Nursing homes exist to care for the most vulnerable among us. In many instances, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are completely dependent upon facility staff for all of their basic needs, including food, hygiene, and healthcare. In addition, nursing home residents are often unable or unwilling to report mistreatment to authorities, making them extremely vulnerable to mistreatment at the hands of the very people supposed to be providing care.
The terms “nursing home abuse” and “nursing home neglect” are often used interchangeably, but actually, refer to different types of conduct. Abuse takes place when a person engages in conduct that intends to cause harm. On the other hand, neglect occurs when a person fails to provide the level of care that is expected in a given situation. Abuse and neglect that can take place in a nursing home setting include:
Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing Home Negligence
- Failing to provide medications
- Failing to provide adequate food or water
- Failing to provide routine medical care
- Failing to keep a resident’s room in a sanitary condition
- Failing to regularly check in on a resident
- Failing to respond to a medical emergency
- Failing to provide sufficient opportunities for socialization or activity
Fortunately for victims, in most cases, both nursing home abuse and neglect will entitle them to compensation for the injuries and other losses they suffered. With a loved one in a nursing home, stay on the lookout for any signs or symptoms of neglect or abuse, including bedsores, unexplained injuries, weight loss, infections, unsanitary living conditions, injuries, restraint marks on arms or legs, depression, anxiety, emotional withdrawal, and fearful behavior.
If you notice any of these signs or anything else that seems out of the ordinary, report the matter to the nursing home’s administrator right away and contact an attorney. If you believe that your loved one is in immediate danger of physical harm, remove her from the premises and call the police immediately.
It’s Often up to You
As mentioned briefly above, many instances of nursing home abuse go unreported. This may happen for numerous reasons, including:
- Some nursing home residents do not have the cognitive ability to recall that neglect or abuse specifically took place or remember how they were injured. They also may not recognize that they are not receiving the food, water, hygiene assistance, or medication they require.
- Nursing home staff can try to convince residents that they got a meal, got their medicine, and that they simply do not remember to cover up any mistreatment.
- Older patients may not want to “bother” their family members with any problems.
- An abusive staff member may threaten additional harm if a victim reports anything. Residents can feel helpless in this situation since they depend on staff members for their care.
- Staff members may claim any wounds are from falls or other accidents that they could not avoid to write away any concerns of family or friends.
- In some egregious cases, staff may falsify medical records and diagnoses to prevent liability for neglect or abuse.
When it comes to nursing home neglect and abuse, staff members can go to great lengths to cover up any incidence of injuries. While at times it is normal for elderly residents to lose their balance and fall, suffering injuries, you should feel suspicious if your loved one constantly sports injuries in various stages of healing. This could be a sign of physical mistreatment.
Even if a nursing home keeps telling you that your loved one is repeatedly falling, this could indicate a sign of neglect. If residents have trouble moving around on their own without falling and suffering injuries, a nursing home should provide the proper assistance for your loved one to prevent such injuries.
Because residents—or other staff members—will often fail to report neglect or abuse in nursing homes, it is often up to visiting loved ones to notice any signs that something is wrong. Furthermore, if you do have concerns, do not feel afraid to raise them. It may seem like an uncomfortable situation, but without raising concerns, you may leave your loved one exposed to physical and emotional injuries.
An Attorney Can Help
Nursing home abuse and neglect cause injuries more often than you may think. At the Hughey Law Firm, we have seen firsthand the types of injury that can take place in these facilities. We understand how to take action and how to uphold your loved one’s rights.
The first goal is to ensure your loved one is safe from harm if they are not already. Then, we will evaluate the injuries and losses as a result of the neglect or abuse, which can include:
- Medical expenses
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental distress
We can help you take appropriate legal action to hold the nursing home accountable for all of those losses.
How Much Will Legal Representation Cost?
Due to the high cost of nursing home care and because residents are typically unable to earn incomes, many victims of nursing home abuse or neglect worry about the costs associated with retaining an attorney. At the Hughey Law Firm, we take all of our nursing home injury cases on a contingent fee basis, which means that you pay no up-front costs for retaining an attorney. We will only receive payment if we recover compensation on your behalf.
Call the Hughey Law Firm Today to Speak with a Charleston, South Carolina, Nursing Home Injury Attorney
Nursing homes have a duty to keep their patients safe, and when they fail to do so, victims can often recover compensation. At the Hughey Law Firm, we regularly represent people whom nursing home abuse or neglect have injured—and we do everything we can to recover the maximum amount of compensation available under the law. To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our lawyers, call our office today at (843) 881-8644 or send us an email through our online contact form.