Identifying and Responding to Nursing Home Negligence

October 11, 2018

While the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is difficult, it is often just the first step to ensure their health and happiness. Prior to deciding on the nursing home, you will want to assess the facility’s safety record and make a determination if the facility is as close to a home environment as possible.

Residents of nursing home facilities are entitled to a variety of rights including access to clean water, clean clothing and linens, hygienic and safe living quarters. Residents also have a right to privacy, and should not be intruded on by staff unless necessary for the resident’s well-being, his/her medical care or in the event of a medical emergency. Unfortunately, these rights are not always upheld by every facility which leads to instances of abuse and/or neglect. In order to protect your loved one, you should follow the 3R rule: Research, Recognize & React.

Research: What is Nursing Home Abuse?

As the population of US Baby Boomers age, the number of nursing homes has increased. Unfortunately, so have the instances of abuse. According to the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Report Committee, nearly 9,000 abuse allegations were cited between January 1999 and 2001 at 5,283 facilities. This number accounts for 30% of all nursing homes in the United States. A nursing home abuse instance is defined as any action in which a resident’s rights to a safe and healthful environment is compromised. Nursing home mistreatment is prevalent in many forms including neglect, physical harm and sexual harassment.

Recognize: What does Nursing Home Abuse Look Like?

Knowing some signs of nursing home abuse can make a huge difference when a victim seeks justice and compensation in a timely manner. Various types of abuse may result in different signs, so you must educate yourself about each. These include neglect of basic needs and harsh physical treatment as well as emotional, mental and sexual abuse. Neglect can be demonstrated by the state of a resident’s environment or physical condition.  An unsafe or dirty facility, unchanged linens, and soiled clothing can all point to inadequate care. Neglect manifests physically when a resident presents as dehydrated and/or malnourished. The presence of rashes, lesions, or pressure sores are further indicators. Suspicious marks, cuts, or bruises often point to physical abuse. Broken bones might be caused by malicious physical contact or failure to ensure the person’s safe transport. Depression, withdrawal, anxiety or other changes in personality are warning signs of possible mental, emotional or sexual abuse. It is important to keep lines of communication open with your loved ones, as they may need your help regarding mistreatment by facility staff.

React: How Can I Help Stop Nursing Home Abuse?

Do not hesitate to contact an attorney as soon as you discover signs that a loved one has suffered nursing home abuse. It is important to document any evidences of abuse including accident reports, medical records, and photographs of the condition of the resident and their environment. If possible, communicate with the resident about his or her experiences in the nursing home. Remember that other residents and/or visitors may have witnessed abuse as well, so their testimony may help your case. Seek compensation in a court of law as soon as possible.

At Saladino & Schaaf, we have years of experience representing Kentuckians in personal injury lawsuits, including elder and nursing home abuse. If you or a loved one have been injured or otherwise abused while residing at a nursing home, contact us online or at (270) 444-0406 to schedule a free consultation today. You may be entitled to significant compensation, but the clock is ticking.




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