Most people think long and hard about the decision to place their elderly family member into a nursing home.There may be an elderly person who was independent before, but may have fallen or had some other physical issues that demand around the clock care. Or it could be a slow diminishing of their mental capacities that determine that they should not be left alone.
When this happens, it can be a frightening experience for the whole family. Regardless of the situation, families should be able to trust the nursing home facility they have selected for their loved one.
Nursing home abuse and/or neglect is a serious matter and may be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
Nursing Home Abuse in the US
Because of the rising reports of elder abuse and neglect in nursing homes, it is all the more important that those who have guardianship of senior citizens take caution to do all in their power to protect them. Recent statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that upwards of 500,000 people 60 years of age and older are abused or neglected in nursing homes every year.
If you believe a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you should contact a licensed legal professional immediately to discuss eligibility for a lawsuit.
Defining elder abuse and neglect
The Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging has a very specific definition for elder abuse that covers a myriad of circumstances. They conclude that any treatment that includes “the willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or cruel punishment with resulting physical harm, pain, or mental anguish,” is elder abuse. They go even further to classify as elder abuse the “deprivation by a person, including a caregiver, of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness.”
Elder neglect is a little harder to pinpoint. It can occur very subtly because it’s not usually so much that something is being done to a patient, but rather something the patient needs is not being supplied. This can take such forms as depriving a patient of medicine, wound care, nutritious food, water, and bathing or grooming facilities to perform proper hygienic practices.
Liability of Nursing Home Facilities
Nursing homes can be found at fault if they caused harm to the patient through lack of due diligence in background checking their employees. They can be found liable if they do not have enough staff on board to provide proper care and coverage during all shifts. They are also culpable if the staff they do have on duty are not properly trained in the skills necessary to care for the patients. Nursing homes are also held responsible for medication errors. This includes if they withhold necessary medication from a patient, give a patient too much of the correct medication, or give them the wrong medication altogether.
Pursuing a Lawsuit
If you believe that a loved one may be a victim of elder abuse or neglect, remember that you do have recourse for justice and restitution. When a nursing home admits a patient, it also accepts responsibility for the resident’s welfare while in their care. They can be held legally accountable for failing to live up to the standard of care that is contractually promised.
The patient may not have the mental wherewithal to realize exactly what is happening to them. So when you suspect that a loved one may be suffering abuse at the hands of a nursing home, you should take action immediately. If the situation is an emergency, you should call 911 immediately
How we can help you
Elder neglect and nursing home abuse should be taken very seriously. Individuals entrust nursing home staff to care for their loved one. The facility is responsible for any careless, negligent or malicious actions of their employees.
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