Answers To Your Questions About Nursing Home Neglect And Abuse
At Reddick Law, PLLC, we understand the feeling of helplessness when you learn that an elderly person you love is suffering from an injury, illness or other medical condition. You may have questions about whether or not the nursing home was at fault or if you should pursue a lawsuit. Our attorneys are here to provide the answers you need.
What Are The Most Common Forms Of Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect?
Elder abuse and neglect can come in many forms, but some of the most common are falls, bedsores and subsequent infections and medical conditions like sepsis, malnutrition and dehydration, medication errors, and failure to treat injuries or illnesses. This is certainly not an exclusive list, but if one of the above has happened to a nursing home resident it should be a red flag that is worth questioning.
What Is The Difference Between Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect?
The line between abuse and neglect can blur. Neglect typically refers to inaction. Medical problems that resulted from a failure of nursing home staff to provide care would be considered neglect. A common example is bedsores, which often develop because a nursing home resident is left unattended in the same position for long periods of time, either in a bed, a wheelchair or elsewhere. Abuse refers to action. This is when a nursing home staff member does something intentionally that causes harm such as hitting a resident or withholding food or water as “punishment.”
How Can I Tell If My Elderly Loved One Suffered Abuse Or Neglect?
Nursing home abuse and neglect can be difficult to spot. If you ask nursing home management or staff, they will tell you that it was an accident. They will say that sometimes old people fall, sometimes they hurt themselves. They will explain that these things happen. Of course, the nursing home wants to protect itself, so the people who work there will not likely admit to wrongdoing.
The fact is that you’ve found this website because you have a feeling that something is wrong. Trust your gut. Our lawyers are happy to review the incident for free and give you an honest assessment. If we explore the issue and don’t think anything abusive or negligent happened, then you have peace of mind. If we determine there may have been abuse or neglect, then we will take action to hold the nursing home accountable.
What If The Nursing Home Staff Say It Was Just An Accident?
The whole point of paying to have an elderly person stay at a nursing home is to keep them safe, to care for them, and to prevent “accidents.” The Oxford Languages dictionary defines an accident as “an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury.” Is it really unexpected if an elderly person, whose muscles are weakened and who can barely walk on their own, falls down when left unattended? Is it really unexpected when bedsores develop on a resident who has been left in bed for days on end?
Of course, nursing homes are businesses and want to protect themselves, so staff will often dismiss these issues as “just an accident.” We disagree. We believe that many of these incidents could have been anticipated and prevented with proper care, and that nursing homes should be held accountable when that care is not provided.
What Should I Do If I Feel My Loved One Is Being Abused Or Neglected In A Nursing Home?
Your instinct may be to remove your loved one from the nursing home. Please take care in doing so. Depending on the nature of the incident, they may have undiagnosed broken bones or other medical issues that could worsen if moved. If severe enough, you may want to call 911 if the nursing home staff has not done so already. Our lawyers are here to offer guidance on how to proceed in these delicate situations.
Can I Sue If Elder Abuse Or Neglect Occurred In Assisted Living Or Another Facility Other Than A Nursing Home?
Elderly people have the right to be safe regardless of where they are being taken care of. That includes not only nursing homes, but also assisted living facilities, memory care facilities, and even in hospitals and under hospice care. Each of these facilities functions differently, but at the end of the day they are all meant to take care of people.
Despite being designed to be more home-like and less clinical than nursing homes, assisted living facilities still must be responsible for residents. If the assisted living facility is no longer able to provide care for a resident, the facility must take steps to have the resident placed in a nursing home. The facility cannot simply neglect elderly residents whose age or medical condition has progressed to the level where staff is no longer able to meet the resident’s needs. Similarly, assisted living facilities need to provide protections from abuse. This includes abuse from staff and other residents. Even though residents in assisted living tend to be more independent, they are still more susceptible to abuse than younger individuals.
If an elderly person has been abused or neglected in any facility that is being paid to take care of them, you have the right to take action. The details of the action taken may vary, as laws pertaining to different facilities vary. That is where an experienced attorney comes into play.
Should I Pursue A Personal Injury Claim?
Pursuing a claim against the nursing home where your elderly loved one was harmed allows you to seek compensation for your loved one’s medical care and other costs. The claim can also serve as a deterrent in that it may force the nursing home to increase staffing or take other precautions to prevent a similar incident from happening again.