Personal Injury in Nursing Homes
Residents of nursing homes have the right to live in a safe environment, free from abuse and neglect. One of the most stressful factors of placing a loved one in a nursing home is wondering if they are truly safe and well taken care of. A nursing home has not only a moral, but a legal obligation to take care of its residents. Millions of Americans live in nursing homes and unfortunately, nursing home abuse is increasing. If you learn the signs of possible nursing home abuse, you can help protect the ones you love.
The Nursing Home Reform Act states that all nursing home residents have the right to privacy, physical and mental services, free communication with their families, other residents, and the community, freedom from abuse of any kind, and decision making authority where appropriate. Ultimately, nursing home residents have the right under this law to be treated with dignity and respect and have the ability to file a complaint without any fear of retaliation in any way.
Signs of Elder Abuse and Neglect
The abuse to elders in nursing homes is widespread, underreported, and unfortunately increasing. Some of the warning signs of elder abuse are listed below.
- Physical Changes
- Broken bones without explanation (or fractured bones)
- Challenges to normal sleep habits
- Weight Loss
- Dehydration or Malnutrition
- Overmedication or Oversedation
- Failure to bathe your loved one, or keep them clean
- Unexplained infections
- Failure to wash sheets or clothing
- Physical markings unrelated to any illness
- Torn or ripped clothing
- Injury in or around the genital area (possible sexual abuse)
- Newly developed sexually transmitted disease
- Emotional Changes
If you notice that your loved one is acting absolutely out of character, it may be more than dementia. They may be attempting to signal to you that they are being abused, but somehow fear retaliation from the nursing home staff. Some examples of strange behavior can include mental regression, sudden refusal to participate in normal activities, fear around nursing home staff, blaming themselves for small problems, or large displays of anger.
- Financial Changes
If your loved one still has the capacity to make discretionary decisions regarding their income, you may want to ensure that there is a second set of eyes on any finances. Some nursing home residents have been manipulated or required to change legal documents under duress. If you notice that any estate planning documents such as a last will and testament or a trust has recently changed, or that large amounts of money are being removed from bank accounts, it could mean that there is some sort of abuse going on from the nursing home staff.
- Nursing Home Staff Changes
If you notice drastic changes within the nursing home staff procedures, that your phone calls go unanswered, that the staff seems dishonest or secretive, or disorganized, you may begin to question the nursing home conditions of your loved one. If you are ever made to feel strange about visiting your loved one or communicating with them, you may be facing a situation of nursing home staff abuse.
Let Us Help You Today
All persons, including our elderly loved ones, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. If you are concerned that your loved one is being abused or have evidence of abuse, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. You may have a personal injury case, a medical malpractice case, or another type of case against the nursing home. Contact an experienced Columbia nursing home abuse attorney at The Stanley Law Group at 803-799-4700 and set up a consultation today to discuss your case, and how to get compensation for your loved one.