The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or other long term care option is a difficult one. If you’ve decided to place a loved in the care of someone else and then learn that they were neglected or abused, feelings of anger, frustration, and guilt are real and understandable.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of nursing home abuse and signs to be aware of to stop neglect and abuse before it gets worse.
Nursing Homes Have a Duty to Provide Quality Care
When you place someone you love in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or another type of long term care, the facility undertakes a duty to provide a minimum standard of care. Unfortunately, many nursing homes fail to provide that care and instead allow abuse or neglect to be perpetrated against the elderly and infirm - some of the most vulnerable members of our society.
But not all abuse is obvious. In fact, some forms of nursing home abuse or neglect are subtle, meaning that nursing home abuse or neglect can go unnoticed for long periods of time without intervention.
While staff members and facility directors should be on the lookout for abuse or neglect of nursing home residents, family members can and should take an active role in observing and preventing nursing home abuse or neglect by remaining vigilant and asking questions if they notice concerning signs.
Signs of Abuse or Neglect in a Nursing Home
Nursing home neglect or abuse is committed against older adults who have been placed in the care of a nursing home, assisted living facility, or another long-term care option. When the facility accepts your loved one into their care, they agree to provide a minimum standard of service and, of course, to avoid mistreating their residents through abuse or neglect.
Abuse or neglect in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or another long-term care provider can come in many forms, including:
Failure to care for existing medical problems
Unreasonable use of physical or chemical restraints
Deprivation of food or water
To prevent these forms of abuse and neglect, there are common signs you should be on the lookout for, including:
Falls, fractures, or head injuries
Instances of wandering off or elopement
Rapid, unexplained weight loss
Bedsores (pressure ulcers)
A change in behavior while in the presence of certain staff members
Unexplained injuries such as bruises, cuts, or welts
Injuries caused by another resident
Causes of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
While nursing home abuse or neglect is inexcusable, there are certain conditions that make nursing home abuse more likely. Typically, nursing home abuse or neglect is the result of unqualified or improperly trained staff and staffing shortages. When staff is not properly trained or overworked they are more likely to become frustrated and stressed which can cause them to abuse or neglect residents. Over time, this chronic neglect or abuse can lead to more serious physical and emotional issues for nursing home residents.
What To Do If Your Loved One Has Suffered Abuse or Neglect in a Nursing Home
The right to be a safe and clean living environment
The right to be free from physical, verbal, mental, and emotional abuse and to be treated with courtesy and respect
The right to appropriate medical treatment
The right to have bedsheets and clothes changed as needed
The right o participate in decisions that affect their lives, including the right to communicate with their physician and employees in the facility
The right to privacy
The right to be free from physical and chemical restraints or prolonged isolation
The key to preventing nursing home abuse and neglect is understanding the many forms it can take, and recognizing its signs and causes. If you suspect that your loved one might be suffering from abuse or neglect at a nursing home or other long term care facility, it is critical that you speak up. By bringing your concerns to the attention of the nursing home management you will make a record. Facility management should step in and take steps to address and correct the problem. But sometimes that’s not enough, and it may be necessary to get a nursing home neglect and abuse lawyer involved.
Robenalt Law - Fighting for Victims of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect for More Than 25 Years
If you believe that your loved one has suffered from abuse or neglect in a nursing home, contact an experienced Ohio nursing home negligence attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can advise you about your rights and help you take steps to protect your loved one from further abuse.
If your loved one was injured, the nursing home may be responsible for paying for:
Past and future medical bills associated with treating the injuries
Surgeries, pain medication, and other on-going medical needs
Behavioral and other mental health therapy
Pain and suffering
Costs associated with wrongful death
Of course, no amount of money will adequately make for the injuries your loved one suffered. But compensation can help pay for the costs of unexpected medical and psychological treatment and damage to family relationships.
Tom Robenalt started his litigation career representing nursing homes at a large firm in Cleveland. For the past 25 years, he has used that experience to help victims and the families of those injured by negligent health care providers.
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