Did you know that out of all nursing home residents, roughly 44% have at one point or another suffered some form of abuse? Unfortunately, many of these situations go unreported and the parties responsible for the actions go unpunished for the harm they have caused.
For residents in nursing homes or for families considering having their loved one in a nursing home, it’s important to ensure safety is the utmost priority. It’s also important to recognize what rights exist should your loved one suffer abuse of any kind.
Below, we’ll explain what nursing home abuse is, how it happens, the potential dangers that may be experienced, and the legal options that may be available when an elderly resident suffers physical, emotional, or financial harm as a result of the abuse.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse is a situation in which an elderly resident in a certified nursing home is the victim of pain and suffering in one way or another. There are three major ways in which the elderly can be abused in a nursing home, including the following:
- Physical: Physical nursing home abuse can occur in various situations and the parties responsible are dependent on the exact cause of the injuries. For instance, it could be direct physical abuse should a staff member assault the elderly. It could also be considered physical abuse if the staff fails to aid the elderly in getting out of bed and they slip and fall.
- Emotional: Not all abuse is something that can be visible on an elderly resident. There are some situations in which the staff or someone else solicits fear out of the resident. If the resident is fearful of the individual responsible for emotional abuse, they may try to avoid them completely or act differently when that staff member is in their area.
- Financial: In some cases—mainly when the elderly has declining mental or physical health or when they don’t have a lot of family—individuals can perform financial abuse on the elderly. This may mean directly stealing money or objects from the elderly, using their credit cards or bank accounts, or convincing the elderly to put their name as a power of attorney to handle financial matters.
Nursing home abuse can be extremely difficult for an elderly resident to overcome, but there are some things that need to be figured out before legal action may be taken, including what problems may exist, who can be responsible, and whether legal action can be taken.
Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
When it comes to nursing home abuse, there are specific signs that family members should look for to determine if their loved one is being victimized. Here are some of the things that can be indicators of nursing home abuse.
Physical nursing home abuse signs include:
- Bed Sores
- Broken bones
- Weight loss due to malnourishment
Emotional nursing home abuse signs include:
- Fearful reactions to staff members
- Change in behavior
- Problems with sleeping
- Weight loss
- Lack of eye contact with certain staff
Financial nursing home abuse signs include:
- Odd transactions on bank statements
- Loss of funds due to withdrawals
- Strange spending patterns
- Checks being forged
- Items missing from your loved one’s area
Who Is Responsible for Nursing Home Abuse?
In any matter of nursing home abuse, it’s important to recognize the situation at hand to determine who may be held accountable for the damages sustained. The injuries sustained and the way it happened could give an indicator, but there are multiple parties who may be considered at fault.
- An attendee: Nursing homes should have properly trained staff who know how to care of the elderly residents and ensure their needs are met. Attendees are supposed to adhere to turn schedules, help residents who can’t go to the restroom on their own, and provide proper medication at the time designated. When they neglect these responsibilities, the resident may sustain significant harm.
- A visiting doctor: Some nursing home residents may have situations in which their doctors visit them in the nursing home. This doctor has a duty of care that they must provide to the patient, regardless of whether they are caring for them in a medical facility or a nursing home. If they are in anyway abusive to the patient, they could be considered liable for any injuries sustained by the elderly.
- The nursing home: Owners and managers of the nursing home should know everything that is going on in their facility. If a worker is not trained properly, background checks are not performed, or there are any malicious acts, the nursing home must take action. If they allow a resident to be harmed, they may be considered just as responsible as the party who actually performed the act.
What Can I Do After Nursing Home Abuse?
More likely than not, you’re the family of the elderly who is a resident in the nursing home. As such, you should be looking out for any signs of nursing home abuse and recognizing any potential situations in which legal action may be available for the damages done to your loved one.
If you believe that you’re loved one is being abused in a nursing home, the first thing you should do is look for the signs above for physical, emotional, or financial abuse. Should you notice any of the signs, you will want to report the situation to the proper authorities.
Many people overlook the importance of reporting abuse in a nursing home, but it can be very beneficial. Reporting the nursing home abuse starts with helping your loved one avoid any further abuse—as well as other residents who may have been harmed. The report can also be used to help in legal matters.
Having a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney On Your Side
After you have reported the abuse, reach out to a nursing home abuse lawyer who can help you understand what comes next and protects your rights. You should know that the nursing home has coverage and help from legal teams who aim to defend them from paying out too much when claims come forth.
This means they’re going to try anything they can to limit their own liability. They try to refuse claims that they were abusive or that they did anything to cause your loved one harm. As such, you should have representation of your own to help prove your loved one’s case.
When it comes to representing injured elderly individuals following nursing home abuse, The Gatti Law Firm has the experience and knowledge you need to move forward in an effective manner with a focus on helping your family obtain justice and compensation.
Our Oregon nursing home abuse lawyers are dedicated to guiding you through the process because we know how it important it is for your family to get justice. We aim to hold the negligent parties accountable for their actions and help you move forward. Trust us to stand in your corner when you need it most.
Call our firm today at (503) 543-1114 and speak with a skilled legal advocate about what rights you may have to hold a nursing home accountable for the harm they’ve caused to your loved one.