You should never have to discover that your loved one is the victim of abuse. Elder abuse in nursing homes occurs across the country. Nursing home abuse is not always intentional. For instance, Texas’ Health and Human Services (HHS) considers “performing a two-person transfer with only one person” an example of elderly abuse since it can increase the likelihood of injury.
If you suspect someone is abusing your spouse or parent, A Fort Worth nursing home abuse lawyer can help you seek compensation for their injury and pain and suffering. Find out more about nursing home abuse by contacting Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336.
What Nursing Home Abuse Is
Abusers often target the elderly due to their frailty and decreasing mental acuity. Nursing home residents are particularly susceptible since they are away from their families. Since seniors are living in residence, it can feel like they are trapped with whoever is abusing them.
The federal Nursing Home Reform Act states nursing homes must provide a safe environment where residents are free from abuse. Such facilities should foster their residents’ physical and mental well-being.
When nursing homes renege on their responsibilities, abuse can take several forms.
Actions that result in pain or injury are physical abuse. These acts can include hitting, slapping, and kicking, as well as pinching, burning, and mutilating. Physical and medical restraints may also become physical abuse when someone uses them to harm instead of protect the resident.
Although hard to imagine anyone hurting a senior, physical abuse can occur when the staff is overworked and stressed. Nursing homes are often understaffed, and workers have long hours with heavy workloads. This can lead staff members to become impatient, worn out, and frustrated.
Some abusers specifically select employment with vulnerable populations like senior citizens. A sole staff member may target one resident to hurt and abuse. It is the facility’s responsibility to protect its residents and check a new employee’s background thoroughly.
For a free legal consultation with a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer serving Fort Worth, call (800) 794-0444
Your loved one may be a victim of sexual abuse if someone touched them sexually without their consent. Sexual contact with someone unable to give consent is also abuse. Examples of sexual abuse include rape, sexual assault, and sodomy.
Sexual abuse includes non-touching assaults, such as forced nudity. Many duties of nursing home workers are intimate, like bathing, dressing, and toileting. A worker may exploit a senior during these times. They may have made them stay nude for longer than needed or prevent them from dressing themselves. Photographing residents for sexually explicit pictures is also abuse.
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Verbal or Emotional Abuse
Although not physical, verbal abuse can cause pain and anguish. Verbal abuse includes yelling at a resident, insulting them, and subjecting patients to harassing behavior. The abuse can result in humiliation, intimidation, and mental deterioration.
Examples of emotional abuse include social isolation, withholding information, and ignoring the resident. The abuser may lock your spouse or parent in their room during group activities as punishment. This abuse can significantly affect your loved one’s physical health.
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Signs of financial abuse can include higher nursing home bills or an unexplained change in shopping items. Nursing homes and workers can take advantage of your loved one’s finances. A nursing home may bill you for services that the resident never received. Likewise, staff who have access to seniors’ credit cards may make purchases for themselves. Another type of financial abuse is the theft of personal items.
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Abuse by Neglect
Neglect in nursing homes means not meeting the basic human needs of the residents, such as nutrition and hygiene. The results of being neglected often appear the same as physical and emotional abuse. For instance, immobile seniors left for too long in their bed can get bruises and sores. They can also develop an infection from soiling themselves.
Neglect may be traumatic but not intentional. Understaffed nursing homes cannot provide adequate care. It remains, however, the facility’s responsibility to meet each resident’s basic needs.
Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits
If someone hurt your family member in a nursing home, and you want to file a suit, an attorney can help gather evidence to support a claim. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to see how a Fort Worth Nursing Home abuse lawyer can help you determine what type of evidence will strengthen your case. Some examples of evidence used in a nursing home abuse lawsuit include:
- Testimony from other residents or staff members
- Video footage from security cameras
- Medical records
- Professional testimony
- Bank records
- Photos of abuse
In some cases, abusers may make the attack look like an accident. A staff member may push a resident and claim they fell. Testimony from witnesses and video recordings could confirm the attack.
Compensation for Damages
While no amount of money is worth the abuse, compensation from a lawsuit can help you relocate your loved one to a better facility. It can also reimburse you or your family member for unnecessary medical expenses.
If your loved one died as a result of the abuse, you can sue for economic damages, like burial and funeral costs. You may also be able to seek compensation for noneconomic damages, like pain and suffering.
Nursing homes are responsible for their employees’ actions. If a staff member was abusing your loved one, you may be eligible to seek compensation from the facility. Furthermore, since the nursing home administration is responsible for managing staffing issues, the nursing home can be liable for neglect for having an understaffed facility.
A nursing home is a business, and businesses protect themselves from lawsuits with insurance. Insurance companies will negotiate the lowest settlement possible, trying to use the law in their favor. A Fort Worth Nursing Home abuse lawyer can fight on your behalf. Speak with a representative from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm about your potential lawsuit by calling (800) 842-6336.