NURSING HOME NEGLECT AND ABUSE

Placing a parent or loved one into a nursing home is one of the most difficult decisions you can make. Once you take this step, you want to make sure your loved one is well taken care of. Despite countless hours of research, talking with friends and colleagues, and reviewing online, you can inadvertently pick a negligent nursing home. 

Every day, senior adults are victims of neglect and abuse — an epidemic across the U.S. Nursing homes are profiting off the Baby Boomers, yet the quality of services rendered to our loved ones continues to decline. Worst of all, nursing home neglect and abuse is on the rise, causing approximately 1,800 deaths each year.

The good news is, Smolen Law can help. Our experienced staff can make sure your loved one undergoes no additional emotional, physical, or psychological harm. First and most important, we will get your loved one in a safe place immediately. We will file a complaint against the state and guide you through the reporting process, obtaining critical facts and evidence proving liability against the nursing home and/or its employees.

Nursing home abuse is not always glaringly apparent — neglect and abuse exist in many forms and don’t always give rise to physical injuries. Many victims are fragile and vulnerable, often unable to defend themselves or seek aid.

Types of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse:

  • Physical Abuse
    • This type of abuse is usually the most obvious. Physical abuse occurs when physical force is used to cause harm against a patient. Physical force includes (but is not limited to) hitting, inappropriate use of restraints, scratching, pushing, and even biting.
  • Emotional Abuse
    • Emotional nursing abuse occurs when a caregiver or nursing home employee causes the victim psychological harm through ridicule, humiliation, intimidation, or by ignoring the victim’s needs.
  • Sexual Abuse
    • When a nursing home staff member or resident makes an unwanted sexual advance or contact with a loved one, sexual abuse occurs. Sexual abuse of the elderly or mentally challenged often follows coercion, manipulation, or force.
  • Financial Abuse
    • Stealing money or personal property is a common form of elder financial abuse. This can sometimes occur when a caregiver or other nursing home employee tricks or pressures an elderly loved one into revealing private information, such as credit card and bank account numbers. Coercing a victim to alter a deed, will, or trust for the benefit of another — usually an employee of the nursing home — is also a form of financial abuse.

Types of Injuries:

  • Death
    • Wrongful death as a result of dehydration, abuse, severe infection, malnutrition, sepsis, and incorrect or excessive medication often occurs in nursing homes. If your loved one dies or is injured as a result of neglect by the employees of a hospital or nursing home, your family is entitled to financial reparations.
  • Bedsores
    • The development of decubitus ulcers, also known as pressure ulcers or bedsores, is a common symptom of nursing home neglect and abuse. Bedsores can develop quickly if the nursing home staff is not properly educated on prevention. This is a very serious condition that can become life-threatening if not treated appropriately and quickly.
  • Malnutrition
    • Caused by the lack of proper nutrients from food, malnutrition often occurs when loved ones are unable to feed themselves, have a difficult time chewing or swallowing, or have dietary restrictions.
  • Dehydration
    • Dehydration can occur when the loss of body fluids, mostly water, exceeds the amount taken in. If patients are not given suitable amounts of water daily, using either oral methods or intravenously (IV), dehydration will occur.
  • Poor Hygiene
    • Poor hygiene is often the result of inadequate care from nursing home staff, who are required to ensure that patients are on a proper cleaning schedule. When this cleaning schedule is ignored, neglect and abuse have occurred.
  • Infections/Sepsis
    • Infections often happen within nursing homes. If residents are treated properly, infections are usually avoidable. Unfortunately, many infections are overlooked or misdiagnosed by nursing home staff. Some infections are more dangerous than others. Sepsis infections, for example, spark inflammation throughout the entire body due to chemicals that are released into the blood to fight the infection. Left untreated, sepsis can lead to death.

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Smolen Law
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Donald E. Smolen, II
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Laura L. Hamilton
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