No matter what form it takes, families whose loved ones have suffered abuse at the hands of a nursing home can file a lawsuit against the facility to receive financial compensation. Any type of abuse is legally actionable so long as the senior suffered some sort of injury. Since seniors may not be able to speak on their own behalf and nursing homes certainly will not admit to the abuse, families need to be vigilant about any signs of abuse in order to hold the nursing home accountable. A nursing home abuse lawyer in Bel Air, MD is a valuable asset to have in the process.
Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Bel Air, MD
The Problem of Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes
There is research that shows how common nursing home abuse is, but the full extent of the issue is not known. This is because much of the abuse occurs in the shadows and is never reported. Research studies have shown that fewer than one in ten instances of elder abuse are reported. Even when a senior alleges that they have been abused in some way, usually nothing is done because the senior is either not believed or because they are not able to articulate what happened in a compelling manner due to their cognitive state. Ordinarily, this should not make a difference in whether the abuse claim is fully looked into because every abuse claim must be investigated promptly, no matter what. This is not just a moral obligation but one that comes from the law. Not only must there be a full investigation of the allegation, but every claim of abuse must be reported to the state within hours of when it was first made.
Why Does Nursing Home Abuse Occur?
The reason for elder abuse usually involves multiple factors rather than one specific cause. Potential factors for nursing home abuse include the following:
- Staff shortages leading to burnout and poor working conditions
- Lack of proper staff training
- Lack of proper management and supervision
- Poor hiring practices at the facility
Each of the above factors all falls under nursing home negligence and the facility’s failure to provide the care that was promised to residents.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
It is important for family and friends of nursing home residents to be aware of the different types of abuse that may occur. Since nursing home abuse in Bel Air, MD can take many forms, it can lead to such problems such as mental health issues, physical problems, and death. Different types of nursing home abuse include:
Reports of elder abuse usually involve more than one of these forms of abuse, so it is crucial for family members to contact a nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced personal injury attorney can help put a stop to the abuse and make sure those responsible for it are held accountable for their actions.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Families must always assess the situation in order to see if their loved one is suffering any kind of abuse. Certainly, families must take every single allegation of abuse seriously, even if it seems implausible and far-fetched. However, many times, seniors are either not able to speak or are not able to convincingly state what has happened to them. In this instance, it is incumbent upon families to try to spot signs of nursing home abuse. Here are some indications that loved ones are being abused at a nursing home:
- Seniors appear to cower or become visibly afraid when a certain staff member is present
- There are unexplained bruises or marks that frequently show up on a senior’s body
- There are unexplained changes in the senior’s appetite or mood.
- Money and valuable items that belong to a resident go missing
It is important to note that the nursing home may be held liable even if someone else who does not work for the nursing home has harmed a senior. For example, many instances of abuse at nursing homes in Bel Air, MD are not committed by staff members. Instead, they are perpetrated by fellow residents of the nursing home. Many assaults are committed by other residents who have a propensity for physical violence. These attacks can range from mild to severe. Regardless of the severity of a resident’s injuries, the nursing home can be held liable for their failure to anticipate the attack and provide protection for their residents. This is even more so when the nursing home should have known that the resident was violent or had a previous incident where they assaulted a resident. Nursing homes can and should take steps to ensure that violent residents cannot assault other residents.
Liability for Negligent Nursing Homes in Bel Air, MD
There are other forms of tangible abuse of nursing home residents that do not include physical violence or other forms of active mistreatment. Neglect of residents is another form of abuse that can have deadly consequences for seniors. Failure to provide seniors with the care that they need or to assist them with the activities of daily life has led to dire consequences such as resident deaths. Neglect can cause some of the following injuries:
- Bedsores – These result from the failure of the nursing home staff to both change the resident’s position with frequency as well as to treat pressure ulcers once they develop. These bedsores, if they are bad enough, can ultimately cause sepsis and death.
- Malnutrition and Dehydration – Neglect includes not properly feeding a senior and giving them fluids as necessary which can cause dramatic weight loss and other illnesses.
- Infection – Failure to help a senior maintain proper hygiene and cleanliness can lead to various types of infections that can cause severe illness and death.
Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Bel Air, MD
Nursing homes, especially those with long track records of poor care, will not readily settle lawsuits with families. They have lawyers on their side who will often fight these lawsuits all the way to trial. This makes it difficult for families to receive financial compensation unless they have a nursing home abuse attorney on their side who is not afraid to fight the facility at every step of the way.
The elder abuse lawyers at KBA Attorneys have this experience and have helped families take the fight to nursing homes, aggressively confronting them in court for the harm that loved ones have suffered. While the wrongs of elder abuse can never be righted, KBA Attorneys can at least help families receive compensation for the injuries that their beloved senior has sustained.
Contact our law firm today at (855) 522-5297 or fill out an online form for a free case evaluation.
- Kurtis Hiatt. “9 Warning Signs of Bad Care”, U.S. News, https://health.usnews.com/health-news/best-nursing-homes/articles/2013/02/26/9-warning-signs-of-bad-care. Accessed July 11, 2019.
- Jordan Rau. “Most nursing homes are not adequately staffed, new federal data says”, Kaiser Health News, https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/most-nursing-homes-are-not-adequately-staffed-new-federal-data-says. Accessed July 11, 2019.
- RAINN. “Elder Abuse”, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, https://www.rainn.org/articles/elder-abuse. Accessed July 11, 2019.
- Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken. “Sick, Dying and Raped in America’s Nursing Homes”, CNN, https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2017/02/health/nursing-home-sex-abuse-investigation/. Accessed July 11, 2019.
- David Goguen. “Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Law: Basics”, Nolo, https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/nursing-home-abuse-neglect-basics.html. Accessed July 11, 2019.
- CDC. “Elder Abuse: Definitions”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/elderabuse/definitions.html. Accessed July 11, 2019.
- NCOA. “Elder Abuse Facts”, National Council on Aging, https://www.ncoa.org/public-policy-action/elder-justice/elder-abuse-facts/. Accessed July 11, 2019.