Why You May Need a Nursing Home Attorney
August 21, 2018
You have done your research and selected a nursing home you believe will provide a safe and caring environment for your loved one. You bring some favorite photos and a few treasured mementos as you help your family member settle in. Hiring a nursing home attorney is the last thing on your mind.
As time passes, you begin to suspect something is wrong. Your formerly good-humored parent or grandparent seems unhappy and anxious. Their clothes seem looser. You may even notice bruises or untreated sores on their arms or legs.
What is happening to your loved one, and, more importantly, what can you do?
What Is Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Unfortunately, the abuse and neglect of nursing home residents have become a national crisis. Studies conducted by the National Center on Elder Abuse found that 44% of nursing home residents had been abused, and 95% of those surveyed reported that they had been neglected in some way or had seen others neglected. Even more shocking is that more than 50% of nursing home staff admitted they had mistreated residents. Researchers believe the actual situation is even worse than these statistics portray since many cases are never reported by residents or staff members.
The Administration on Aging, a division of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, defines elder abuse as, “any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.”
Elder abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, financial or a combination thereof.
Neglect, which is different than negligence, is harder to define because it is a more passive form of abuse. Basically, nursing home neglect is the failure of a caregiver or a facility to properly meet the residents’ needs. Neglect can include issues relating to hygiene, medical care, nutrition and emotional well-being.
What Are The Causes of Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect?
Each year, thousands of nursing homes across the country are cited for violating federal standards that either caused serious harm or injury to a resident or had the potential to do so.
Here are some of the reasons:
- Inadequate funding for safety measures such as overhead lighting and effective security measures
- Insufficient staffing levels that prevent proper resident supervision
- High turnover and deficient training
- Poor charting procedures and delinquent record-keeping
- Putting profits above patients
Nursing homes with one or more of these factors will have a greater likelihood of the following:
- Higher incidence of bedsores
- Health code violations
- Falls and other accidents
- More cases of malnutrition and dehydration
- Medication errors
- Depression and anxiety among residents
- Increased infections and hospitalizations
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Despite Medicare guidelines and regulations and federal legislation such as the Nursing Home Reform Act, neglect, and abuse still happen in many nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and assisted living facilities.
Here are some of the most common signs of nursing home neglect and abuse:
- Bed sores or other preventable conditions
- Difficulty sleeping, nightmares
- Depression or confusion that was not present before
- Unintended weight loss
- Signs of trauma, such as rocking or becoming agitated or withdrawn
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Unexplained bruises, burns or other marks
- Poor hygiene, unwashed hair or soiled clothing
“If your loved one is showing any of these signs and you believe their health and safety are at risk, contact one of our experienced nursing home attorneys immediately,” said Mark Bernstein of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm. “We will fight for the compensation you are entitled to so your family member can have the high-quality care they deserve.”
Nursing home law is complicated, but finding the right nursing home attorney is simple.
Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, no-obligation consultation.