Millions of Americans trust nursing homes to care for their elderly loved ones, but in so many cases, that trust is not honored. Although nursing homes have a legal duty to protect their residents, there are numerous ways in which they negligently fail to do so. Abuse and negligence in elderly care facilities could give rise to a claim of nursing home malpractice against the at-fault parties. If you or your family member have been abused or neglected, it’s time to speak with the experienced attorneys of Stanfield Bechtel Law.
The major types of abuse and neglect
Cases of nursing home abuse and neglect generally fall into one of four categories: physical, sexual, emotional/psychological, and financial. Many abuse victims experience more than one type. Without intervention, the abuse or neglect could last for months or even years.
Abused and neglected nursing home patients tend to have one thing in common: uninvolved family members. Infrequent family visits, or no visits at all, are roughly correlated with victimization. On the other hand, visiting and calling your loved one often, becoming well-known to the staff, and immediately reporting any problems or concerns are a few simple ways to protect your aging loved one.
Of course, even this level of vigilance cannot absolutely guarantee that your parent or other relative won’t be harmed. It’s therefore important to know how to recognize signs of abuse and neglect.
What you should look for
Each case of abuse and neglect is different, and you should immediately report (and seek legal counsel for) anything that is suspicious or unusual. But here are a few of the common signs to know about:
- Poor hygiene
- Behavioral changes
- Unexplained injuries
- Sudden or unexplained death in the absence of serious health problems
- Torn, ripped, or bloody clothing
- Unexplained sexually transmitted infections or diseases
- Bruises in the groin area and thighs
- Pain in the pelvic area
- Difficulty sitting or walking
- Reluctance to discuss potential abuse
- Panic attacks
- Withdrawal from family or social activities
- Decreased (sometimes rapidly) enjoyment of life
- Evidence of fear or intimidation in the presence of staff
- Sudden mood or behavioral changes
- Unpaid bills
- Missing property or money
- Missing financial records, such as bank statements
- Unexplained financial transactions
- Abrupt changes to an estate planning document (e.g. last will and testament)
- Suddenly adding a stranger as an estate plan beneficiary
Why does nursing home malpractice occur?
Abuse and neglect are usually rooted in something more seriously wrong with the facility. These are a few common causes of nursing home malpractice:
- An excessive focus on profit over the well-being of patients
- Financial distress that leads to lower budgets, fewer resources, and careless decision-making
- Lack of professional management of the facility
- Lack of supervision
- Poor training and inexperience
- Insufficient background checks performed on staff
Get Started on Your Nursing Home Malpractice Claim Today
If you or your loved one was abused or neglected in a nursing home facility, our legal team can represent your family in seeking monetary damages to cover medical bills and other losses. We investigate cases of abuse and neglect with an eye towards uncovering why and how they happened and who was responsible. Then, we put together a legal case to demand the most available damages for those who were harmed.
To learn more about how Stanfield Bechtel Law represents victims of nursing home malpractice, call our office today to schedule your initial consultation.