Elder abuse is a serious issue in American nursing homes. More than 2 million cases of elder abuse occur every year. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines elder abuse as intentional or negligent acts that endanger citizens and violates their trust. Unfortunately, the problem will only get worse since researchers expect the elderly population to grow. South Carolina’s own senior population is expected to double by 2032.
Every year, families increasingly turn to nursing homes to help them care for their elderly relatives. These facilities sell hope to worried families. They may also, however, over-promise that they can give better health care and support for seniors. Sadly, many caretakers abuse elderly people in their care.
A WHO international report claims that many seniors under-report elder abuse. A 2017 study found that 15.7 percent of people aged 60 years and older experienced some form of abuse. It also discovered 64.2 percent of nursing staff admitted to some form of abuse.
Was your relative harmed by nursing home staff? Hire a professional legal team to hold the nursing home responsible. Our Mt. Pleasant nursing home abuse attorneys can handle your case. We fight for elderly clients harmed by negligent nursing homes. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with us today or call (843) 881-8644.
Trust Veteran Mt. Pleasant Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
Families hire nursing homes to care for the needs of their elderly relatives. Unfortunately, many nursing homes fail at their core mission. Almost one in six people experience abuse in nursing home settings. This abuse places senior citizens in danger and can lead to physical and mental injuries.
Nursing homes should pay for any neglect or harm they cause to elderly patients. Hughey Law Firm can help your relatives get justice in court. Here are some nursing home cases we’ve litigated:
- Nursing home neglect ($350,000) – A nursing home allowed our client’s pressure ulcers to fester. The infected sores led to an amputation.
- Hospital and nursing home neglect ($350,000) – Our client had many pressure sores due to a hospital’s neglect. They released our client to a nursing home. There, the pressure sores deteriorated to Stage IV and became infected.
- Nursing home abuse ($275,000) – Our client developed pressure sores while hospitalized. They transferred her to a nursing home where the pressure sores became infected. She died from sepsis.
While past results can’t guarantee a particular outcome in future cases, our track record speaks nonetheless to the results-driven commitment of our associates.
What Is Elder Abuse?
The Westminster Department of Health in London developed the original definition for elder abuse in 1995. The group defines elder abuse as “a single repeated act or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.” The World Health Organization and other groups later adopted their definition.
A National Council on Aging study found mental impairment and social isolation can expose seniors to abuse. They say 10 percent of senior citizens are abused.
How Nursing Homes Harm Vulnerable Patients
Negligent staff members can inflict terrible injuries on elderly residents. Seniors may face several forms of abuse.
- Passive neglect – The healthcare worker doesn’t care for the senior’s needs. They don’t provide basic medical care, food, or supervision.
- Emotional abuse – The caretaker bullies the senior into submission using verbal threats.
- Financial fraud – Almost 13.9 percent of elderly patients reported financial fraud. A staff member may withhold monetary resources from the elderly person.
- Forced captivity – The employee restrains or isolates the senior for non-medical reasons.
- Physical abuse – The nurse inflicts injuries on the elderly person’s body.
- Sexual abuse – Around 1.9 percent of elderly patients report sexual assaults. These abusers force unwanted sexual contact on a patient.
Common Nursing Home Injuries
Nursing home staff can cause patients long-term physical injuries when they don’t care for their needs. Below are seven common injuries older patients can face:
- Accidental Falls;
- Sepsis from open bed sores;
- Wandering off;
- Malnutrition; and
- Medication errors.
Who Is Liable in Nursing Homes Abuse Cases?
Nursing homes will ask patients to sign contracts when they’re admitted. They offer legal protection for the facility, yet the company must adhere to its contractual obligations. These are five areas where a nursing home may negligent in abuse cases.
- Deprivation of necessities – Staff members can deny patients necessities like food, medicine, or shelter. Elderly people who don’t receive care can become more vulnerable to illness and death.
- Verbal and emotional abuse – The caretaker intimidates elderly people with insults.
- Poor hiring and retention – Nursing homes are responsible for the staff members they hire. They must screen all workers to ensure they’re safe to work around patients.
Some nursing homes don’t screen for potentially dangerous workers. They may fail to:
- Speak with the candidate’s references and former employers.
- Check their educational and professional credentials.
- Drug test all new hires.
- Conduct a criminal background check.
- Examine their driving records.
- Poor supervision and medical care – Another way nursing home staff members harm elderly patients is by neglecting them. Many nurses at assisted living facilities must manage too many patients. The nurses cannot take care of all the patient. They focus their care on the sickest patients. The staff can neglect patients with less serious, albeit chronic conditions. These patients may go for days without proper care and their illnesses can worsen due to the neglect.
- Doesn’t maintain the premises – Falls are the number one cause of preventable, injury-related death in the world. Elderly people suffer the most serious injuries in the United States. Facilities can cut down on accidents by making their property safe for residents. They can prevent risks well before they hurt patients.
- Doesn’t follow health and safety codes – All nursing homes must abide by state and federal laws. Nursing homes that don’t follow these guidelines are liable for negligence.
- Criminals hired to care for patients – Elderly patients are vulnerable to nursing home staff that can harm them. Some workers commit sexual or physical abuse against older patients. Additionally, these workers can steal financial assets from patients. The criminal justice system may prosecute guilty defendants.
Damages in Nursing Home Abuse Cases
Families can collect several types of damages when nursing homes neglect patients. They include:
- General damages – This award covers for any physical and psychological harm patients suffer.
- Special damages – This redress award pays for all medical expenses related to the injury.
- Punitive damages – Families may receive punitive damages in cases of extreme patient neglect or abuse.
How Nursing Homes Try to Escape Liability
Nursing homes may try to restructure their businesses, instead of addressing any issues. They use Single Purpose Enterprises (SPE) to shield their businesses from lawsuits. The companies believe it will protect their owners and management entities from lawsuits. Many companies use these schemes to escape personal and financial liability.
You’ll need an experienced legal team in your corner to overcome this protection scheme. Nursing homes may be liable if they:
- Work as a direct supervisor for employees.
- Are aware that their actions can cause injuries.
- Has some control over the daily operations of the nursing home.
- Enact dangerous policies that harm patients.
How Can I Hire a Lawyer for My Case?
You can schedule a free consultation with Hughey Law Firm. We handle cases on a contingency basis: this means we won’t collect attorney’s fees until we win your case through a settlement or judgment. We’ll only collect our fees as a portion of any judgment or settlement you receive.
Hire Experienced Mt. Pleasant Nursing Home Attorneys
Was your loved one victimized by a negligent nursing home worker? Hire a legal team you can depend on. Hughey Law Firm has veteran Mt. Pleasant nursing home abuse attorneys that can advocate on your behalf. Contact us to schedule a free case evaluation, or call (843) 881-8644.