If you have a family member living in a nursing home, your expectation is that they will be taken care of, watched over with due diligence and monitored to ensure their safety. However, given the conditions and understaffing at many nursing homes, seniors do not receive the amount of care they need.
Approximately 1 in 10 seniors 60-years of age and older have had first-hand experience with some form of elder abuse. Furthermore, based on reported cases alone, there may be as many as 5 million seniors abused each year. Because only 1 in 14 cases of senior abuse is reported, that number may be much larger.
Nursing home abuse can include physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse and neglect. Nursing home abuse occurs when a doctor, nurse, staff member, aide, maintenance personnel or a visitor, causes harm to a nursing facility resident. Abuse may well be intentional or come about as the result of negligence. Neglect is often the result of a lack of action or attention in activities such as: properly monitoring residents, making certain they get their medications on time, providing food, clothing, water and other essential services, such as changing wound dressings. While neglect may not be deliberate, the results may be serious and even deadly. No matter what the reason or cause for abuse or neglect, it can serve as a foundation for a nursing home abuse and negligence lawsuit.
Signs of financial abuse
At a nursing home facility, financial abuse can take the form of theft or fraud. In this form of abuse, there are no obvious signs. Often, the elderly may not realize that they were a victim of a crime. Theft could include direct theft, like stolen property, or the use of a patient’s name to apply for credit. A nursing home resident may also be financially exploited by a caregiver who uses the patient’s financial information to for their own gains.
Signs of physical abuse
Physical abuse may take many forms, and signs of physical abuse at nursing homes often include injuries for which there is no explanation. Sings of physical abuse can include: ligature marks on wrists and ankles, development of pressure ulcers, frequent bruising, and unexplained abrasions and cuts. Other signs of abuse include rashes caused by wet clothing, malnutrition and dehydration, withholding of drugs, chemical restraints and over administration of sedatives to control a resident.
Signs of emotional abuse
Emotional abuse can be psychologically and emotionally damaging to nursing home residents. Emotional abuse includes, making verbal and/or violent threats toward a resident, abandonment, intimidation of the resident, and disregard to the needs of a patient. Sings of emotional abuse may be hard to spot. However, any sudden changes of mood, habits and behavior may indicate that something is amiss.
Why is nursing home abuse and negligence so prevalent? In many cases, staff members, aides, and other personnel who work with residents are not properly trained or are not qualified. Understaffed nursing homes hire personnel without properly screening or training them.
Understaffing seems to be chronic in nursing homes and lack of adequate staff lends itself to an atmosphere where abuse can thrive. A further difficulty in effectively monitoring abuse is the fact that many residents may have a difficult time trying to make their abuse complaint heard and taken seriously.
Nursing home liability
Seniors living in care facilities have a legal right to be free from financial, physical, sexual or mental abuse. If your loved one has been abused in a nursing home facility, you may wish to file a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for the harm they have suffered.
When you file a claim, you may be able to hold a nursing home liable for the abuse and negligence provided that you can show that the nursing home breached its duty to the patient. The nursing home staff and management can be held accountable for damages. For instance, a nursing home may be held liable because its workers are agents acting on behalf of the home. Furthermore, if the nursing home has substandard protections for residents, inadequate staffing that caused harm to a resident or the building was not properly maintained the home may also be held responsible.
If a family member has suffered from nursing home abuse or negligence, we will fight to protect your loved one and bring an end to the suffering they have experienced. Call the Steinberg Law Firm at 843-720-2800 to speak to an experienced Goose Creek nursing home abuse attorney.