The decision to place an older family member in a nursing home is often stressful and heartbreaking for families. They want to care for their parent, grandparent, or other relatives at home, but the person’s round-the-clock needs have simply become too difficult to handle while still managing other life responsibilities.
Families research care facilities carefully and trust the one they choose to care for their loved one in the same kind and loving manner that they would do themselves.
Unfortunately, neglect and abuse of nursing home residents are not uncommon. If you suspect that a loved one is a victim, speak to an experienced nursing home neglect lawyer at Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm today.
Types Of Injuries Caused By Nursing Home Abuse
Victims of nursing home abuse or neglect may feel too ashamed to say anything to their family. The staff may have also threatened the resident not to tell anyone or the treatment would get even worse.
Be sure to watch for these common types of injuries reported to Manhattan nursing home neglect attorneys:
- Bedsores: A bedsore can occur when a person is confined to bed and nurses or aides do not reposition the patient often enough. If the staff notices a bedsore, it is that person’s responsibility to notify a supervisor and to treat the bedsore so it does not become worse or cause an infection.
- Fractures: A fall causing a bone fracture can occur when staff fails to provide proper supervision or handles a resident too roughly. The nursing home administration should evaluate every new resident upon admission to determine his or her fall risk and put measures in place to prevent them.
- Infection: Infectious diseases can spread quickly in a communal living setting when staff fails to sterilize medical equipment or routinely wash their hands. When an infection occurs due to negligence or any other reason, staff must recognize and treat it immediately to prevent the resident from developing a serious injury.
- Sexual abuse: A Nursing home resident who has dementia or a limited ability to speak can become targets of staff taking advantage of their vulnerability to commit acts of sexual abuse. Although it is hard to imagine this horror, it is a leading reason for families to contact a nursing home abuse law firm for help in filing a lawsuit.
- Suffocation: The most typical causes of suffocation in a nursing home include choking on food and becoming tangled in blankets or bedrails. These situations deprive the resident of critical oxygen that can lead to death without immediate intervention.
Death is the worst possible outcome of these or other injuries caused by nursing home abuse or neglect. If you have suffered the loss of a loved one through the negligent or criminal actions of nursing home staff, you may retain a nursing home malpractice attorney to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Different Types Of Nursing Home Abuse Or Neglect
Nursing home abuse or neglect can take many forms and need not be overt to harm residents. For example, not putting away a medication cart poses a tripping hazard. The facility must have standards in place and insist that staff follow them to keep everyone safe.
Some other common examples of nursing home abuse include:
- Dehydration or malnutrition: This can occur when the staff fails to take each resident’s unique dietary needs into consideration or seek nutritional intervention to purposely deny residents food.
- Distraction: When staff is checking their phones, socializing with co-workers, or even sleeping, it is impossible to provide residents with the care and supervision they deserve.
- Illegal use of restraints: Nursing home staff has no right to use a chemical or physical restraint for their own convenience. If used at all, it must be for a specific purpose and the staff must have received explicit permission from the resident’s doctor and family.
- Improper supervision leading to wandering and elopement: People with dementia are especially prone to wandering due to a confused state of mind. Staff must recognize who is at risk and take the appropriate measures to prevent a resident from becoming lost or hurt while unsupervised.
- Medication error: It is incumbent upon staff to give each person only the medication meant for them and in the correct dosage.
When Is A Nursing Home Liable For Elder Abuse And Neglect?
Nursing home administration may not have committed an abusive or negligent act themselves. However, they can be the subject of an investigation by nursing home malpractice attorneys when they contribute to the problem through one or more of these actions:
- Negligence in hiring or inadequate training: Nursing home administration must ensure that the staff they hire has the experience and education necessary for the job. They must also conduct a background investigation to rule out potential employees with a criminal record, particularly those who have abused a vulnerable adult in the past. Employees must also receive initial and ongoing training to ensure they have the skills to care for residents properly.
- Third-party claim: The nursing home may be liable for injuries caused by other parties such as when one resident attacks another due to not having proper security measures in place.
- Understaffing: The nursing home must have enough staff members to ensure that every resident receives the proper care. Staff shortage not only threatens resident safety, but it also leads overburdened workers to burnout and the inability to feel compassion for those in their care.
You do not need to have a specific incident in mind to contact a nursing home neglect attorney. Every person who resides in such a facility has the right to dignity, privacy, and personal autotomy. You may have a case of nursing home malpractice if you feel the staff repeatedly denies these basic rights to your loved one.
How To Protect Nursing Home Residents
The best thing you can do is be aware that the potential for abuse or neglect exists, especially among the vulnerable elderly who can do nothing to prevent or report it. Look for signs of problems such as soiled clothes, heightened fear in your family member, rapid weight loss, and fresh bruises. If you suspect abuse or neglect, report it immediately to the nursing home administrator, the New York State Health and Human Services Department, and your family member’s doctor. Never confront the staff directly.
You will need to collect evidence to prove that elder abuse has taken place. This could include photographs, saving soiled clothes, recording mistreatment that you see, and anything else that can help to clearly demonstrate that actions of nursing home staff caused your loved one’s injuries. If you feel dissatisfied with the response to your claim, contact our nursing home abuse firm as soon as possible. Keep in mind that you will need to have legal guardianship of your loved one to proceed with a claim if he or she does not have the mental capacity to do so independently.
Speak With A New York Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today
When an elderly or disabled loved one is injured in a nursing home, the first thing families want is answers. We will evaluate your concerns from a legal perspective and, when appropriate, investigate the circumstances of your loved one’s injury.
Our New York nursing home attorneys work with individuals and families of those injured in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. We invite you to learn more about why clients choose us.