When your loved one gets older, you may find that they need professional care to maintain a high quality of life. While realizing your loved one needs help and would be safer in a nursing home can be an emotional decision, you want to ensure they’ll get the care they need. During your loved one’s time in their nursing home, you may find they’re not receiving the proper care and their health and wellbeing are suffering because of it. If the nursing home is abusing or neglecting your loved one, you can take action to protect their rights. A Biloxi nursing home abuse lawyer from Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law will stand at your side and fight for your loved one.
The Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
While nursing home abuse can be used as a blanket term to cover abuse and neglect, they do have differences. Abuse typically includes willful intent, whereas neglect is the inability to provide care. Both can be extremely detrimental to your loved one’s health and there’s no excuse for these to happen.
There are several types of abuse:
Abusive staff can cause physical harm with hitting, kicking, or handling too roughly. Physical abuse can result in bruises, cuts, or broken bones. Emotional abuse usually happens when staff isolate residents or insult them. Some may take advantage of your loved one’s finances and steal from them. Another form of abuse includes sexual assault.
It’s also possible for other residents to be abusive. If another resident is harming your loved one, the nursing home should still recognize this abuse and take measures to keep your loved one safe.
If you begin to notice physical injuries that no one can explain or if your loved one is acting strangely, that could indicate that something is wrong. While your loved one may have a condition that means they won’t be lucid every time you see them, you may notice they seem more withdrawn, fearful, or they seem to be out of it more often than usual. It’s also important to know that your loved one may not be able to voice the abuse they’re facing. They could have difficulty communicating or they may be afraid of retaliation from the abuser.
The Dangers of Falls and Bed Sores in Neglectful Nursing Homes
When a nursing home is neglecting their residents, they are putting them in danger of sustaining serious injuries. Many seniors may need help with mobility and could be at risk of falling. When a senior falls, they can get a traumatic brain injury or break other bones. If they sustain a hip fracture, they may experience a long recovery. The main worry about hip fractures is infection—the senior will likely need to be hospitalized while they recover.
Staff members that don’t prevent a fall may also not know a resident is injured. If there aren’t enough staff to regularly check in on residents, your loved one could be left on the ground for an extended amount of time. This can be dangerous if they’re seriously injured and need immediate medical attention.
Another sign of a neglectful nursing home is bed sores. If a resident is in their bed or sitting most of the day, the staff needs to regularly shift their position or add cushions to reduce the pressure on the same areas. If residents are left in the same position, they can develop pressure sores or bed sores. They can be extremely painful and if they’re left unattended for too long, the sores can become infected and require surgery to fix. Common areas where sores can develop include:
If the sores have the following symptoms, it’s important to get medical attention:
- Pus-like draining
- Tender areas
- Skin has unusual color or texture
- Skin as different temperature compared to other areas
Now that you know the types of abuse and what can indicate that abuse or neglect is happening, you may want to learn about the factors that protect seniors from abuse.
What Are the Protective Factors for Elder Abuse?
According to the CDC, there are certain factors that can help protect your loved one from abuse. They include:
- Multiple strong relationships with different types of people
- Resources and services for the elderly population and for caregivers
- Strong sense of community
- A high level of community functionality and collective efficacy
Within an institution, they can protect their residents with the following measures:
- Effective monitoring systems
- Policies and procedures for patient care
- Regular employee training on elder abuse and neglect
- Education and guidance on durable power of attorney
- Regular visits from loved ones, volunteers, and social workers
Keeping your loved one connected and in a home that has a strong stance on safety procedures and educating their staff can reduce the chances of abuse or neglect occurring.
As you visit your loved one in their home, keep an eye out for any signs of abuse or neglect, but also consider speaking with other families or staff. You can speak to other families about what they think about the care their loved one is receiving. If you have any questions about your loved one’s care, you can ask staff members. If you feel they’ve answered your question and were polite and engaged, then this can indicate they’re focused on your loved one’s care. Vague answers or feeling like you’ve been brushed off may show your loved one’s needs aren’t being prioritized.
Take the facility’s cleanliness into account as well. If it’s well-maintained and clean, then your loved one is living in a sanitary environment that is both dignified and also reduces the spread of germs. Visiting during less busy times can give you a better idea of the day-to-day status of the home.
Seek Justice for Your Loved One
While it can be devastating to learn your loved one has been abused or neglected, you can take steps to hold the nursing home accountable. Before you do that, it’s important to get your loved one to a safe environment. If you’re concerned about your loved one’s immediate safety, call 911. Once they are in a safe place, you should get in touch with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer for a free case evaluation.
Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law will fight for your loved one to get full and fair compensation for what they’ve been through. The abuse or neglect may have caused significant injuries that needed medical care as well as pain and suffering. We’ll carefully investigate what happened and gather all the necessary evidence so we can maximize compensation for your loved one. We can work together to help your loved one put this behind them and look toward the future with financial security.