Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect are Nationwide Problems
Nursing home abuse is rampant in the United States. There are close to two million people living in long-term care facilities, and all are in danger of being the victims of abuse. Most nursing home residents are vulnerable. They might be elderly, memory impaired, physically disabled, and dependent on others for their care. It is difficult to imagine that the people we trust to look after our loved ones might be harming them.
Nursing home residents can suffer in a variety of ways. Physical abuse, emotional or verbal abuse, and financial exploitation are common ways nursing home staff and operators harm their patients. If you or someone you love is experiencing abuse in a nursing home, you should first make sure they are safe. Then, consider contacting nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at the New York law firm of Alonso Krangle, LLP. Our lawyers have experience with nursing home abuse cases and understand the sensitivity and tenacity they warrant. We can help you file a claim against the nursing home responsible for the abuse and collect monetary damages the laws allow.
What are Nursing Home Abuse and Nursing Home Neglect?
There are federal and state laws that regulate much of the nursing home “industry.” Some states have a patients’ bill of rights or other laws that set the standard of care that nursing home providers must meet. Federal nursing home regulations state:
“the resident has the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse, corporal punishment, and involuntary seclusion.”
Federal regulations define abuse as:
- The intentional infliction of injury,
- Unreasonable confinement,
- Deprivation of service or care, or
- That results in physical harm, mental anguish, or pain, to a nursing home resident.
Federal regulations define neglect as:
- An intentional or unintentional failure to provide a person with the care and services necessary to ensure freedom from harm or pain,
- A failure to react to a potentially dangerous situation
- That results in harm or anxiety for the resident.
Types of Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes
There is a wide variety of behaviors and actions that fall into the federal and state definitions of abuse and neglect. Some are physical, and others are emotional. Common types of neglect and abuse in nursing homes include:
- Physical assault- this can involve pushing, punching, pinching, hitting, kicking, shaking, and slapping
- Verbal assault- this can involve the threatening bodily harm, yelling, scolding, shaming, and insulting a resident
- Withholding medical care such as prescription medications
- Depriving a resident of food
- Depriving a resident of water
- Sexual assault- including raping, groping, or photographing a resident
- Physically restraining a resident when it is not reasonable to do so
- Using chemicals and medication to control or sedate a resident when it is not part of authorized medical treatment
It is not always easy for nursing home residents to report abuse. They often depend on their abusers for help. Nursing home residents might have trouble articulating what is happening to them or be afraid of repercussions if they speak up. It is sometimes up to bystanders to notice and report nursing home abuse.
Recognizing Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect is Important for the Safety of Your Loved Ones
Since it might be hard for nursing home residents to speak up and report their experiences, visitors, family members, and nursing home staff must become familiar with signs of abuse. It is always a good idea to ask questions, but since you might not get truthful answers, here are some things to look for when you are visiting a loved one in a nursing home:
- Unsanitary conditions such as dirty bedsheets and toilets
- Bedsores or pressure ulcers
- Signs of dehydration such as dry skin, pale complexion, unusual lethargy, headaches
- Symptoms of malnutrition such as unexplained, rapid weight loss, or complaints about hunger
- New medications
- Sedation or extreme, unusual exhaustion
- Change in mood or behavior
- Unexplained bruises or cuts (in various healing stages)
- Expression of reluctance to speak in the presence of staff members
- Isolation, withdrawal
- Anxiety about being alone with staffers
- Fear of being touched or moved
- Episodes of wandering, trying to “escape”
- Broken bones
- Frequent, possibly unreported, illness or infection
It is difficult to imagine anyone harming an elderly nursing home patient on purpose. It happens, though, and someone should be accountable. Even when neglect or abuse is not intentional, someone should be paying enough attention to ensure residents are safe and treated with dignity.
A nursing home operator is responsible for making sure the residents are cared for according to the standards set by law. The nursing home must create appropriate policies and procedures, train the staff, supervise them, discipline them, and sometimes fire them, to maintain the proper standards. If the nursing home is negligent along the way, and injuries result, the nursing home might have to pay the victim significant monetary damages.
Contact Alonso Krangle LLP, Lawyers Representing Victims of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Our New York nursing home abuse lawyers at Alonso Krangle, LLP understand how to handle nursing home abuse cases. It is important to stop the abuse of nursing home residents and hold accountable, the staff members and administrators that allow it to occur. We can help you and your loved ones through this difficult time with sensitivity and compassion. We can do this while fighting hard in settlement negotiations or in a court of law, to secure the outcome you deserve.
Call our office today for a free evaluation of your nursing home abuse and neglect case — Call 516-350-5555 to speak with experienced lawyers who can help you file a nursing home abuse claim.