The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 1.3 million adults reside in long-term care facilities across the United States. With the elderly population rising and age expectancy growing higher each year, the number of elderly adults in nursing homes and assisted living facilities is likely to continually increase for years to come.
Living in a nursing home can be a good experience for the vast majority of residents, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. Some residents experience various forms of abuse that can lead to suffering in many ways. If you suspect your loved one suffered from abuse while living in a nursing home a Tulsa nursing home abuse lawyer may be able to help. In some cases, compensation is available for victims and their families. Call us to speak with a team member at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm and learn more about your legal options today.
Forms of Abuse in Nursing Homes
Nursing home abuse is any behavior or action towards a nursing home resident that causes harm to an individual. Nursing home abuse comes in many forms and varies in severity. It can be physical, emotional, or both. According to the United States Justice Department, as many as 10% of adults age 65 years or older will experience a form of abuse annually. This staggering figure does not even take into account the cases of abuse that remain unreported.
Understanding the forms of nursing home abuse can help you recognize if your loved one could be a victim. Some common forms of nursing home abuse include but are not limited to:
- Physical Abuse: This form of abuse, as the name describes, is physical action that can cause harm to a victim. This includes physical contact like kicking, striking, pushing, slapping, or throwing an object at a victim.
- Emotional Abuse: Yelling, screaming, name-calling, belittling, and other forms of emotional abuse can be devastating for victims. Emotional abuse can be subtle and can occur in isolated instances or over long periods of time. Any behavior that damages another person emotionally is a form of abuse.
- Sexual Abuse: This is defined as any unwanted intimate touching of any kind, especially to breasts or genital area, forced nudity, or taking sexually explicit photographs or videos of a resident and sending them online or in person.
- Financial Abuse: Many elderly adults require assistance with their daily needs, including managing their finances. Sometimes this is due to cognitive impairment. If a nursing home staff member or caregiver intentionally exploited your loved one financially for personal gain, you could have a legal case.
- Negligence: Negligent behavior is typically a failure of caregivers or a facility to appropriately care for a resident or react to a situation properly. A caregiver failing to provide proper nutrition or follow a specific diet, for example, is putting others at risk. If a resident is left alone and wanders into unfamiliar territory when they should have been supervised, this is a form of negligence. If your loved one has difficulty shifting positions in a bed and needs to be moved periodically in order to prevent bedsores, failure of a facility to accommodate this need can lead to more severe health implications. While negligence may sometimes be unintentional, it can still endanger your loved one and could be grounds for legal action.
The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that the elderly population will continue to grow over time, due to an increase in population as well as life expectancy. Because many older adults will reside in nursing homes later in life, the abuse of the elderly will continue to be a problem in the United States and around the world.
Warning Signs of Abuse
If you notice a sudden change of behavior in your loved one, you should take note that something may not be right. Other signs of abuse include depression, anxiety, loss of trust in others, fear of a particular individual, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, and more. If you think your loved one may have experienced abuse while living in a nursing home, a Tulsa nursing home abuse lawyer may be able to file a personal injury claim on their behalf. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free evaluation.
Potentially Recoverable Compensation
Victims of nursing home abuse may never be the same. While no two cases are exactly alike, many victims suffer physically, emotionally, and financially. The repercussions of abuse can affect the lives of families and loved ones forever.
While no amount of money can make up for the suffering of abuse at the hands of others, sometimes victims are awarded compensation. This can include reimbursement for legal fees associated with the case, medical expenses due to injuries, pain and suffering from abuse, or ongoing psychological treatment. Some victims are awarded punitive damages in an effort to punish responsible parties and prevent future incidents of a similar nature. If you are interested in learning more about your options or are wondering if you could have a case, contact a Tulsa nursing home abuse lawyer today.
For a free legal consultation with a Tulsa Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer serving Tulsa, call (800) 794-0444
Tulsa Nursing Home Injury Lawyer
People whose relatives live in nursing homes expect their family members to receive appropriate care. They expect employees to be well trained and compassionate. They expect staff members to address their loved ones’ physical and emotional needs with patience and respect.
Unfortunately, that is often not the case. Nursing home abuse and neglect are common, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In some cases, residents are injured by deliberate abuse committed by staff members or other residents. In other instances, residents of long-term care facilities are injured because of neglect, either intentional or unintentional.
If your loved one was hurt while living in a long-term care facility, a Tulsa nursing home injury lawyer may be able to help your family seek justice. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm has helped residents who were abused and neglected in facilities across the United States pursue financial compensation for their injuries. Call our office today to discuss your legal options with a member of our staff.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse That Can Cause Injuries
Senior citizens who live in long-term care facilities may experience abuse, such as hitting or pushing. Residents may be abused by frustrated or overwhelmed staff members or by fellow residents, including those who have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and who therefore do not understand that their actions are wrong and that they can cause harm to another person.
Surprisingly, sexual abuse is a serious problem in nursing homes, and one that is dramatically underreported, according to The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care. Residents are vulnerable due to their physical and cognitive disabilities. Some staff members prey upon people who are unable to defend themselves and who are unable to speak about what happened to them, or who are too afraid to do so. Employees are not always the abusers. In some cases, fellow residents, repair and maintenance workers, vendors, and family members and friends of other residents commit sexual abuse.
Nursing homes typically have numerous patients with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, as well as serious physical limitations. According to Human Rights Watch, staff members who feel overwhelmed by the demands of their jobs and by understaffing frequently give residents antipsychotic drugs that they do not need to keep them docile.
Abuse can cause a wide range of injuries. Physical assaults can result in bruises, cuts, scrapes, broken bones, concussions, and back and neck injuries. Sexual abuse can leave victims with bruises, bleeding, and sexually transmitted infections. Unnecessary medications can interact with prescriptions patients need and may cause serious health problems, and even death.
The emotional effects of abuse can also be traumatic. Residents may live in fear of an abuser but may worry that they could suffer even worse abuse if they were to speak out. They may feel trapped and helpless and may become withdrawn, depressed, and even suicidal.
How Nursing Home Residents Can Be Injured by Neglect
Senior citizens who live in long-term care facilities often suffer because of neglect. For example, staff members may not provide a resident with the foods that his or her doctor ordered because employees were not trained on the resident’s treatment plan. Workers may not have enough time to feed people who need assistance because of understaffing. Patients therefore may not get enough food or may be in danger of choking while eating.
Employees who are struggling to care for residents in an understaffed facility may not take residents to the bathroom as needed. A senior citizen may, therefore, develop an infection, or an individual may attempt to go to the bathroom without assistance, fall, and get injured.
Nursing home residents often take several prescription medications. They need to be carefully administered so that patients receive the right drugs in the right amounts at the right times. Due to understaffing, employees sometimes rush while administering prescriptions and make mistakes. Managers may instruct staff members who have not received appropriate training to give residents their medications due to understaffing. If an employee makes a mistake, residents can suffer serious and life-threatening injuries.
In some cases, neglect is intentional. For example, patients who are confined to bed must be moved regularly. If employees fail to follow protocols, a resident may develop painful bedsores, which can become infected and may lead to other problems.
If you believe that your family member was hurt because of abuse or neglect, a Tulsa nursing home injury lawyer may be able to obtain financial compensation. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to speak with a member of our team.
What Nursing Homes Should Do to Prevent Injuries
Long-term care facilities have a responsibility to identify potential causes of injuries and to take steps to prevent abuse and neglect. Managers should make sure that the individuals who work in their facilities have not been disciplined for abuse or neglect in the past.
Unfortunately, managers often rush through the screening process because of understaffing and high turnover rates. They may not conduct thorough background checks and may not be aware of an individual’s history of abuse and neglect, especially if the offenses occurred in another state. A nursing home that fails to perform its due diligence and that hires someone who has abused or neglected vulnerable people in the past may be held liable if that person harms others at the new facility.
Nursing homes should also have clear policies in place and should provide adequate training so that employees understand how to provide appropriate care. Staff members should be trained in standard protocols, as well as individual residents’ care plans. They should also be taught what to do if they witness abuse or neglect or suspect that a person in their care may be a victim.
Tulsa Tulsa Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
Exploring Your Legal Options
When your loved one and family decide on a nursing home as a living option, you should be able to trust that the trained staff and caregivers will treat them right. In fact, under the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, caregiving facilities are required by federal law to provide care to the best of their ability. Failure to do so is not only immoral and dangerous, it is illegal.
While you are navigating the aftermath of the abuse of your loved one, it may feel overwhelming to think about the legal process. Your loved one could be suffering physically, emotionally, and financially. During this difficult time, some victims and families could benefit from speaking with a Tulsa nursing home abuse lawyer and better understanding the path to justice. If you are interested in learning more about your legal options, call us to discuss your case in detail with a team member at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm during a free consultation.