When you help a loved one move into a nursing home facility, you expect that they will receive excellent care. However, abuse of nursing home residents is unfortunately common. Studies indicate that the prevalence of such abuse could be as high as 10% of all senior home residents, ranging from financial exploitation to verbal abuse and neglect of basic needs. In one study, approximately 1 in 13 nursing home residents in New York had been victims of some type of abuse within the past year. If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of abuse or neglect, it's important to hold the facility and its staff accountable. A personal injury attorney can help you understand the next steps to take.
Looking for Signs of Abuse
There are many different types of elder abuse. Being vigilant about your loved one's condition when you visit them in the nursing home can help you spot signs of abuse and neglect.
Physical abuse: Although physical abuse is the least common type, its signs are the most obvious. Check your loved one for bruises or other injuries. A staff member may have rushed your loved one through their hygiene routine or used restraints improperly. All accidents and falls should be documented by the staff, so if your loved one's injuries are not explained in medical records, you should be suspicious of abuse and look for evidence to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Financial abuse: It's possible for nursing home staff to manipulate your loved one into giving them money or outright steal from them. Keep an eye on your loved one's finances and be sure to have open conversations with them about spotting fraud and other exploitation.
Verbal or emotional abuse: If your loved one has gotten more shy or reserved since they entered the nursing home facility, they might be subject to insults or other abuse. Be sure to talk to your loved one without any staff members present to investigate whether a staff member's behavior is diminishing their quality of life.
Neglect: Nursing homes are responsible for providing adequate nutrition, hygiene, and medical treatment for all residents. If your loved one's health is deteriorating quickly, it might not just be old age; the staff might be neglecting them due to negligence. Even if this is unintentional, it still constitutes abuse that you and an attorney can hold them accountable for.
Suing for Personal Injury on Your Loved One's Behalf
Nursing home abuse leads to senior citizens suffering real damages, whether financial losses, physical injuries, or diminished quality of life. A personal injury attorney can help you document these losses and seek compensation from the responsible staff member or entire facility on your loved one's behalf. Your attorney can guide you through each step of the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit.