Do I Need a Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer?
No one likes the thought of having to place a loved one in a nursing home. It is hard for everyone involved. When you do need to take that step, you are putting your trust in the nursing home to provide a safe and comfortable environment for your family member. Unfortunately, some nursing homes violate this trust. As a result of abuse and neglect, a loved one can be injured or even die.
Will my loved one be abused in a nursing home?
To maximize profits, nursing homes are increasingly hiring employees who are not qualified or properly trained to take care of elderly patients. Many times, this leads to abuse and neglect of the nursing home residents. Management is sometimes aware of this problem but they either turn a blind eye to it, or complain to a regional manager who does nothing about it.
Mobile, AL law firm Braswell Murphy, LLC fights for the rights of nursing home residents. When family members bring their concerns to us, we are determined to make the abuse or neglect stop and hold the offending parties responsible. In a recent case, we recovered in excess of $1,000,000 for a family whose mother died as a result of overmedication while living in a nursing home.
If you think a loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing home, contact us for a free case evaluation with an experienced Mobile, AL nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer. We handle cases throughout Alabama and Mississippi.
What should I do if I suspect my loved one is being neglected or abused?
Many times, a loved one in a nursing home may be too frightened to tell someone about abuse or neglect. Or a loved one may be unable to speak out due to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
You can help your loved one by looking for signs of abuse and neglect.
If something doesn’t seem right to you, take notes. Document any new sores or bruises. Note any changes in your loved one’s behavior or appearance. Check to see if anything is missing from your loved one’s room. Pay attention to how your loved ones react to staff members.
Take your concerns to the nursing home administrator. Then contact a lawyer experienced in nursing home cases for legal guidance. We offer a free case evaluation and can advise you on how we can help.
What are examples of abuse in nursing homes?
In order to qualify as intentional nursing home abuse, a nursing home caregiver must intentionally inflict pain, injury or mental anguish on a vulnerable nursing home resident. The caregiver intended to inflict harm. There are different types of abuse.
Physical abuse can be anything from assault and battery to rape. It can also be forced restraint, either physically or by using medications. Common types of abuse in nursing homes include hitting, slapping, pushing or sexual assault. Other forms of physical abuse include forcing residents to eat or depriving them of food and water as punishment. Residents may also be punished through overmedicating or physically harmed through medication errors in nursing homes.
There can also be emotional abuse. This includes humiliating residents, calling them names or making threats. Other forms of emotional abuse include ignoring a resident, placing him or her in isolation or preventing contact by family members.
What are examples of neglect in nursing homes?
Nursing home neglect occurs when a caregiver fails to do something, and a resident is harmed as a result. By law, nursing home caregivers must supply residents with food, clothing, shelter, health care and other services needed to maintain a resident’s mental and physical health. Common types of nursing home neglect include failure to provide medication, failure to change soiled bedding, failure to answer call lights in a timely manner, and failure to bathe and groom residents.
What are signs of nursing home abuse and neglect?
Family members can usually tell if something is wrong with their loved one but they may not be able to connect it to abuse or neglect. There are usually some signs that your loved one isn’t being treated well. In general, if something seems wrong, something probably is wrong.
Some warning signs of nursing home abuse are obvious. A loved one has burns or abrasions, cuts, bruises, open wounds or bedsores (also called pressure wounds or decubitus ulcers). He or she may experience sudden weight loss or have poor hygiene from being left lying in feces or urine for long periods of time. There may be torn, stained or bloody clothes or bedding.
Other signs aren’t so obvious. A loved one may become unresponsive or listless. You may notice strange behavior, especially directed at one staff member. There may be strange odors coming from within the nursing home. Their personal items may disappear. Money may go missing or there may be unusual financial transactions in their accounts. A loved one may seem physically or emotionally withdrawn.
Common warning signs of nursing home negligence often include dehydration, sudden weight loss, and pressure sores/bedsores. You may notice a loved one seems increasingly drowsy, has an unkempt appearance or has a changed mental state. Frequent falls in nursing homes are another common warning sign that something may be wrong. Medical conditions may get unexpectedly worse.
Also look for any unusual activity by the staff. For example, you arrive at the facility during regular visiting hours, but the staff refuses or delays access to your loved one. Or a staff member won’t allow you to be alone with your loved one.
How do I report nursing home abuse and neglect?
If you have any reason to believe your loved one was abused, here’s what you need to do:
- Report the abuse to the nursing home administration. This is an important step – but, of course, it’s not the only step. Speak with management at the nursing home about what you believe happened to your loved one. Listen to what they have to say, but don’t just take them at their word. Ask for records and documentation, and make sure you take note if they give evasive or dismissive answers.
- Contact the government agency that handles elder abuse claims. In Alabama, nursing home abuse claims are investigated by the Alabama Department of Senior Services (ADSS), the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program.
- Contact the local police if a crime has been committed. Elder abuse is a serious crime and it calls for an immediate response from law enforcement. If you believe your loved one has been the victim of a crime, you should call the local police so that they can investigate what happened.
- Contact a lawyer. Local law enforcement and state agencies play an important role in dealing with nursing home abuse and neglect but their primary job is to hold the perpetrators responsible, not to help victims and their families get the compensation and closure they need. That’s what a lawyer can do for you and your family. A lawyer knows how to gather evidence to prove abuse and neglect in a court of law.
How can Braswell Murphy & Grubb help?
Attorneys Kasie Braswell and Brian Murphy have handled nursing home abuse and neglect cases across the United States for over a decade. They have represented both nursing home companies and nursing home residents. They know how to spot abuse and neglect and how to prove it in court.
We have access to experts who review medical charts to help determine if your loved one was given adequate care. We’ll make sure staff members were properly trained and followed proper procedures. If we find evidence of abuse or neglect, we will fight to protect your loved one’s legal rights.
Our goal is to get proper care and treatment for your loved one and hold the nursing home and offending employees responsible for the abuse and neglect they inflicted. You owe us nothing until we are successful. Let us put our experience to work for you.