Placing a loved one in a nursing home is never an easy decision, even when everything goes smoothly. However, at the first sign of nursing home neglect or abuse, families must be prepared to take immediate action to protect their loved ones. At the Hartley Law Firm, our Plano nursing home abuse lawyers provide compassionate yet aggressive representation to residents and their family members. We put our extensive experience to work for each of our many clients, helping them bring compelling cases in pursuit of maximum compensation for what they’ve been through.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse is a term used to refer to a broad range of abusive and negligent conduct by nursing home employees. There are several types of nursing home abuse, which include:
- Physical abuse,
- Sexual abuse,
- Psychological abuse,
- Financial abuse,
- Nursing home neglect, and
Regardless of the type of abuse a resident suffers, it can have a detrimental impact on their quality of life. Not only that, but abuse also subjects residents to an increased risk of other health conditions that can lead to worsening health conditions and premature death.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
For families, detecting nursing home abuse or neglect can be difficult. Primarily, this is because nursing homes operate largely “behind closed doors.” Nursing homes frequently only allow visitors during pre-determined times. This gives a nursing home the opportunity to make sure that everything appears to be in good shape when they know visitors will be present. However, what goes on behind the facility’s doors during the remaining hours of the day is often a mystery to family members.
Certainly, nursing home residents who can communicate their experiences might do so. However, not all residents are fortunate enough to be able to communicate well because of physical or mental health issues. Thus, as much as possible, family members should be on the lookout for any signs of nursing home abuse or neglect. Warning signs could include:
- A noticeable lack of personal hygiene;
- Bedsores, also referred to as pressure ulcers;
- Broken bones;
- Bruises, burns, or welts;
- Cuts, lacerations, or other skin damage;
- Head injuries;
- Missing teeth;
- Sleep disorders; and
- Unexplained weight loss.
Of course, nursing home residents are often older and may suffer from a range of health issues that are unrelated to abuse. This can make it challenging to distinguish between unavoidable injuries associated with age or preexisting health conditions and abuse-related injuries. Thus, family members should use their judgment and assess the situation as a whole to the best of their ability.
Taking a look around the nursing home can give you an idea of whether the facility is one that does everything possible to prevent abuse and neglect. For example, suppose a facility is understaffed, or the staff appears frustrated and short-tempered. This might be a sign that the facility’s management team isn’t as effective as it could be or that there are morale problems at the facility. This can lead to a situation where employees “lose it” and take out their frustrations on residents.
Slip and Falls in Nursing Homes
Falls are the leading cause of accidental injury and death among older Americans. In fact, according to a 2016 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, across the United States, an older adult falls every second of every day. Based on 2014 data, that amounted to 29 million falls causing seven million injuries.
Given the risk that slips and falls present, nursing homes must take special care in preventing resident falls. While it may seem like a fall is an unavoidable accident, that is not necessarily the case. In fact, with the proper safeguards in place, nursing homes can dramatically reduce the risk of falls. So if a resident falls more frequently than you’d expect, it could be a sign of nursing home neglect.
Liability in Nursing Home Abuse Cases
Nursing home employees who engage in abusive behavior towards residents can be held financially liable for their actions through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Additionally, the facility itself is also often liable in these cases. A Plano nursing home abuse attorney can meet with you to discuss how the laws apply to your situation.
Are You Worried About the Health of a Loved One in a Plano Nursing Home? Contact Our Plano Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
If you suspect that a loved one is being mistreated in a nursing home, reach out to the Plano nursing home abuse lawyers at the Hartley Law Firm. At the Hartley Law Firm, we proudly advocate on behalf of nursing home residents and their family members. Attorney Austin Hartley is a lifelong Texan who sees it as part of his duty to stand up for older Americans being mistreated by nursing home employees. He values fostering meaningful relationships with his clients and ensures he is always available to answer your questions whenever they come up. To learn more and schedule a free consultation. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.