Nursing home negligence and abuse have unfortunately become very common in the U.S. Residential care facilities often hire employees with backgrounds that include abuse and neglect, for a job which requires them to protect patients. Abuse is also prevalent between in-patients. If you suspect the unfortunate has happened to yourself or a loved one, a nursing home abuse attorney at Petro Accident and Injury Attorneys can help protect you or your loved one from any further mistreatment.
According to Medicare & Medicaid Services / National Center on Elder Abuse: 97% of nursing homes failed to have sufficient staff to meet one or more federal staffing requirements; 44% of residents were found to have been abused in nursing homes; 95% of residents reported being neglected or have seen others neglected; and 50% of nursing home staff admit to mistreating residents.
Protect Your Loved One From Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home facilities are entrusted with the most important people in our lives who are at the most vulnerable times in their adult lives. We expect these homes and facilities to provide both a healthy and safe environment for our family members. Unfortunately, these facilities are often cited for numerous violations. These range from insufficient staffing, incompetent staffing, failure to turn as well as re-position residents to prevent pressure sores, unsanitary environments to abusive employees.
If you or a loved one suspects negligence or abuse, it is imperative that you retain a nursing home negligence/abuse attorney who can ensure that your loved one does not continue to be mistreated. Petro Accident and Injury Attorneys has the experience necessary to ensure you are compensated for your loved one’s damages, and that abuse and neglect is prevented from happening again.
Nursing Home Abuse Is More Common Than You May Think
Experts estimate that one in ten seniors will experience neglect, physical, or emotional abuse in their lifetime. Sadly, however, much of this abuse goes unreported. Only 7% of abuse cases are reported to authorities. One survey reported that 95% of long-term care patients experienced some form of neglect.
Unfortunately, elder abuse has a profound impact on your loved ones. Their physical and emotional injuries can take years off of their life, and the stress of consistent abuse can subsequently lead to depression, anxiety, and decreased independence. It can also take a toll on their finances.
Each year, we spend billions on medical care related to injuries from nursing home abuse. If you suspect that a loved one is a victim of elder abuse, it’s important that you act quickly and investigate your concerns. A nursing home abuse lawyer can help.
What Constitutes Abuse or Neglect?
Nursing home abuse and neglect occurs when a caregiver either intentionally or negligently causes harm to a vulnerable individual. From egregious cases of sexual and physical abuse to the disregarding of a resident’s needs for toileting, food, hydration, and medication, elder and nursing home abuse and neglect cover a wide variety of injuries and circumstances. While you may think that neglect and abuse are identical, there are some notable differences between them.
- Abuse: The abuser is intentionally harming the resident, either physically, emotionally, psychologically, or financially
- Neglect: The resident suffers harm due to a caregiver or facility’s failure to deliver care and services. Neglect can involve a resident’s medical needs, personal care and hygiene, social interaction, and basic needs. These claims typically focus on the legal theory of negligence.
Unfortunately, both neglect and abuse can be difficult to identify.
Since nursing home patients and senior care facilities typically cater to the elderly, it can be easy to mistake abuse or neglect for just a result of old age. The following are a few commonly missed signs of mistreatment:
- Broken bones
- Tears of the skin
- Bedsores, also known as pressure sores and decubitus ulcers
- Urinary Tract Infection
- Unusual levels of confusion
- Untreated Illnesses
- Unexplained Injuries
If you see any of these signs when observing yourself or a loved one, contact nursing home abuse attorney Mark Petro. As a knowledgeable nursing home abuse attorney, Mark will aggressively fight against negligent and abusive facilities. Contact Petro Accident and Injury Attorneys for a complimentary, 30 minute, no obligation nursing home neglect and abuse strategy session today. A $200 value.
Types of Abuse in a Nursing Home or Care Facility
Abuse can be categorized into a few types: physical, sexual, emotional. When we discuss elder and nursing home abuse, we typically categorize it as either physical, emotional, sexual, or financial. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to identify even the most severe abuse cases, since many nursing home residents are either unwilling or unable to report their situation.
No matter what type, a nursing home abuse lawyer at Petro Accident and Injury Attorneys can help determine whether you have a case. Call (256) 533-5000 today for a complimentary, 30 minute, nursing home abuse and neglect strategy session. A $200 value.
Physical Abuse in Nursing Homes
Physical abuse in a nursing home occurs when someone uses excessive force which results in physical pain, bodily injury or some type of impairment. Below are some of the most common signs of physical abuse:
- Physical punishment
- Force feeding the patient
- Bruises, cuts, and marks caused by rope or other restraint
- Broken bones and/or fractures
- Missing teeth
- Open wounds and burns
- Punctures of the skin
- Internal Injuries
- Signs of physical restraint
- Being given too much medication
- Not being given enough medication
- A need for a sudden and unexpected hospitalization
Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
Sadly, patients can sometimes endure sexual abuse in their nursing home and senior care facilities. This could be at the hands of employees or other residents. As unthinkable as this might be, you must be vigilant in looking for possible signs of this abuse so that you can ensure your loved one is protected. Common signs of sexual abuse include:
- Bruises on the breast or genital area
- Unexplained bleeding of the vaginal and/or anal area
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Damage the patient’s clothing (i.e. rips, blood stains, etc.)
Emotional Abuse in Nursing Homes
Patients in a nursing home can also become victims of emotional abuse. Emotional abuse can be best described as something that causes pain, anguish, distress; or being verbally insulted or assaulted, ignored or intimidated. Some signs of emotional abuse to look out for include:
- Withdrawal or an unwillingness to communicate
- Unwarranted irritability or visible emotional stress
- Odd and unusual behavior such as bed wetting, thumb sucking, biting or rocking back and forth
- Reports of emotional mistreatment
Financial Abuse in Nursing Homes
Caregivers and nursing home facilities sometimes improperly use a resident’s assets for their own benefit. Examples of financial abuse in a long-term care facility may include the following:
- Stealing their possessions, such as jewelry and other valuables
- Depositing or cashing their checks without permission
- Forcing a vulnerable resident to sign a contract for care or other services
- Pressuring a resident to include them in their estate plan or will
- Forging their signatures on documents or checks
- Abusing a power of attorney or guardianship
Neglect in Nursing Homes
Signs of neglect can be subtle and people may easily brush them off as signs of aging or dementia. For this reason, families should visit their loved ones regularly to assess the quality of their care and condition. You should contact a nursing home abuse lawyer if you see an ongoing pattern of the following:
- Bedrail injuries
- Bedsores and rashes
- Poor personal hygiene or inappropriate attire for the weather
- Dirty bed linens and lack of cleanliness in the resident’s room
- Unexplained weight loss
- Signs of dehydration
- Missing medical equipment, such as canes, walkers, and commodes
- Failure to implement an appropriate safety plan for a resident that is a fall risk
- Worsened dementia
- Poor control of the resident’s chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes
- Consistent complaints of long waits for medication, toileting assistance, or food
When Should I Talk to a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney?
If you believe your loved one is in imminent danger, you should contact law enforcement authorities immediately. The police and prosecutors can help you determine whether criminal conduct occurred and those responsible may face jail time, lose their professional licenses, and other penalties. However, none of these actions will really compensate your family member or loved one for the trauma they endured or help them rebuild. That is an elder abuse attorney’s job.
The sooner you consult with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer, the sooner they can begin their investigation. Over time, valuable evidence may disappear — thus limiting your ability to prove your claim. This is especially true in a nursing home, where staff attrition is common and residents are at the end of their lives (and may suffer from dementia). When we handle a nursing home abuse claim, our team will take the time necessary to understand your circumstances and then quickly build an action plan that aims to protect your loved one.
Request a Consultation With Petro Accident & Injury Attorneys Today
Whether physical, sexual, or emotional, any type of residential care abuse should be stopped immediately. If you suspect any kind of abuse in a care facility, contact a nursing home abuse attorney at Petro immediately for a complimentary, no obligation 30 minute, nursing home abuse and neglect strategy session. A $200 value.