While the prevalence of elder abuse can be challenging to pin down with precision, studies have estimated that anywhere from 10% to 33% of seniors—and perhaps more—have been abused or neglected, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA).
Unfortunately, abuse and neglect are also all too common in nursing homes. As of 2014, about 2.2 million Americans lived in long-term care settings such as nursing homes, according to the NCEA. More than 14,200 of them reported abuse, gross neglect, or exploitation.
The number of unreported incidents is likely much higher. Indeed, in one study that interviewed 2,000 nursing home residents, 44% reported being abused, while 95% reported either being neglected or seeing another resident be neglected, according to the NCEA. In another study, half of the nursing home staff admitted to mistreating older patients.
Patients who are veterans can be especially vulnerable. Combat veterans may be prone to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or struggle with substance abuse issues, which can worsen existing chronic health conditions.
Nursing homes have a responsibility to attend to these conditions as part of a comprehensive care plan. If they fail in that duty—or if staff members appease a veteran’s demands for excess alcohol or prescription drugs, or if they take their frustrations out on the individual—the nursing home is acting negligently and should be held responsible.
Our veterans have sacrificed for their country and the freedoms we hold dear. An Austin veterans and neglect lawyer with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can fight to make sure they are treated with the respect and dignity to which they are entitled.
If you believe your loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing home, contact us today at (800) 842-6336 to schedule your free consultation.
Nursing Home Residents’ Rights
In 1987, Congress passed the Nursing Home Reform Act, which established several rights to which residents are entitled, according to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).
Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 483 lays out nursing home residents’ rights. In particular, 42 CFR §483.12 says all residents have the right to be free from abuse, neglect, misappropriation of property, and exploitation. This not only means that facilities must not use “verbal, mental, sexual, or physical abuse, corporal punishment, or involuntary seclusion,” but it also requires nursing homes not to employ “physical or chemical restraints imposed for purposes of discipline or convenience.”
In addition, 42 CFR §483.21 and 42 CFR §483.25 require nursing homes to provide quality care to every patient in accordance with a patient-centered comprehensive plan, professional standards of care, and the resident’s choices. This care plan must provide services that “attain or maintain the resident’s highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being.”
Importantly, 42 U.S. Code §1395i–3 also requires nursing homes to “ensure that a resident who displays mental or psychosocial adjustment difficulties receives appropriate services to correct the assessed problem” and to meet “the medical, nursing, and psychosocial needs of the resident.”
Abuse and Neglect
According to a study published in the journal Medical Care Research and Review, nearly one in five people admitted to nursing homes have a mental illness that is not dementia. Between 10% and 15% of new admissions have depression.
Their care, however, is often of “poor quality,” and nursing homes rely on staff members who “may know little about mental illness and its management.” A more recent study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that one-third of nursing homes reported that behavioral service needs went unmet.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), 28% of veterans of recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan self-reported receiving at least one mental health diagnosis within the previous two years.
Among Vietnam combat theater veterans—the baby boomers now beginning to populate nursing homes—11% of males and 7% of females still had PTSD 40 years after leaving service; of them, 37% met the criteria for major depression, the Veterans Association (VA) reports. Two-thirds of veterans with warzone-related PTSD had discussed “behavioral health or substance abuse concerns” with their health care providers.
For a free legal consultation with a Veterans Neglect and Abuse Lawyer serving Austin, call (800) 794-0444
Taking Legal Action in Neglect and Abuse Cases
With patients who are veterans, this can take several forms, such as:
- Allowing staff members or other residents to verbally or physically abuse them
- Not providing proper treatment for mental health or substance abuse issues
- Treating anxiety through overmedication
- Enabling addictions to alcohol or prescription drugs
If you believe this has happened to your loved one, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to learn how an Austin veterans neglect and abuse lawyer can help you. You can share more details with us about your situation during a free consultation.
Austin Veterans Neglect and Abuse Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
Damages and the Statute of Limitations in Texas
Texas does not limit the amount a plaintiff can recover in economic or non-economic compensatory damages. Economic damages, such as medical bills, have a dollar value amount, while non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, do not. Your lawyer can help you determine what damages you can pursue.
In personal injury or wrongful death cases, Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code §16.003 requires plaintiffs to bring a lawsuit within two years of the date of injury or death.
It can take time for your lawyer to build a case, so we advise starting as soon as you possibly can. If your lawsuit is not filed before the two-year deadline, you or your loved one could lose your chance to pursue compensation. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm will file your case on time.
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How We Can Help
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm believes no veteran should spend their golden years being mistreated, neglected, or abused. Every nursing home owes it to residents—especially veterans—to attend to their physical and mental needs. When they do not meet that obligation, either because a for-profit owner cut costs or because of poor management, they should be held accountable.
An Austin veterans neglect and abuse lawyer can review your case and help you evaluate your legal options at no charge to you. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm attorneys work on contingency, which means you pay us nothing upfront or out-of-pocket unless we recover financial awards on your behalf.
Call us today at (800) 842-6336 to schedule your free consultation.