One of the most serious problems in health care today is the growing rate of nursing home negligence and abuse. Experts have difficulty estimating exact rates because nursing home negligence is so widely underreported. However, the rates are likely to rise as the number of elderly living in long-term care facilities continues to increase. Today, more than 1.6 million of America’s elderly citizens are living in nursing homes—a number that is expected to quadruple over the next several decades. Sadly, many of these will be the victims of nursing home neglect and abuse.
If you suspect that someone you love is the victim of nursing home negligence, it is important that you take immediate action. Please contact the Brain Injury Law Center today for a FREE consultation with a caring and qualified attorney who can explain your rights and help you devise the most appropriate course of action.
What Is Nursing Home Negligence?
The law defines nursing home negligence as the failure or refusal to provide elderly patients with a standard level of care. The home must meet basic needs, ensure safety and avoid unnecessary pain and/or harm. Nursing home negligence—intentional or not—may include the following:
- Failing to respond to call for help
- Failing to ensure basic needs like bathing, eating and walking are provided.
- Failing to prevent bedsores
Signs of Nursing Home Negligence
Some of the most common signs of nursing home negligence include:
- Malnutrition, dehydration or unusual weight loss
- Poor personal hygiene or unsanitary living conditions
- Bruises and/or pressure spots
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
A step above simple negligence, nursing home abuse takes many forms. However, the following are the types of abuse and signs you should look out for:
- Physical abuse is usually marked by unexplained injuries like open wounds, bruises, dislocations, sprains, fractures, internal bleeding and more. In most of these cases, the harm occurs when a resident is slapped, kicked, hit or subject to any other form of physical violence. However, it is important to be aware that drug under and overdoses as well as malnutrition are also signs of physical abuse and neglect.
- Emotional, verbal and mental abuse is characterized by severe psychological anguish, irritation, non-responsiveness and withdrawal that results from repeated insults, threats, intimidation, humiliation, harassment and more.
- Sexual abuse includes any non-consensual, inappropriate touching or handling, sexual battery, forced nudity, rape and other sexual activity forced on a patient. The signs of sexual abuse may involve bruising around the genitalia or breasts, unexplained genital infections, torn and soiled undergarments and more.
- Exploitation occurs when a resident’s personal finances, assets, or property are improperly or illegally tampered with. Unpaid bills, missing personal checks and/or effects, and abrupt changes in financial documents such as a will could all indicate signs of exploitation.
What Are My Legal Rights?
No one wants to hear that their loved one is vulnerable to nursing home abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, it occurs more often than we like to think and the consequences for the victim of abuse can be devastating—emotionally and financially.
If you’ve spotted signs of nursing home abuse in someone you love, it is important to understand that you have a number of legal remedies available to you. Federal and state lawmakers have enacted statutes that protect the rights of abused nursing home residents. By filing a personal injury lawsuit, you and your family may be eligible to recover the damages sustained as a result of nursing home abuse. Economic and non-economic damages may include:
- Emotional and physical pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Reimbursement of assets
- Loss of enjoyment of life
We Can Help
At Brain Injury Law Center, we are committed to helping victims of personal injury and their families seek justice for their losses and suffering. If your loved one resides in a nursing home facility and you believe nursing home negligence or abuse has occurred, please contact us today for a complimentary consultation. We can evaluate your case and help you hold responsible parties accountable.
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