As Americans live longer, more and more people are requiring long-term care living facilities at the end of life. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Long-Term Care Services, here are the statistics for how many elderly persons require care by others:
- People who receive long-term care from all sources: 8,357,100
- People who receive long-term care from home health agencies: 4,742,500
- People who receive long-term care in a nursing home: 2,000,000
- People who receive hospice care: 1,244,500
- People who live in a residential care community: 713,000
- People who use adult day care service centers: 273,200
It is a sad reality that, as more elderly adults rely on the care provided by others, more and more adults are suffering abuse and neglect in the facilities that are obligated to care for them.
If you suspect that you or your loved one is suffering from abuse or neglect at a nursing home or other care facility, contact our nursing home abuse lawyers immediately. We have attorneys who are ready to respond and intervene to protect you or your loved one from continued abuse or neglect.
What Is Considered Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
Federal and state law guarantees residents of long-term care facilities certain rights. These include:
- The right to be informed of rules and regulations
- The right to participate in their care and be informed of their medical condition and treatment options
- The right to choose their own physician
- The right to manage their own financial affairs
- The right not to be abused, exploited, or neglected
- The right not to be subject to physical or chemical restraints for the convenience of the nursing home
- The right to confidentiality and privacy
- The right to retain and use their possessions
- The right to participate in social and religious activities
Each state regulates its long-term care facilities and inspects its facilities to ensure the minimum standard of care that is required by law. If any of the residents’ rights are violated, the facility or individual care-provider may be subject to civil or criminal penalties.
Abuse or neglect at a nursing home can take many forms. It is important that you know what to look for if you suspect that the staff of your facility is being abusive or neglectful to you or your loved one.
How to identify nursing home abuse
There are different signs you can look for to determine if a loved one in a nursing home or long-term care facility is being intentionally abused. For example:
- Sudden or unexpected death
- Physical signs of abuse (bruising, bleeding, swelling, scratches)
- Resident claims abuse or expresses fear of particular staff members
- Resident claims they are being threatened
- Resident appears over-medicated or sedated (investigation of Missouri nursing homes revealed that 26% of nursing homes dispensed unnecessary drugs to sedate residents)
- Resident is missing personal items
How to identify nursing home neglect
Signs of neglect of a nursing home resident may include:
- Evidence of under staffing
- Evidence of bedsores (bedsores result from an immobile resident being left in a bed or wheelchair for extended periods of time without being repositioned)
- Resident is dirty, malodorous, or is left in soiled clothes or bed linens
- Resident is malnourished
- Resident is left unattended for an extended period of time
What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
If you suspect that a loved one is being intentionally abused or neglected, you should contact local law enforcement, who will investigate and pursue any possible crimes perpetrated against your loved one.
In addition, if you suspect abuse or neglect, you should call a nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer, like those at Foster Wallace. We will intervene and ensure that your loved one is removed from any abusive situation and receives the appropriate care that they need and have a right to receive.
What Damages Can You Recover?
At Foster Wallace, we will ensure that you are able to recover damages that you or a loved one may have suffered as a result of abuse or neglect at a nursing home. To do this, you must file a civil lawsuit. If intentional abuse has occurred, you may recover restitution if the abuser is convicted of a crime. However, for damages resulting from neglect or abuse, you can file a claim for damages in civil court.
Here are the types of damages that you can recover:
- Medical expenses.If a nursing home staff member abuses or neglects a resident such that medical treatment is necessary, you may be compensated for the cost of that treatment. For example, if a resident develops bedsores from being left unattended and the bedsores develop into more significant injuries or illnesses that require treatment, medication, or surgery, you may be compensated for the cost of these. If your loved one was struck or physically mistreated and suffers an injury that requires treatment, this expense will be compensated. This could include the cost of:
- Doctors' visits
- Physical therapy
- Transportation to treatment or doctors’ offices
- Counseling or therapy
- Noneconomic damages.If any abuse or neglect negatively impacts your loved one’s quality of life, they may be able to recover for their pain and suffering or mental or emotional distress that results.
- Punitive damages.A court may award punitive damages if the nursing home or staff member deliberately or maliciously abuses or neglects a resident. Such damages are normally awarded only when you can show that the perpetrator acted intentionally and in a particularly egregious manner, with disregard for the well-being of the resident.
Contact Our Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers If You Suspect Nursing Home Neglect
If you even suspect that any harm has come to you or a loved one in a nursing home as a result of abuse or neglect perpetrated by the nursing home or its staff, please contact our nursing home abuse lawyers immediately. We have the experience and are ready to investigate your circumstances and to implement immediate change if you or your loved one requires protection or improved care. Your consultation will be free of charge. We want to help.