When a loved one is too ill or elderly to live safely alone, you may have to make some difficult decisions. While at-home care is feasible for some, it is not an option for everyone, particularly those who require around-the-clock medical supervision. In this case, you may need to relocate your family member to a nursing home.
Nursing homes can provide a safe, caring, and supportive environment where residents receive the medical supervision and individualized attention necessary to address their ailments and maintain a high quality of life. When you move your loved one to a care facility, you will expect the staff to be competent, compassionate, and respectful. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Sometimes, nursing homes fail to live up to expectations. The results can be tragic and sometimes fatal. Patients may suffer from severe illnesses, injuries, emotional trauma, or financial destitution. Often, this results from a nursing home cutting corners and putting profit before patients, leading to understaffing, incompetent, overworked, or burnt-out staff, inadequate facilities, and insufficient health and safety protocols.
At least one out of six people in the 60-plus population are abused every year in a community-living situation, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
In Louisiana and the United States, residents have basic rights, including the right to a duty of care by their providers. When nursing homes fail to treat residents with the dignity and respect they deserve, they must be held accountable for their actions.
If your loved one has suffered in their nursing home, a Louisiana nursing home abuse lawyer may be able to support you in this challenging time. Everyone deserves to be treated with care and compassion, particularly those most vulnerable.
Unfortunately, vulnerable populations are often those most susceptible to mistreatment. A lawyer can assist you in seeking justice for your family and financial compensation for your losses. Get in touch with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to discuss your options.
Examples of Nursing Home Abuse
Elder abuse can take many forms. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), the definition varies across disciplines and locations. However, nursing home abuse encompasses physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, as well as neglect, abandonment, self-neglect, and financial exploitation.
Physical abuse accounts for a significant number of reported cases. Physical injuries can occur as a result of staff handling a patient roughly or forcefully or kicking, hitting, or shoving. Staff may try to dismiss these injuries as a result of a patient’s clumsiness or unexplained falls. Common physical injuries include:
● Head injuries
● Internal injuries
Emotional abuse can include bullying, harassment, humiliation, coercion, intimidation, yelling, or isolation. It can be difficult to spot emotional abuse, as there may not be physical evidence. However, common symptoms to watch for include:
● Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
● Fearfulness (especially around particular staff members or residents)
● Inhibited speech
Sexual abuse is any non-consensual sexual contact, including staff members exposing themselves to the victim or the abuser forcing the patient to disrobe. Like emotional abuse, it is not always easy to detect. If you notice any unexplained changes in behavior or personality, it is important to investigate, as this may indicate abuse. Some signs of sexual abuse include:
● Difficulty sitting or walking
● Recurring urinary tract infections
● Unexplained pelvic bleeding or pain
● PTSD symptoms
● Bruises or skin irritation in the genital or buttock region
Financial exploitation can involve stealing from the victim or illegally using their assets, resources, or personal property. This can include forcing the victim to sign documents, such as a power of attorney, or forcing them to make changes to their will to benefit the abuser.
Signs may include unexplained credit card purchases or bank withdrawals, identity theft, forged checks, fraudulent billing, and missing possessions like jewelry or cash.
It is part of a nursing home’s duty of care to patients to ensure their basic needs are met, including providing a hygienic, safe, and comfortable environment, clean clothing, and sufficient food and water. Neglect, another of the most common types of nursing home abuse, falls into two categories: general and medical.
General neglect often occurs as a result of a nursing home being understaffed or overcrowded. Signs of general neglect include dirty bedding or clothing, poor hygiene, dehydration, or malnutrition.
Medical neglect involves failing to provide necessary medical care. In some cases, these situations may fall under the scope of medical malpractice. Signs of medical negligence can include bedsores, undiagnosed or untreated illnesses, medication errors, failure to provide preventative care, or secondary infections.
Nursing Homes in Louisiana
Based on criteria and data from 2020 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Louisiana has 275 nursing facilities. Of those, only 4 received five-star ratings. Most received one- or two-star ratings. Criteria include health inspections, staffing, and physical and medical quality measures.
If your loved one’s nursing home is one of the homes with a lower rating due to their cleanliness, staff quality, and medical care, this might contribute as evidence to show a history of the facility’s neglect. A Louisiana nursing home abuse lawyer from our firm might be able to help you find out about the facility’s history.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Nursing home abuse can be traumatic for victims as well as their families. In addition to the physical and emotional suffering, you may be stressed when faced with medical bills and the need to quickly make alternate arrangements for a better-quality residence for your family member.
While no amount of money can replace your family member’s well-being or your peace of mind, financial awards may help your family recover from this painful period and move forward for a better tomorrow.
If your family has been affected by nursing home abuse in Louisiana, a Louisiana nursing home abuse lawyer may be able to help. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336 to speak with a staff member to arrange a free consultation.