Don’t Be A Victim Of Nursing Home Abuse
As we get older, we tend to need more attention from our loved ones, whether it is to give us a helping hand around the house or to assist with medical needs. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible for all families to be around their elderly loved ones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and so they turn to what they believe are qualified nursing care professionals to provide round-the-clock medical assistance. They think they are entrusting the care of their elderly loved ones to trained, experienced and caring professionals at nursing homes or assisted living facilities, but sometimes, what happens behind the closed doors of a nursing home is far from the gentle care we expect.
Nursing home abuse is prevalent in every state in the United States, and sadly, not all families become aware of it. There are nearly 2 million Americans who are living in care facilities, but out of all the care centers that are operating at this very moment, it is estimated that roughly 30% are engaging in some form of abuse or negligent treatment of residents. Whether the care provider fails to provide the elderly resident with their proper medicine, covers up an accident, is verbally abusive, or is physically mistreating the resident themselves, nursing home abuse is considered a form of personal injury, and anyone who has been victimized is entitled to seek legal help.
But what about patients who can’t speak for themselves or defend themselves against the abusers? When the unthinkable occurs, what can we do to help our loved ones and seek justice for the pain and suffering they have endured?
If you suspect your elderly loved one has been verbally, mentally or physically hurt by a nursing care specialist, it’s time to find an experienced nursing home abuse attorney to assist you in protecting you and your loved ones’ rights and ensuring those who are responsible for the mistreatment are held liable for their actions.
USAttorneys.com is committed to helping you retain top nursing home abuse attorneys in your area that you can trust will provide you with the expert legal counsel you deserve. It can be difficult to find the ideal legal representative who will meet your needs, and with the stress and pain you are already dealing with from the nursing facility incidents, you may not have the time to browse through endless lawyers who claim to be the best. That’s where we come in to make things easier for you.
Our site features links to only the most reputable and trusted nursing home abuse lawyers who will represent your case with passion and integrity. Nursing home abuse and neglect involves the failure of a caretaker or medical professional to provide reasonable care. If you know of or suspect the following incidents have occurred, turn to one of our featured lawyers right away for assistance:
- Verbal abuse
- Physical abuse
- Medication errors
- Maintaining an unsafe environment
- Failure to provide adequate nutrition
- Failure to offer medical attention
- Failure to assist with bathing/bathroom necessities
- Failure to offer proper shelter
- Wrongful death
Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
If you have not witnessed neglect or abuse for yourself but suspect your elderly loved one may be suffering, there are some warning signs you can watch for that may indicate abusive treatment. Turn to one of our nursing home abuse lawyers if you notice any of the following signs of possible negligence or wrongdoing:
- Unsanitary conditions at the nursing facility
- Unusual or sudden changes in the behavior of your loved one (agitation, rocking, tremors, anxiety attacks)
- Resident is fearful of staff
- Resident is hesitant to speak in front of staff
- Unexplained injuries, wounds or bruises
- Infections or frequent illness
- Malnutrition (rapid weight loss or gain)
- Bed sores or ulcers
- Unexplained or unexpected death
Don’t hesitate for a moment to solicit help from a nursing home attorney if you suspect staff at the facility of mistreating your elderly loved one. Contact one of our featured lawyers today to schedule a consultation and protect your loved one from harm.
Nursing Home Abuse: When Should You Contact an Attorney?
At USA Attorneys, we make it our mission to represent the victims of nursing home abuse with integrity and passion. If you or someone you love has suffered a personal injury because of nursing home abuse or neglect, we understand how devastating this can be for you. When you contact us, we’ll put you in touch with skilled, experienced nursing home abuse lawyers who are local to your area.
Our knowledgeable and caring Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers will work hard to get you and your loved one the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering. We’ve recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our valued clients, and our work deters other nursing homes from committing negligent acts against some of the most vulnerable members of our society.
Have you or a loved one been injured because of neglect or cruelty in a skilled nursing facility? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today for your free consultation. Our experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers will handle your nursing home abuse case with tenacity and the utmost of care, and get you your just compensation.
What is nursing home abuse?
Mistreatment and abuse of the elderly are defined as committing an intentional action that resulted in the risk of harm or actual harm of a senior. Mistreatment is characterized by acts of commision, where the abuse was intentional, or acts of omission, which would be negligence. Negligence is when a party fails to take reasonable, legal, or otherwise adequate measures to ensure another person’s safety. The people at highest risk of suffering nursing home abuse are:
- People older than 80
Nursing home abuse cases can be made if a resident is harmed:
And claims can be made against responsible parties if the parties were negligent under the reasonable definition of the law.
How common is skilled nursing home abuse?
Our society is aging. In 2000, an estimated 13 million people were living in long-term care facilities. By 2050, that number is expected to grow to 27 million. Thousands of people every day in this country make the difficult decision to have their loved one placed in a long-term care facility. This is never an easy decision to make, but it should be the right one. When you entrust skilled nursing professionals to care for your loved one, you should have the assurance that they will be cared for and treated with respect.
In most cases, this is true. The majority of nurses and aides treat their patients well and follow the laws and regulations in place to prevent negligence and abuse. But unfortunately, mistakes and downright cruelty sometimes occur in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
In 2003, there were more than 20,000 complaints of exploitation, abuse, and neglect filed against nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
The most common types of complaints are for physical abuse.
- More recent studies indicate that between 7 and 10 percent of the elderly have suffered from at least one episode of abuse within the past year. 10% of these studied cases were unrelated to financial abuse.
- A study conducted on 2,000 nursing home residents indicated an abuse rate of 44% and a neglect rate of 95%.
Tragically, our most vulnerable members of society, the elderly and the disabled, don’t have many people to look out for them and advocate on their behalf. Here at USAttorneys, our team of dedicated Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers care about every single case of abuse and exploitation that land on their desks. When you contact us, you can rest assured that we will look closely at your situation and get you and your loved one the justice you deserve.
Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and elder exploitation cases are expected to rise in the coming decades with the increase in the elderly population and lack of funding for adequate care facilities.
- The 2010 census indicated that 13% of the population was 65 years of age or older. That was the largest proportion of people in that age group since the census was taken.
- In 2010, there were about 5.8 million people older than 85. By 2050, that number will increase to 19 million.
- By 2050, 20% of the population will be 65 years old or older, with the fastest growing age segment of the population older than 85.
People who are very old, in the 85+ age range, are the most in need of long-term care. By 2040, care for these seniors will cost around $346 billion annually. This segment of the population is incredibly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Studies indicate that people in this age group are the most likely to be victims of abuse in a long-term care facility.
What causes nursing home and elder abuse?
Every day, our nursing home abuse attorneys see hundreds of cases of nursing home abuse and neglect. We’ve been able to prove negligence and have had nursing homes held accountable for damages and pain and suffering.
Laws will vary by state. Some states will allow us to seek punitive damages, which are used to deter the defendant and other nursing homes from engaging in similar negligent and abusive conduct. When you contact us at USAttorneys, we’ll be able to give you a rundown of what types of damages can be awarded in your state.
While the vast majority of people who work in nursing homes aren’t abusive by nature, the biggest causes of nursing home neglect and abuse are directly related to inadequate funding and staffing needs. With the increase in elderly population, staffing and revenue needs for skilled care facilities will only become more strained. It’s imperative that you look out for your loved one if they are living in a care facility. It’s unfortunate but necessary. The most common causes of nursing home abuse and negligence are as follows:
Recent survey results from the CDC indicate that the average staff-to-resident ratio in a nursing home is one nurse or aide for every 1.64 residents. The fact of the matter is that if nursing homes don’t have enough staff to look after the residents, some residents’ needs will slip through the cracks. This is one of the most common causes of negligence. It’s not a matter of malicious intent, but it’s because the nursing home failed to staff the facility adequately. There just aren’t enough skilled people on the clock to look after the residents.
When the facility is lacking an adequate number of staff members, the staff members who are on duty have extra work. These members can quickly become stressed and forgetful. Studies show that stressed caregivers lose their morale and their compassion for the residents.
At USAttorneys, we’ve won numerous cases for our clients where the nursing home failed to adequately staff the facility, and a resident was injured as a result.
- Poor Hiring Choices
A long-term care facility is obligated to their residents and their family members to hire nurses and aides who are adequately qualified and have the correct degrees and certifications for the position in which they are employed. Staff members must also be free of abuse convictions or violent criminal convictions on their record.
Sometimes, nursing homes will fail to conduct the proper background checks on new hires. When this happens, not only are they liable for neglect, they’re also putting the residents at risk of abuse. When we get cases like this, we hold the nursing home responsible for cases of neglect and violence because of a poor hiring decision.
- Inadequate Training
Working in a nursing home or care facility is serious work that requires specialized knowledge that nurses and aides obtain from academic degrees and certifications. Staff also need to be adequately trained for working in the nursing facility. Classroom theory is crucial, but the team needs to be educated on how to lawfully and safely put it into practice.
Nurses and aides need to be equipped with the right tools and knowledge for handling disabled or disobedient residents. These are delicate situations, and staff who manage these residents with special needs are subject to specific laws and regulations so that everyone is safe when a situation arises. Sometimes, the nursing facility will fail to train staff adequately. Unfortunately, residents can be injured as a result of weak or nonexistent training.
- Third-party Responsibility Claims
Nursing homes are legally required to provide a safe environment for residents. Sometimes, residents can be injured because of a third party. If Resident A injures Resident B, or a guest injures a resident, the nursing home could be held liable. If your case involves an injury related to a third-party’s negligence or abuse, we can help. Chances are, the nursing home facility failed to provide reasonable security to prevent your loved one from being injured because of a third-party’s actions.
- Breach of Statutory or Regulatory Rights
There are numerous statutory laws and federal regulations on the books regarding a nursing home resident’s fundamental rights to autonomy, dignity, and privacy. Our attorneys are well-versed in these laws. If a nursing home employee violated any of these laws, we’ll find out and get you the compensation you and your loved one deserve.
- Medication Errors
Because of inadequate staffing and inadequate employee training, sometimes nursing staff will forget to give residents their medication or give them the incorrect dose. This can be deadly, and it’s unfortunately, common. If your loved one has been injured because of a prescription drug error, we’ll find the liable party.
What are the warning signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse?
If you’ve had to make the difficult decision to place your loved one in a nursing home, you have every right to expect reasonable and safe care for them. But you will need to keep a look-out for signs of abuse or neglect to keep your elderly family member or friend safe.
- Insufficient staff
- Evidence of being given too much or too little of a medication
- Duplicate bills
- The resident is not being bathed, and their clothes and bed linens aren’t being cleaned
- Presence of bed sores
- The resident isn’t suitably dressed for weather conditions
- Unexplained weight loss or dehydration
- Resident appears withdrawn, sullen, scared, or starts displaying severe signs of dementia. These symptoms can indicate sexual or emotional abuse.
- Unexplained bruises, cuts, injuries, or torn clothing
- You witness a staff member belittle or otherwise verbally abuse your loved one
- Broken eyeglasses
- General tension. If your loved one is displaying tension around the nursing home staff, or they’re otherwise acting more anxious or afraid than usual, they might be a victim of abuse or neglect.
What are the first steps to take if you suspect nursing home abuse?
If you’ve witnessed neglect or your family members is exhibiting signs of abuse, you need the help of an experienced nursing home abuse attorney. It can be challenging to find someone who is qualified to help you with this issue. Furthermore, laws and nursing care facility regulations can vary by state and locality. You need the expertise of someone who is familiar with the laws in your state. That’s where we come in.
When you contact USAttorneys, we’ll match you with a qualified nursing home abuse lawyer who is well-versed in elder care laws in your state. It’s crucial that you’re able to speak to a caring professional who has the right knowledge for your specific case. All of our attorneys are thoroughly vetted, and we only match clients with the most knowledgeable nursing home abuse attorneys in their state.
We know how painful it is for you to witness the abuse and neglect of an elderly loved one. All of our initial consultations are free, with no upfront cost to you. When you contact us, a qualified attorney will be able to answer all of your questions and help you pursue a case against nursing home neglect. Don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our attorneys today and get justice for your vulnerable loved one.