The Reality Of Nursing Home Abuse
Choosing a care facility for loved ones as they age is always a difficult decision. When elders are no longer able to take care of themselves, families must find a solution to make sure they get the attention and medical care they need. For many, the answer is a nursing home. At their best, nursing homes provide their residents with a balance of care and dignity, and treat them with the kindness, compassion and respect they deserve.
Sometimes, unfortunately, nursing home professionals are neglectful and even abusive of residents. In 2000, one survey found that a shocking 44 percent of nursing home residents reported having been neglected or abused. As a family member, it’s extremely painful to find out that a loved one has been neglected or abused in a nursing home. Trust has been violated, and a loved one has been harmed.
The Importance Of Hiring A Good Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Taking legal action for a loved one can help stop the problem. Family members who don’t take action will oftentimes notice that the abuse doesn’t go away. Our nursing injury attorneys specialize in elderly injury/abuse cases. Our lawyers not only care that your elderly loved one receives compensation, but we care to defend and stand up for what is wrong. Nursing homes are extremely profitable businesses, and they’re expensive, and much trust is placed in them. If that trust is broken, let our attorneys help. Nursing homes will hire well experienced legal teams to defend themselves, that’s why it’s crucial you hire our experienced firm. Watch this short story and be sure to call us, we really do have some of the best nursing home attorneys around!
The Many Forms Of Elder Abuse
Elders make up a particularly vulnerable population. Many have physical or mental disabilities, and some feel too isolated to advocate for themselves. Generally, elder abuse is considered to be any intentional action by someone in a relationship of trust with an elder that harms, or creates a serious risk of harm, to that elder. Behaviors that are abusive include (but are not limited to):
- Physical abuse. This includes hitting and beating residents, as well as inappropriate physical restraints, force feeding, and physical punishment of any kind.
- Sexual abuse. Any nonconsensual sexual contact with an elder is unacceptable. Though it seems unthinkable, there have been cases of nursing home attendants molesting residents.
- Emotional, psychological, and verbal abuse. Though often subtle, this common form of abuse is just as harmful as the others. Any intentional infliction of anguish or emotional pain is abusive. This may include verbal assaults, humiliation, threats, isolation, the “silent treatment,” and harassment.
- Financial exploitation. Since residents often have reduced mental capacities, they are vulnerable to manipulation by nursing care professionals, who may cash checks without permission, forge signatures, steal possessions, or coerce residents into financial transactions that are not in residents’ best interests.
- Neglect. This occurs when a nursing home professional doesn’t fulfill his or her obligations to a resident. Nursing home residents have rights to such essentials as shelter, proper nutrition, hydration, safe and sanitary living conditions, and medical treatment. It is neglectful to deprive elders of these necessities.
- Abandonment. This simply means deserting an elder either within the facility itself, or in another location. This is especially dangerous for elders who suffer from Alzheimer’s or other cognitive diseases, who may come to harm, and wander off or become confused or agitated when unsupervised.
Symptoms Of Abuse
First and foremost, it’s important to take an elder’s report of abuse and neglect seriously. If a resident tells you that he or she is being abused at a nursing home, it is crucial that you take action immediately by reporting the abuse to the facility management and authorities. Also watch out for the other less obvious signs of abuse and neglect of your loved one, such as:
- Bruises, open wounds or signs of having been restrained
- Emotional distress
- Acting withdrawn and uncommunicative
- Dehydration or malnutrition, including sudden weight loss
- Untreated health problems, including bedsores
- Poor personal hygiene
- Sudden withdrawals from a loved one’s bank account, or the unexplained transfer of assets
- Sudden changes to a loved one’s will
If you visit your loved one in the nursing care home, watch out for “red-flag” conditions with regard to the facility and its employees:
- Inadequate heating or lack of running water
- Unsanitary or dangerous conditions (soiled bedding, general uncleanliness, fire hazards, etc.)
- The unwillingness of care providers to let you see your loved one privately
If any of these things have happened to anyone you know, call us at (318) 561-2500, our elder abuse attorney will get started on your case.
FAQs About Nursing Home Abuse Legal Cases
- Question: What rights does a resident of a Louisiana nursing home have?
Answer:The Louisiana Nursing Home Bill of Rights outlines 22 legally protected rights. These cover civil liberties, freedom from abuse, dignified living conditions, and other protections.
- Question: If I suspect abuse or neglect in a licensed nursing home in Louisiana, what immediate action can I take?
Answer: You should report instances of abuse or neglect to the Health Standards Section, which investigates facilities that are licensed by the Department of Health and Hospitals.
- Question: Does abuse and neglect in a nursing home ever result in a medical malpractice case?
Answer: Sometimes that is the case. Medical malpractice is more difficult to prove than neglect, although both lead to negative health outcomes. An experienced attorney will determine how best to approach a case of inadequate medical attention in a care facility.
- Question: What kind of damages may be awarded in nursing home abuse cases?
Answer: Damages may be awarded for medical expenses, costs of living associated with resulting disabilities, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and in some cases, punitive damages.
- Question: Why is abuse and neglect so common in nursing homes?
Answer: Often, nursing homes are overly profit-driven. In cutting costs, they may also violate nursing home regulations. Overworked or under-qualified employees can also lead to neglect, as can bad management or malicious individual employees.
The Importance Of Hiring Experienced Attorneys For Nursing Home Abuse Cases
These days, many nursing home facilities are for-profit institutions run by national corporations. Neglect and abuse may occur as the result of putting profit ahead of residents’ needs. These corporations also have access to top litigation teams to defend against claims of abuse. That’s why if you do suspect neglect or abuse, you need an experienced attorney on your side.
At Neblett, Beard and Arsenault, we know how to tackle nursing home abuse and neglect. Many cases ultimately settle out of court, but we treat every case as one that may end in a trial. Whatever the final course of action turns out to be, we work hard to pursue justice on behalf of your loved one. We thoroughly investigate the nursing home abuse or neglect, document exactly what occurred, and determine which parties can be held liable for the abuse or neglect. We work with clients throughout the state of Louisiana. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation at (318) 561-2500.