There is no excuse for any type of abuse in any long-term care facility. Anyone who engages in such behavior – as well as an employer that allows it – should be held fully accountable under the law. While a prosecutor can criminally charge someone with assault or the government can penalize a dangerous nursing home, this does little to compensate the victims who suffer serious physical and mental injuries due to abuse. Instead, the law gives victims the right to bring their own legal action in civil court to seek redress.
At the Hughey Law Firm, we have seen how seriously nursing home abuse can harm victims and their families in and around South Carolina. We stand up for victims of abuse, neglect, and other nursing home-related injuries, and we can advise you about your rights. If you would like to discuss a possible case, please call our office today for more information.
To recognize abuse, know the common indicators. Oftentimes, these injuries are not visible. Emotional abuse and absent or delayed care are extremely common ways in which nursing home staff abuse their elderly patients.
Nursing home abuse can manifest in both physical and emotional distress. Elder abuse at a nursing home can range from negligence and lack of attention to physical violence. Common signs to watch for include:
• Sudden changes in behavior—signs of depression, emotional withdrawal, fear of contact;
• Bruises, sores, or lacerations in areas that are typically hidden by clothing;
• Dehydration and exhaustion; and Rapid weight loss and signs of malnutrition or weight sudden gain.
If you notice any of these symptoms or are generally uneasy with the level of care you witness at the nursing home, first ask the at-risk person for feedback. Are they satisfied with the level of care they are receiving? Are they concerned about how the staff is treating them?
Ask specific questions that require detailed answers. If you aren’t confident in the explanation you receive, or if they are unable to provide an answer, take further steps.
If you have reason to believe that a nursing home is abusing or neglecting the people in its care, seek help and report your findings.
The National Council for Elder Abuse provides suggestions for dealing with abuse in a nursing home. At some point, you will want to report this abuse to the managers of the nursing home facility. Explain exactly why you are concerned and ask for help resolving the issue. Based on their response, you can decide what steps to take next.
Speak with an experienced attorney to sort through your options. An attorney might recommend that you gather evidence of suspected abuse. You can take pictures of any injuries, keep a record of notes every time you visit, and ask for an outside medical opinion. A doctor or social worker who recognizes signs of nursing home abuse has a duty to report it.
If you have reason to believe that elder abuse is occurring at an assisted living facility, you might need to file a claim against the nursing home. You have several options for doing so, and when filing a claim, you’ll want to start out by working with a nursing home abuse attorney whom you trust.
Two of the most common types of nursing home abuse claims are for negligence or wrongful death.
You have the right to file a claim against a nursing home facility if you believe it is guilty of neglect, abuse, or a wrongful death. To secure your best chance of seeking damages in a nursing home abuse suit, gather evidence. Then, hire an experienced attorney who can provide legal advice and direction, identify the most effective way to initiate these types of cases, and undertake the challenge of proving wrongdoing.