institution itself. We know how special your loved ones are to you and your family. We understand that the elderly deserve peace and comfort, and we are committed to seeing that you and your family get the settlement they deserve.
TYPES OF NURSING HOME ABUSE AND NEGLECT
If you or someone you love is the resident of a nursing home or extended care facility, then you should familiarize yourself with common types of nursing home abuse and negligence. Knowledge is power to protecting your loved ones. We are going to highlight for you five of the more common types of nursing home claims:
- Physical Abuse: Physical abuse of an elderly resident of a nursing home involves the actual injuries (and even too the threat of imminent physical harm). There are many different types of abuse, unfortunately, that can be inflicted by supposed caregivers. For example, extended care abuse can involve hitting, grabbing, pushing an elderly resident. Other types of abuse at a nursing home include the use of excessive restraints, such as tying a person to a wheelchair or bedframe. Along with these types of physical abuse, caregivers can also inflict abuse by denying a resident vital medication, as well as food and water.
- Psychological Abuse: A caregiver at a nursing home may intentionally cause emotional distress to an elderly resident through verbal or non-verbal actions. Emotional abuse takes many different forms. Some common types of psychological abuse at nursing homes can include a caregiver taunting an elderly resident by taking away the resident’s food or pulling-off a resident’s blankets. Other forms of extended care abuse include the threat of physical violence, such as lurching towards a resident with a broomstick. Again, emotional and psychological abuse at assisted living facilities can be very difficult to uncover without proper knowledge and vigilance.
- Neglect: Another common and very unfortunate form of nursing home abuse centers on neglect of elderly residents by a nursing home’s staff. Nursing homes have a duty to provide for a resident’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter. Along with these basic needs, an elderly resident should expect to be safe from predators, like petty thieves and even hardened criminals. You pay the nursing home to take care of your loved one. Neglect, unfortunately, can be a difficult form of abuse to spot because there are not always obvious physical signs so it’s important to be very vigilant at nursing homes.
- Improper Medication: Many assisted living residents are taking medication for various ailments and conditions to help with conditions associated with memory loss to physical discomfort. These drugs are important to an elderly resident’s well-being and overall health. Nursing homes are required to monitor a resident’s use of prescription medication and supervise the caregivers tasked with dispensing the medication. For example, medication must be property stored and labeled to avoid giving an incorrect medication to a resident. The slightest mistake can have life-altering consequences. Even more so, staff at nursing homes simply cannot overmedicate an elderly resident!
- Financial Abuse: Many elderly residents at nursing homes have worked countless years to save for their final years. A resident’s funds should be used for care and support as opposed to the financial gain of ill-intentioned caregivers. There are several forms of financial abuse, like theft of precious family heirlooms to the taking of a resident’s hard-earned money. A quick tip: Be wary of identity theft at nursing homes and make sure that all of your elderly family member’s forms of identification are safely stored and are not accessible to everyone at the assisted living facility.
PHYSICAL SIGNS OF NURSING HOME ABUSE AND NEGLECT
While there are some physical signs that we all can clearly recognize as abuse, we also wanted to share with you a detailed list, but certainly not exhaustive list, of other signs of neglect at assisted living facilities:
- Mysterious cuts, burns, and scrapes
- Presence of bed sores (pressure ulcers)
- Lingering infections and flu-like symptoms
- Unexplained loss of hair and teeth
- Permeation of foul odors from urine and feces
- Dirty cloths, bath towels, and bed sheets
- General unresponsiveness from medications
- Financial transactions to unknown recipients
- Overall lack of enthusiasm and will-power
- Fright from seeing certain caregivers or residents
- Execution of legal documents without notice
- Violent outbursts and other strange activity
As member of the elderly relatives’ family or as a close friend, you are in the best position to determine whether there may be abuse toward the resident. A good preventative measure is unannounced walk-ins to assisted living facility. Don’t be afraid to trust your instincts and always share your concerns with the supervisors at the nursing home. A detailed log of changes in an elderly resident’s behavior is critical to a successful nursing home negligence case.
ADVANCING A NURSING HOME ABUSE CASE
Nursing home negligence cases require specialized legal skill and expertise. These cases are not to be taken lightly by attorneys; instead, there are many important steps to investigate and prosecute an assisted living facility:
- Work with Medical Doctors and Other Experts: Nursing home abuse cases often lead to emergency room treatment and extended hospitalizations or rehabilitation stays for residents. We always work with the physicians and other professions to evaluate the full scope of treatment, which includes both physical and emotional care, for victims of nursing home abuse.
- Detailed Review of Records: Like other businesses, nursing homes are required to maintain detailed records. These records range from call-logs, prescription refills, and other appointments for an elderly resident. If a resident is non-verbal or has difficulty communicating about the assisted living negligence, then these records will help to paint a clear time-line for the abuse.
- Interviewing Former Employees: Oftentimes former employees are critical for exposing systemic nursing home and elder abuse. They have the “insider knowledge” about the poor and unethical practices by caregivers and their supervisors at nursing homes.
- Obtaining Photographs and Surveillance Footage: A picture is truly worth a million words! A picture of a tragic situation will help to convey the magnitude of the nursing home negligence to a jury. What is more, surveillance footage, such as a camera from assisted living center, can be used to the discovery of a fabricated story by a nursing home employee’s care of an elderly resident.
All you and your family wanted was the confidence in knowing your loved one was safe and being taken care of everyday. Your elderly family members and friends are deeply important to us. We will make sure they are protected from nursing home negligence and abuse. Their lives are precious to us, and we will do our very best for you and your family and friends.