Dothan Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Attorneys
The decision to move a loved one into a nursing home is one of the most difficult decisions that you will ever make. Watching a family member, such as a parent, age to the point where they are no longer able to care for themselves can be very emotional and raises a number of questions about logistics and arrangements for the future. For many people who are tasked with caring for an elderly loved one, a nursing home is the best option; providing around-the-clock care for an aging person, especially one who suffers from a serious health condition, can be impossible to do on your own.
But what can be even more challenging than making the decision to move a family member into a nursing home is learning that the family member has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect. If you suspect that your elderly loved one is being abused or neglected within an Alabama nursing home, our experienced nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers can help you.
Defining Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Nursing home abuse refers to an action committed by a nursing home staff member that is intended to harm the nursing home patient; nursing home neglect lacks intent but can be equally as damaging. There are many different types of nursing home abuse that are recognized and are unfortunately very common in nursing home throughout our state. Types of nursing home abuse include:
- Physical abuse. Physical abuse is the use of physical force on an elderly person, against their will and is expected to cause bodily harm. There are many different types of physical abuse that take place within a nursing home setting, including hitting the resident, restraining the resident, using medication improperly (or denying medication altogether), force feeding the patient, and more.
- Sexual abuse. Sexual abuse occurs when a nursing home staff member engages in some form of sexual activity, including sexual speech or touch, with an elderly person without their consent. Examples of sexual abuse might include taking inappropriate or naked photos of the resident, touching the resident inappropriately, sexual assault, and intercourse.
- Psychological abuse/emotional abuse. Abuse is not always physical or sexual; in some cases, abuse can be psychological. Psychological abuse occurs when emotional or psychological pain or harm is inflicted upon the elderly person. For example, preventing an elderly person from participating in social activities, degrading the resident, isolating an elderly person, humiliating the elderly person, and more can all constitute emotional abuse.
- Financial exploitation. In some cases, a nursing home staff member will take advantage of an elderly person by exploiting them financially. Examples of this might include stealing an elderly person’s bank account information or credit cards, convincing them to change their will or estate plan, or even stealing directly from the elderly person.
- Neglect. As stated above, neglect may lack intent to cause harm, but is still very serious. Neglect occurs when a nursing home resident does not receive the level of care that they need, perhaps as a result of understaffing, resulting in harm. An elderly person may experience a slip and fall as a result of available assistance, may be left for hours without the ability to use the toilet, or may not receive adequate nutrition, water, or medical care.
How to Recognize Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
It can be hard to admit that a nursing home is abusing a loved one; no one wants to think that a loved one is being harmed. But nursing home abuse that goes unrecognized can have devastating consequences, and as such, it is important to be aware of the signs of abuse, including:
- Unexplained injuries, such as bruises or bone fractures;
- Physical changes, such as weight loss or a deterioration in the nursing home resident’s condition;
- Cuts, lacerations, signs of physical restraint (marks on wrists, etc.), scrapes, burn marks, etc.;
- Torn or bloodied clothing;
- Demonstration of fear of nursing home staff member(s);
- Angry outbursts;
- Withdrawal or depression;
- Major financial changes, such as taking out a loan;
- Bedsores; and
- Poor personal hygiene.
A nursing home resident who is a victim of abuse or neglect may be hesitant to discuss the abuse or admit to it. It is important to be sensitive to this and remember that even if a nursing home resident says abuse is not happening, it still could be. If you suspect abuse, you should take action immediately.
Nursing Home Abuse Is Serious
Nursing home abuse and neglect are very serious and can lead to a severe deterioration in a patient’s condition, and even death. What’s more, when a patient is neglected, they may be at risk of suffering an accident that would not have occurred but for better care, such as an injury-causing slip and fall, or becoming caught in between bed rails, leading to suffocation.
Abuse and Neglect Are Unacceptable – Take Action Immediately
Nursing home abuse and neglect are absolutely unacceptable and need to be remedied immediately. If you suspect that abuse or neglect are occurring, you should:
- Document any signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect;
- Report your suspicions to a nursing home manager;
- Speak with your loved one;
- File a complaint with the Alabama Department of Public Health – Alabama State Survey Agency; and
- Call an experienced and compassionate Alabama nursing home abuse and neglect attorney.
When nursing home abuse and neglect are occurring, the nursing home is in breach of its duty of care to the nursing home resident and can be held liable for any harm that results as such. Our legal team can help you to explore your options for filing a claim and seeking damages for any harm that has resulted. This is not only important for your family, but can also raise awareness about abuse, potentially protecting future residents.
Call the Law Offices of M. Adam Jones & Associates Today
Nursing home abuse and neglect is a terrible thing and preys on the most vulnerable members of our society. If you suspect that nursing home abuse or neglect is happening, do not wait to take action. Call our aggressive and compassionate Alabama nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers today for your free consultation and information about what steps to take next. We can be reached at (334) 699-5599 or leave us a message on our website contact form. Our job is to fight for you.
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