The decision to put your loved one in a nursing home can be difficult. However, if your loved one simply can no longer care for him or herself, this often means that your loved one needs assisted care. If you live far away or are simply unable to be at your loved one’s home in a moment’s notice, a nursing home is a viable option.
What many people do not realize is, despite the appearance of around-the-clock care, some nursing homes can abuse and neglect the residents. If you suspect this is happening to your loved one in the nursing home, involve yourself now.
What Constitutes Abuse in a Nursing Home?
For anyone who has never seen nursing home abuse firsthand, recognizing it might be hard at first. A fall with bad bruises is not uncommon for the elderly, so you might not automatically assume he or she is actually injured at the hands of someone else, especially someone who should be a care provider.
Physical abuse is one of the most common forms of nursing home abuse. This includes hits, slaps, or other physical harm to the resident.
Neglect is also a common form of abuse seen in nursing homes. This includes the refusal or inability to change soiled clothing or undergarments. Failing to dispense medicine properly or intentionally providing the incorrect medication is also a form of neglectful behavior in a nursing home.
Other major forms of abuse that many loved ones might not realize is a result of neglect can be bedsores/pressure sores, falls, and dehydration. Unfortunately these forms of abuse and neglect are far too common and may go undetected or never addressed.
Sadly, physical violence and neglect are not the only forms of abuse suffered in nursing homes. Mental abuse is also possible. This includes verbal abuse, derogatory language, and threats. Behavior such as this instills fear in the elderly and causes severe declines in mental health.
In addition, sexual abuse is another form of abuse in a nursing home. This type of abuse occurs particularly with residents who are unable to speak or are in a state of dementia and so cannot relay communication about his or her treatment.
If you suspect abuse, consider the following warning signs:
- The caregiver is reluctant to leave you alone with your loved one
- Your loved one has unexplainable injuries
- You have consistent reports that he or she refuses to take medication
- You have signs, such as bruises, which indicate the arms and legs have been restrained
- You have signs which indicate neglect, such as soiled linens or clothes and severe weight loss
- If any of these issues arise, you need to take immediate action.
What Happens If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse?
The first thing you should do is remove your loved one from the nursing home as soon as possible to prevent further abuse. If possible, look for placement in another facility that is near the home of a family member or someone who can ensure your loved one is treated properly.
The next step is to call your attorney. He or she will meet with you and advise you on the rights you and your loved one should receive. Your attorney may advise you contact law enforcement based on the evidence of abuse.
Once any criminal charges are filed, if necessary, your attorney will also pursue a civil case to recover compensatory damages, which include punitive damages, for your loved one. Any evidence you have is very useful, such as photographs of injuries, video, or medical records that explain a constant state of decline in health with no real explanation as to why.
If your loved one has been injured due to nursing home abuse, please contact us at Garrison Law Firm. We can help you fight for your loved one’s rights to proper care while in a nursing home facility. We provide free consultations to those with all types of injuries across the state of Arizona.