There comes a time in many people’s lives when they have to entrust the health and well-being of elderly loved ones to the care of nursing home facilities. Nursing homes have legal obligations to provide for the physical, emotional, and psychosocial needs of residents. This entails feeding residents nutritious meals, taking care of their medical concerns, and making sure they are as happy as possible in their new quarters. It is a reality that some nursing homes dismiss these duties of care, and even go so far as to abuse their residents. The dedicated and caring Burmingham personal injury attorneys at Powers Injury Law can help you identify and fight against nursing home abuse.
Types and Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
In many cases, your loved one may not talk about abuse outright so you should pay attention for signs of abuse. It is up to you to visit your relative regularly and detect changes in appearance, health, mood, and behavior that could point to nursing home abuse or neglect. There are four main types of elder abuse, each with its own signs and red flags:
- Physical abuse. This can include slapping, shoving, bruising, scratching, biting, burning, or improper use of restraints. Look for signs of physical abuse such as hand-shaped marks or unexplained injuries/trips to the hospital.
- Emotional or psychological abuse. Caregivers may shout, yell, degrade, threaten, repeatedly ignore, or keep elderly persons isolated to inflict emotional harm. Signs include sudden changes in behavior, depression, anxiety, and withdrawal from daily activities.
- Sexual abuse. Check for bloody or stained undergarments, difficulty walking/sitting, bruising on the thighs, or injuries to genitalia. Sexual abuse can also result in psychological harm such as feelings of self-loathing, shame, guilt, or suicidal thoughts.
- Financial abuse. Nursing home staff may take advantage of residents to threaten, coerce, or deceive them into signing wills, checks, or giving away assets. Look for sudden changes in your loved one’s bank account, generous gifts to strangers, or unexplained changes to wills.
Nursing homes may also neglect residents, leaving them in isolation or failing to take care of their needs. Nursing home neglect can lead to bedsores, malnutrition, feelings of depression, and other such harms. Look for signs of neglect such as dirty or unsanitary premises, unkempt residents, unchanged adult diapers, or the development of preventable health conditions. As soon as you suspect elder abuse, contact the authorities and report the nursing home. Then, speak to a capable Birmingham attorney.
Putting an End to Elder Abuse, One Lawsuit at a Time
The first step in the battle against abuse of the elderly is discovering a problem exists. Listen to your elderly loved one and take allegations of abuse seriously. Do not dismiss pleas for help as part of a mental illness or condition without a proper examination into the actions of staff members. If necessary, request a police officer to conduct an official investigation into your loved one’s story. Fear of not being believed keeps the majority of elder abuse victims quiet about their traumas, forcing them to suffer in silence.
The moment you suspect something is amiss at your loved one’s nursing home, remove your loved one from the facility and contact us. We can come to your location to discuss your case during a free consultation. We want to hear about what’s going on with your elderly friend or relative, and use the resources at our disposal to uncover and put an end to heinous nursing home abuse. Your loved one may be eligible to receive compensation, including punitive damages for gross or reckless negligence. If you suspect your loved one’s death was caused by nursing home abuse, our Birmingham wrongful death lawyers are also here to help. Don’t hesitate to call (205) 582-2723 to get in touch with Powers Injury Law.