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Nursing Home Negligence & Abuse
Making the decision to put your loved one into a nursing home is never an easy one. Families might spend months researching facilities to find the one that they feel will provide the best care for their loved one, including the physical and emotional support they need as they get older. In a lot of cases, loved ones are reluctant to make the move to a nursing home because they want to retain their independence, but family and friends convince them it’s for the best. The nursing home is entrusted with the care of someone that you love very much who cannot care for themselves. It’s the vulnerability and helplessness of these patients that make cases of nursing home abuse and negligence so shocking; the realization that these facilities could not be trusted with the care of your loved one is a devastating betrayal that can leave lasting scars on a family.
Has Your Loved One Been the Victim of Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse?
Elder neglect in a nursing home can come in many forms, including:
- Physical neglect. This occurs when the physical needs of the patient are ignored. This form of neglect might involve not providing them with regular baths, ignoring physical needs like needing to use the restroom, or even not providing enough food. Malnutrition, dehydration, and pressure ulcers (bed sores) are common signs of physical neglect. Did you know that nursing homes have a statutory duty to ensure that patients who enter their facilities without bed sores do not develop them, and that those who have bed sores when they arrive receive every possible treatment to ensure that they heal or do not worsen? Nursing homes that fail to provide these basic measures may be subject to punitive damages. Another classic sign of physical neglect is the failure to provide appropriate assistance and precautions to prevent falls. Nursing homes have an obligation to provide certain assistance and precautionary measures to prevent falls in those who are at risk.
- Medical neglect. Nursing homes have an obligation to tailor the care they provide to the level of care your loved one requires. Did you know that prior to accepting a patient, a nursing home must conduct a review to ensure that they have the appropriate level of staff and the necessary equipment and facilities to provide that care? That might be distributing medications on a regular schedule or identifying when your loved one is in need of care from a doctor. Medical care is often the reason people seek out a nursing home in the first place.
- Emotional neglect. This form of neglect can involve leaving your loved one on their own for extended periods of time, yelling at them, or even psychologically abusing them. It can be the most difficult form of neglect to identify but is often one of the most harmful.
All of these behaviors can escalate into elder abuse, a growing problem across the country. According to the National Council on Aging, 1 in 10 seniors have reported being the victim of some form of abuse. Elders can come in a variety of forms:
- Physical abuse. This could include pinching, slapping, hitting, or any other behaviors that harm the physical well-being of the elder.
- Emotional abuse. This can include intimidating the elder, humiliating them, or even ignoring them when they need help.
- Sexual abuse. This form of abuse can come from touching the elder’s genitals, making them watch pornography against their will, or making them perform sexual acts.
- Financial abuse. Financial abuse occurs when someone misuses or withholds a senior’s money. Unfortunately, this form of abuse is one of the most common forms of elder abuse.
If you have suspicions or your loved one tells you that there is an issue, it’s something that you should take seriously. You should report your suspicions to the police, the management, and any other supervising entity as well as contacting an elder abuse attorney.
We Can Help With Your Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse Case
The damage done by elder neglect and abuse can result in lifelong consequences for victims and their families. There may be additional medical bills, costs for finding new care, as well as pain and suffering for everyone who was involved. Girvin & Ferlazzo has witnessed the damage that elder neglect and abuse can cause, and we want to help you get the resources that you need to recover. Get in touch with our legal team today. Schedule a free consultation with our team and let us help you determine whether you have a valid case against the nursing home. You can reach us by calling 518-594-4400 or filling out the contact form.