How to Recognize Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing homes are meant to be a place of comfort and care for our loved ones who require assistance with daily activities. However, instances of nursing home abuse have been on the rise, making it crucial for us to be vigilant and recognize the signs of abuse.

Suppose you suspect that your loved one may be experiencing abuse in a nursing home. In that case, seeking legal assistance from a trusted Florence nursing home abuse attorney is essential.

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Why Recognizing Signs of Nursing Home Abuse is Vital

How to Recognize Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

When our loved ones enter a nursing home, they deserve to receive proper care and respect. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is a devastating reality that can significantly impact the physical and emotional well-being of those in care. Recognizing the signs of abuse is vital for the following reasons:

  1. Ensuring Your Loved One’s Safety: By identifying signs of abuse, you can immediately remove your loved one from a dangerous environment and ensure their safety.
  2. Holding the Responsible Parties Accountable: Recognizing abuse enables you to pursue legal action against those responsible for the mistreatment of your loved one, seeking justice and preventing further harm to others.
  3. Protecting the Rights of the Elderly: Recognizing and reporting nursing home abuse contributes to the overall protection and importance of the rights of the elderly, promoting a safer and more compassionate environment for all nursing home residents.

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Defined

The federal law addressing the rights of nursing home patients plainly expresses that a nursing home resident “has the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse, corporal punishment, and involuntary seclusion.” Furthermore, it defines the following terms:

  • Abuse: The intentional infliction of the deprivation of care, injury, intimidation, punishment, or unreasonable confinement that results in bodily harm, pain, or emotional anguish.
  • Neglect: The failure to provide patients or residents with the necessary care and services to keep them free of pain or harm. It doesn’t matter if the failure is intentional or not. It can also be a failure to react to circumstances that cause physical or emotional damage to the person.

How Do I Know if Abuse or Neglect is Taking Place in a Nursing Home?

Typically, there are many warning signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. Trust your instincts always. Don’t hesitate to act if something seems off with your family member. If you learn that they’re suddenly ill or have a serious, unexplained medical issue, ensure they get medical care immediately. Then, reach out to a trusted nursing home abuse attorney– they will help you every step of the way. Your attorney can evaluate your potential legal case at no cost and explain all the legal options available during this difficult time.

The warning signs of nursing home abuse and neglect include:

  • Unexplained injuries: This is one of the most common signs of nursing home abuse nationwide. A broken arm, fractured hip, or another severe injury might result from nursing home employee abuse or a failure to supervise your family member. We can investigate what happened and help you hold the nursing home and its staff members accountable for their actions.
  • Sudden weight loss: This can be a sign that the nursing home is not feeding a resident enough or due to some problem at the nursing home. Sudden weight loss might be related to diarrhea, an infection, or other medical issues that need attention.
  • Unexplained bruises: Abusive nursing home employees often bruise residents’ arms, bodies, and faces. Such unexplained bruises can also be from a violent, fellow nursing home resident. In either case, nursing homes should be held responsible for their actions. Nursing homes are obligated to carefully select whom they hire to work for them. In addition, they need to properly screen residents to make sure they don’t permit someone dangerous or violent to reside there.
  • Sudden mood changes: Unexplained mood changes in your loved one could be another warning sign to heed. They might seem more withdrawn, get angry more easily, cry more often, appear depressed, or talk noticeably less than usual. Any of these sudden mood changes mean they are being abused or neglected in their nursing home. Speak to your loved one about what might be going on, and then talk to us to learn more about your legal rights.
  • Unexplained infections: Unsanitary conditions in a nursing home can often result in infections of many types, such as viral illness, skin infections, and urinary tract infections. Unfortunately, the conditions that can cause an infection are often present due to neglect and understaffing. It should go without saying that nursing homes need to be cleaned regularly, including changing the bedding and ensuring that residents receive regular baths, assistance with grooming and personal hygiene and that they’re wearing clean clothes. If not, they can develop severe and deadly infections.
  • Change in finances: Nursing home neglect and abuse don’t stop with physical or emotional mistreatment. It can also include financial abuse. Suppose you start to notice unexplained bills, missing checks, double billing, or bills for services that weren’t rendered. In that case, the nursing home might be exploiting vulnerable residents. They aren’t as aware of their finances and financial situation as others outside the nursing home. Act fast if you notice any unusual financial transactions or sudden changes in your loved one’s economic circumstances. First, contact your local law enforcement agency, and then contact us. We will help you stand up for your loved one’s financial rights and well-being.
  • Restricted visits: Nursing home residents who are suffering from abuse and neglect may suddenly have their visitors restricted. Staff may attempt to avert you from picking up on any of these signs you might notice if you are physically present. As such, they might try to prevent you from visiting the nursing facility. Unexpectedly, visiting hours at the facility might be diminished or canceled altogether. If the nursing home refuses to permit you to visit your loved one, contact our law firm. We can get to the bottom of what is going on and help you with your next steps.

Other signs of abuse and neglect that nursing home residents might show include:

  • Bedsores or pressure ulcers
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Falls
  • Head injuries
  • Instances of wandering or elopement
  • Not wanting to engage verbally with family members or friends when nursing home staff members are around
  • Unexplained injuries in various stages of healing, such as bruises, skin tears, or broken bones
  • The unexplained or unexpected death of the resident
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Obviously, unsanitary and unclean conditions in the resident’s room or throughout the entire facility
  • Unusual or sudden changes in behavior, such as biting, fear of being touched, rocking, sucking

Don’t overlook these signs, no matter how minor they might seem. Taking note of any changes and acting accordingly can save your loved one’s life or even the life of another vulnerable resident who cannot speak for themselves under the circumstances.

Should You Call the Police if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?

Should You Call the Police if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

Yes, never hesitate to contact the authorities anytime you think abuse or neglect might be taking place. Even if you’re not confident that a crime has been committed, it’s always better to be on the safe side. Suppose a crime has taken place at the nursing home. In that case, the law enforcement officers need to initiate their investigation as soon as possible. The sooner you call, the sooner they can begin. Any delay might lead to the nursing home accidentally or intentionally destroying evidence. Without evidence, it’s challenging to create a solid legal case against the nursing home for abuse.

What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

If you suspect that your loved one is experiencing nursing home abuse, always take immediate action. Here are the steps you should follow:

  • Document the signs of abuse: Keep a detailed record of any signs or incidents of abuse, including dates, times, and descriptions of what you have observed.
  • Report your concerns: Contact the nursing home administration and report your concerns regarding the suspected abuse. Request a written copy of the incident report.
  • Seek medical attention: If your loved one has suffered physical harm, ensure they receive appropriate medical care and document all injuries.
  • Consult a well-versed nursing home abuse attorney.

How Long Do You Have to Pursue a Claim for Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?

The deadline for filing a legal complaint against an abusive or neglectful nursing home can vary depending on the state. Known simply as the statute of limitations, the deadline might seem like a long time. Still, the longer you wait to report suspicious circumstances, the more difficult it will be to find valuable evidence in your case.

What’s also very concerning is that if you decide to wait to report it or pursue legal action, the abuse or neglect will likely continue – putting your loved one and other nursing home residents at risk. Don’t let this happen. Report the abuse to the state and the proper authorities. Then, take control of your loved one’s situation by calling an experienced nursing home abuse attorney. You can count on an attorney to advocate for their rights and safety.

The Nursing Home Offered Me a Settlement for My Abuse/Neglect Claim. Should I Accept It?

The Nursing Home Offered Me a Settlement for My Abuse Neglect Claim

If you’re like most people, you want to get your claim settled as soon as possible and move on with your life. However, most people don’t know that insurance companies use this to their advantage. By offering a low settlement early on, they can tempt you into accepting an unfair and unrealistic offer.

Your offer likely doesn’t come close to covering all the related injury expenses. Medical bills always add up quickly. Your family member may even need more medical care in the future stemming from their physical injuries. You won’t be able to ask for more money down the road once you accept a settlement offer. Always carefully consider such an offer and discuss it with an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney before accepting it.

What is a Civil Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Case Worth?

Unfortunately, there is no blanket answer to this question. Every case is unique to the victims involved in it. However, when you schedule a consultation with a seasoned nursing home abuse attorney, they can review the facts of your case to help estimate what your case might be worth. The value of your claim can depend upon:

  • The extent of the abuse and neglect
  • The type and severity of the injuries and damages suffered
  • If your relative was the only victim
  • The types and limits of the applicable insurance policies
  • The evidence available to prove the claim
  • The liability of the nursing home employees and the nursing home itself

Rest assured, your lawyer will do all possible to maximize your compensation.

How a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Can Help

A nursing home abuse attorney plays a crucial role in advocating for the rights and well-being of elderly individuals who have experienced abuse or neglect in a nursing home. Here are several ways in which a nursing home abuse attorney can help:

  • Navigating Laws and Regulations: Nursing home abuse attorneys possess in-depth knowledge of the laws and regulations governing nursing homes. They can interpret complex legal frameworks to determine if the rights of the elderly have been violated.
  • Proving Negligence: Nursing home abuse cases often involve proving negligence. Attorneys work to establish that the nursing home failed to provide an acceptable standard of care, leading to the harm suffered by the resident.
  • Communication and Negotiation: Attorneys communicate with the nursing home’s legal team, insurance companies, and other involved parties. They negotiate on behalf of the victim to seek a fair settlement that covers damages and addresses the consequences of the abuse.
  • Developing a Strategic Plan: A skilled nursing home abuse attorney develops a legal strategy tailored to the case’s specifics. This involves analyzing the facts, assessing the likelihood of success, and advising clients on the best action.
  • Trial Representation: If a settlement cannot be reached, the attorney is prepared to take the case to trial. They will advocate for the victim in court, presenting evidence and arguments persuasively to seek a favorable verdict.
  • Protecting Client Rights: Attorneys safeguard the rights of their clients throughout the legal process. They work to ensure that victims are not taken advantage of by the opposing party and that their best interests are prioritized.
  • Knowledge of Elder Abuse Dynamics: Nursing home abuse attorneys specialize in cases related to elder abuse, allowing them to comprehend the unique dynamics involved and tailor their approach to the specific challenges of these cases.

By leveraging legal experience and skills, conducting thorough investigations, and advocating for their clients, nursing home abuse attorneys play a pivotal role in seeking justice for victims and holding negligent parties accountable. Contact a personal injury lawyer today for help.