Nursing home facilities are intended to provide safe and reliable care to elderly residents, but this is not always the case. Elder abuse has become a growing concern across America. According to the Nursing Home Abuse Center, “About 1-2 million U.S. citizens 65 years of age or older have been mistreated, exploited or injured by a caregiver.” Unfortunately, many incidents of abuse and neglect are unreported.
We Understand Your Worry
Suffering neglect at the hands of a caregiver is frightening. What’s more, many elderly residents are often too sick to inform their family and local or state authorities that they are experiencing abuse. For this reason, it’s imperative to visit the facility and communicate with your loved one on a regular basis.
If you believe your elderly loved one is suffering abuse at their long-term care facility, contact Jim Glaser Law. We are advocates for protecting the legal rights of our elderly citizens. No one deserves to suffer any form of abuse or neglect. A Massachusetts nursing home abuse lawyer can review your loved one’s case and inform you of their legal options.
Why Is Neglect Common in Nursing Homes?
While there are many reasons why neglect happens in long-term care facilities, the most common include:
Lack of staffing
In many cases, nursing home facilities don’t have enough staff members to provide quality care to residents. This often leads to neglect because employees are unable to meet the needs of their elderly patients. Furthermore, abuse is more likely to occur because the staff is stressed and overworked, causing them to show less compassion towards residents.
Poor Nursing Home Management
Some nursing home facilities have a stronger management team than others. Management ensures that the staff follows state standards and protocols that help keep residents safe. When a care facility does not have adequate management to oversee the entire staff, it can ultimately lead to neglect.
Poor hiring practices and Insufficient training
There are also many cases where nursing homes hire unqualified employees. Hiring staff who have little experience or training place elderly patients at risk. Due to the wide-ranging needs of nursing home residents, it’s vital to have qualified workers who know how to properly care for the specific needs of their patients.
Oftentimes, negligence and abuse happen privately and can be easily overlooked. If for any reason, you believe your loved one is experiencing abuse, contact our law office immediately. Unlawful and careless nursing homes should be held accountable for their actions.
Recoverable Damages for Nursing Home Abuse
If your elderly loved one suffered any form of abuse or neglect, compensation may be available for damages. While compensation cannot undo the abuse your loved one suffered, it can help cover expenses that occurred as a result of their negligent care facility. In these cases, compensation may be awarded for:
In some cases, the severity of the abuse requires extensive medical treatment. This can include additional prescription medications and expensive surgeries or occupational therapy. Compensation can help cover any medical costs related to the incident.
If an abusive nursing home staff member caused injuries that damaged your loved one’s quality of life, compensation may also be available for the pain and suffering they were forced to endure.
In order to effectively determine a reasonable amount of compensation, an attorney will need to review the circumstances of your elderly loved one’s case. Keep in mind that every case is unique, and results will vary.
What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
Residents of nursing home facilities deserve to be respected and treated with care. Our firm has provided tips for you to consider if you believe your elderly loved one is suffering any form of abuse:
- Remain calm. It’s easy to allow your emotions to supersede good decision making when you’re aware that your loved one is being abused. However, it’s important to act reasonably so the situation can be handled correctly.
- Communicate with the nursing staff. In some cases, you may mistakenly perceive something as a sign of abuse when there is a reasonable explanation. It’s always best to express any concerns you have to the manager of your loved one’s facility.
- Make sure to talk with your loved one privately to ask about the nature of care they’re receiving. If for any reason, a staff member tries to dissuade you from doing so, it’s important to take action. This may be a potential sign of abuse and neglect.
- If there are clear signs of abuse, contact the police so they can intervene and prevent the facility from doing further harm.
- Report abuse and neglect. Every state has protection services for adults. If you’re unsure who to contact, call the National Center on Elder Abuse at 1-800-677-1116 for assistance.
- Contact an experienced Massachusetts nursing home abuse lawyer. Compensation may be available for the abuse and neglect your loved one experienced. Seeking compensation on behalf of your elderly loved one is often difficult without experienced legal representation.
5 Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Numerous types of abuse can occur in nursing home facilities. The four most common forms seen in facilities across the country include:
- Physical Abuse – Physical abuse is the easiest form of abuse to prove because the signs are visible and can include broken bones, cuts, bruises, bed sores, and more.
- Emotional Abuse – Emotional abuse, on the other hand, can be much more challenging to prove. Nursing home staff may verbally abuse residents with threats and insults, which can intimidate an elderly person and prevent them from warning you they’re being abused.
- Sexual Abuse – Sexual abuse happens when a resident is forced into unwanted sexual conduct.
- Financial Exploitation – Sometimes residents are too sick to be aware of their financial status, so financial abuse tends to occur when a care provider handles financial matters for their patient. This can include late payments, cashing checks without notifying the resident, and/or coercing them into signing documents to gain access to accounts.
- Neglect – Neglect happens when caretakers fail to provide the level of care needed. Common examples include failing to help with personal hygiene and distributing the wrong food for residents based on their health needs.
Waiting to report any type of abuse can drastically affect your loved one’s overall health. In order to identify these forms of abuse, it’s important to know what signs and symptoms to look for in both your loved one’s health and mental state, as well as their environment.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Nursing Home Abuse
Listed below are some of the most common signs and symptoms of elder neglect and abuse:
- Unusual bruises
- Emotional withdrawal
- Unpaid bills by the elder
- Changes in behavior
- Infected wounds
- Weight loss
If you witness any of these signs or symptoms, it’s possible that your loved one has become a victim of abuse.
What You Need to Know When Working With an Attorney
Having legal representation for a nursing home abuse case may increase your chances of obtaining compensation on behalf of your elderly loved one. Although an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer can handle your case, there are things you can do to help the attorney build the strongest case possible for your loved one. Below are three ways you can help:
- Provide all evidence pertaining to the case.
- Be transparent and provide all facts to your attorney, even if you believe it may hinder the case.
- Be patient, as legal proceedings can take time.
Nursing home abuse cases are complex. In many cases, care facilities are owned by large corporations who know what to do if they are faced with allegations of abuse. Without an attorney, the likelihood of winning this type of case becomes significantly less.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a law that dictates the amount of time injured victims have to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. Every state has a different timeline, so it’s important to be aware of the law in your state.
Typically, cases are settled before filing a lawsuit becomes necessary. If both parties are unable to reach a settlement during the negotiation stage, then ensuring you file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations deadline is critical.
If you fail to file in time, you will significantly decrease your chances of receiving compensation. To avoid missing any deadlines, it’s best to consult an attorney if you believe your loved one is suffering abuse at their nursing home facility.
Contact Jim Glaser Law to Learn About Your Legal Options
If you suspect that your elderly loved one is experiencing abuse at their care facility, contact Jim Glaser Law. We are committed to seeing the rights of your loved one protected. Negligent nursing home facilities and/or caretakers should be punished for their actions.
With the help of a nursing home abuse lawyer, you may increase your chances of obtaining the compensation your elderly loved one deserves. If you’re uncertain whether you have a case, it’s best to contact our law office to learn about your legal options.
You can reach our firm at 781-689-2277, or fill out our free case review form. Don’t wait. This type of case is time-sensitive, and your loved one deserves justice.