Millions of older Americans live in nursing homes, and with our rapidly aging population, the number of people in residential care facilities will increase. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect is a genuine problem.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), almost half of 2,000 nursing home residents interviewed experienced abuse, and 95% reported neglect of themselves or another resident.
In New Jersey, the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program investigated 3,316 reports of abuse or neglect in 2018 and closed out another 2,903 complaints made to the program.
It can devastate someone to learn that their parent, spouse, or other loved one has suffered abuse or neglect at the hands of the facility charged with their care. Abuse and neglect are both illegal and morally wrong.
If your loved one suffered harm because of nursing home abuse and neglect, you could hold those responsible for their injuries accountable for their wrongdoing. A Newark nursing home abuse lawyer may be able to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to discuss your case with a team member.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Elder abuse can lead to psychological harm and serious physical injuries, even death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), abuse can take several forms.
This category includes any physical harm or force intentionally inflicted on the resident by nursing home staff. The abuse could consist of hitting, pushing, slapping, excessively rough handling, burning, kicking, or any other type of violence.
Emotional or Psychological Abuse
These are verbal and non-verbal behaviors that cause fear, distress, anguish, or anxiety. Examples of this type of abuse might include threats, harassment, and social isolation.
Any unwanted or forced sexual contact, this type of abuse includes improper touching, sexual harassment, or coercion to perform sexual acts.
This type of nursing home abuse occurs when a staff member steals a resident’s money, belongings, property, or other assets. Examples include stealing a resident’s valuables (e.g., jewelry) or Social Security benefits.
Neglect happens when nursing home staff fails to meet a resident’s basic needs for clothing, shelter, hygiene, or medical care. Sometimes, neglect is unintentional, though no less harmful. Unintentional neglect can happen because of overworked or poorly trained staff.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Many nursing home residents need care because they suffer from chronic physical conditions or decreased cognitive functioning. Because of their health problems, many residents depend on others for their care and may be unable to protect themselves against abuse and neglect. They may be unable to report abuse or afraid that telling someone will lead to retaliation.
Recognizing the signs of abuse and neglect is one of the best ways you can protect your loved one. Nursing home abuse attorneys warn that the following might all serve as warnings of problems with their care:
- Unexplained cuts, bruises, burns, or scars
- Lack of assistance with mobility
- Excessive falls and accidents
- Malnourishment or dehydration
- Poor hygiene (e.g., lack of dental care or dirty hair and clothing)
- Weight loss
- Lack of assistance with using the toilet
- Failure to change soiled diapers
Changes in your loved one’s behavior may also signal abuse. Watch for signs of depression, trauma (like rocking back and forth), lack of interest in activities they used to enjoy, difficulty sleeping, or violent or aggressive behavior.
If you suspect your loved one suffers from abuse or neglect, you should report it to the nursing home’s administration. Make sure you make a written, detailed, and dated account. You may also want to submit the report to local law enforcement, adult protective services, or an agency that advocates for the elderly.
In New Jersey, you can file a complaint online with the Department of Health, which regulates nursing home facilities, or call (800) 792-9770. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you believe your loved one may have suffered because of abuse and neglect, Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may be able to help you investigate your claims and seek compensation. Contact our team for more information.
For a free legal consultation with a personal injury lawyer serving Newark, call (800) 794-0444
What You Can Recover
A Newark nursing home abuse lawyer can help you seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses: This includes awards for doctor’s visits, hospital stays, medications, surgeries, physical therapy, ongoing treatments, and any other medical costs incurred because of your loved one’s injury.
- Pain and suffering: Your loved one could receive compensation for their physical pain, mental anguish, stress, anxiety, and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Personal property: If a staff member stole or damaged your loved one’s property, a nursing home abuse lawyer could help you recover monetary damages.
- Wrongful death: If your loved one died because of injuries caused by abuse or neglect, you might be able to seek compensation on their behalf, as well as awards for your pain and suffering.
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Newark Nursing Home Accident Lawyer
Elderly nursing home residents involved in accidents can experience severe—even deadly—health consequences. Accidents can lead to broken bones, hip fractures, and traumatic brain injuries, among other serious injuries.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injury-related death nationally among people 65 and older. In Massachusetts, a Department of Public Health report found that 18 percent of fall deaths happened to seniors living in nursing home facilities.
Deaths from falls are on the rise among our elderly population, increasing more than 30 percent from 2007 to 2016. To decrease the risk of accidents, nursing home staff should become aware of residents’ fall risks.
Accidents, especially if they happen repeatedly, also could serve as signs of nursing home abuse. Whether your loved one suffered injuries because of negligence or intentional wrongdoing, a Newark nursing home accident lawyer may be able to help. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to receive a free case review with a team member.
The Dangers of Falls and How to Prevent Them
Falls are one of the most common and preventable nursing home accidents. According to the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, between 10 and 25 percent of falls in nursing homes result in fractures or hospitalization. Every year, falls result in:
- Three million emergency department visits for older adults.
- More than 800,000 hospitalizations.
- At least 300,000 hip fractures.
- More than $50 billion in medical costs.
Falls cause more than 95 percent of hip fractures and are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries. Broken wrists, ankles, and other fractures are common fall injuries.
Nursing homes can prevent many accidents at their facilities. Staff can help avert falls and other accidents by:
- Assisting residents with mobility.
- Monitoring the effects of medications.
- Enforcing safety policies.
- Making sure residents stay active to maintain their strength and balance.
- Keeping their environment safe and hazard-free.
Sometimes, frequent accidents and falls could provide warning signs of more serious issues with your loved one’s care. In some cases, they could signify nursing home abuse and neglect. If your loved one suffered injuries in a nursing home accident, a Newark nursing home accident lawyer with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm could help you investigate your claims. Call now to get started.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Nursing home abuse and neglect is a problem for too many of our nation’s seniors. One study of 2,000 nursing home residents found that 44 percent reported being abused, while 95 percent had either experienced or witnessed neglect. In another study, 50 percent of nursing home staff admitted to mistreating residents during the previous year.
Abuse can take many forms: physical, phycological, sexual, or financial. Neglect is another form of abuse, though sometimes, it is unintentional. Neglect, defined as failing to meet a resident’s basic needs, can happen when overworked or undertrained nursing home staff care for residents.
Excessive instances of accidents and falls could indicate your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect. Other warning signs include:
- Unexplained injuries, like cuts, bruises, and burns.
- Lack of assistance with mobility.
- Malnourishment and dehydration.
- Lack of hygiene, such as poor dental care and bathing.
- Dirty hair and clothing.
- Lack of assistance using the bathroom.
- Failure to change soiled disposable diapers.
- Weight loss.
Abuse also can manifest in psychological symptoms that include:
- Behavioral changes
- Acting withdrawn
- Acting violent and aggressive
- Difficulty sleeping
- Lack of interest in activities
You should report suspected abuse and neglect to nursing home administrators. You should make a detailed, written, dated account of any suspected abuse. You may want to file the report with the local police, adult protective services, or the state Department of Health, which regulates nursing home facilities. If you witness abuse as it happens, or the situation is an emergency, call 911.
What You Might Recover in a Lawsuit
If your parent, spouse, or other loved one suffered injuries in a nursing home accident, a Newark nursing home accident lawyer could help you seek compensation. You may seek awards for:
- Medical expenses: A lawyer can help you pursue awards to cover any medical costs associated with your loved one’s accident, including emergency department visits, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, ongoing treatments, and more.
- Pain and suffering: You may seek compensation for your loved one’s physical pain and emotional distress, including compensation for stress, anxiety, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment for life, or loss of mobility.
- Wrongful death: If your loved one died because of an accident at a Newark nursing home, you might be entitled to sue on their behalf. You can also seek compensation for your pain and suffering.
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Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Can Help
When you put your loved one in a nursing home, you expect them to be treated with kindness, dignity, and respect. It is horrible to learn that they were subjected to abuse by those you entrusted with their care.
The team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm has fought nursing home abuse and neglect since 1985. We believe no one should be allowed to harm some of the most vulnerable members of our society, and we are here to help you seek justice for your loved one.
Our Newark nursing home abuse lawyers can help you through every step of your case, from filing your claims to gathering evidence and representing you in court. Our firm works on a contingency basis, so you pay nothing out-of-pocket and nothing upfront. We only receive a fee if we achieve a settlement for you. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm risk-free to discuss your case with a member of our team.