When families can no longer provide for the needs of their aging loved ones, they often turn to nursing homes for help. As the National Institute on Aging (NIA) states, nursing homes must provide medical and personal care services to each resident, including 24-hour supervision, three meals each day, and help with daily tasks. Unfortunately, not all nursing homes provide residents with even these basic services, and some even treat them in a manner that leads to serious illnesses or injuries.
Selecting a nursing home for yourself or your loved one can present many challenges, and although many compassionate nursing homes exist, families often find it difficult to recognize those that do not meet quality care standards. Nursing home neglect and abuse often take place in the absence of friends and family, so they may occur for some time before you realize what has happened.
If you suffered because of the substandard care of a nursing home or suspect that your loved one has experienced neglect or abuse, a Columbus nursing home injury lawyer can help. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 842-6336 to speak with our team about how we can provide you with legal assistance.
Neglect and Abuse in Nursing Homes Often Lead to Injury
Both intentional mistreatment and the omission of care can lead to serious health and safety issues, particularly among elderly residents who require assistance for mobility, using the bathroom, eating, and other daily activities. When left to their own devices, residents may fall victim to medical conditions such as bedsores or attempt to do things for themselves, which can result in an injury.
The Dangers of Nursing Home Neglect
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), neglect refers to the refusal or failure of nursing home staff to fulfill their duties to residents, including basic needs such as food, clothing, medicine, and supervision so as to avoid mental anguish, mental illness, and physical harm or pain. Examples of neglect include a lack of assistance with:
- Dental care, handwashing, bathing, going to the bathroom, and other hygiene needs
- Moving around the nursing home
- Turning or shifting in bed
- Medical care, including medicine and wound treatment
- Eating or drinking
- Helping residents manage their tasks as independently as possible
- Calls for help
When nursing home staff neglects residents, the development and spread of illness and infection accounts for one of the primary concerns, especially considering the decreased immune systems of older people. According to the NCBI, the number of infections (2 million) that occur in nursing homes in the United States each year exceeds the annual total population of the nursing homes (1.5 million). Those aged 65 or older account for nearly 9 one in ten residents, and their contraction of infection increases the rate of hospitalization and mortality.
The Effects of Abuse on Nursing Home Residents
Unlike neglect, abuse always occurs willfully. Inflicting physical, psychological, or emotional harm on nursing home staff involves the decision to make residents feel pain by:
- Yelling, harassing, or humiliating
- Handling residents aggressively
- Making threats
- Speaking disrespectfully to residents
- Slapping, kicking, or hitting
In some cases, particularly those involving verbal violence, residents do not display physical signs of abuse. Other times, they may suffer serious injuries as a result of the mistreatment, such as bruises, burns, lacerations, and broken bones. If nursing home staff abused you or a loved one, a Columbus nursing home injury lawyer can help you hold the nursing home accountable. Contact the Pintas & Mullins Law Firm legal team today.
Common Victims of Nursing Home Abuse
Although men account for some of the victims of nursing home abuse, the staff more often abuse women, particularly those who do not have frequent visitors or nearby friends and family. Those with disabilities or memory problems, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, also have a higher risk of suffering abuse. In fact, Human Rights Watch (HRW) addresses the issue of overmedicating those with diseases that affect memory, as they can lead to aggression and agitation. In response, they found that many nursing homes push antipsychotic drug use as a way to subdue residents and keep them quiet, despite the fact that they do not have a mental illness.
For a free legal consultation with a Nursing Home Injury Lawyer serving Columbus, call (800) 794-0444
Signs that Your Loved One May Suffer from Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse
You may not notice right away that your loved one has suffered abuse and neglect, but certain red flags can point to the issue as a possibility. Some signs of nursing home abuse include:
- Emotional or physical changes, such as suddenly acting withdrawn or suffering from unexplained injuries
- Refusal of staff to answer questions or address concerns regarding resident care
- Signs of staff disorganization or inadequacy, such as a chaotic environment or high employee turnover
- Resident fearfulness regarding specific members of their care team
- Unanswered calls for assistance
- Failure of the nursing home to respond to concerns to improve care for residents
Sometimes, you may just have a bad feeling that your loved one does not receive sufficient care. While this does not always indicate abuse or neglect, you may find it worthwhile to look into your concerns and note how your loved one and the nursing home address them.
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Nursing Home Residents Have a Right to Quality Care
The AARP summarizes the key legislation established in the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 (NHRA), a federal act that mandates the rights of all nursing home residents in the United States. According to the NHRA, every resident has a right to treatment with dignity and respect, including freedom from all forms of abuse, the accommodation of all personal and medical needs, the ability to make their own decisions regarding their care when possible, and the right to file grievances about their care without having to fear retribution. If a nursing home deprived you or your loved one of these rights, a Columbus nursing home injury lawyer can assist you in seeking financial recovery in your case.
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Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Can Help You with Your Nursing Home Injury Case
Nursing home injuries can cause physical, emotional, and even financial instability. Cases against nursing homes often involve complex legal processes that may intimidate victims and their families, but a lawyer can help them move forward with their claim and pursue the financial awards they deserve. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm anytime at (800) 842-6336 so we can begin an investigation into your case as soon as possible.