Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse: Do You Have a Case?
Each day, families across America face the daunting prospect of moving loved ones into the care of nursing home facilities. The reason why a person becomes a resident of a nursing home facility varies patient to patient; however, every individual living within a nursing home environment is vulnerable to nursing home neglect and abuse.
Neglect is a broad term for what a nursing home resident might suffer at the hands of nursing home professionals. When residents of a nursing home are not cared for correctly or promptly, there could be a case of neglect. Individuals placed in the care of nursing home professionals should be cared for in every way necessary and done so in a timely manner.
Typically an intentional act with malicious intent, physical abuse in nursing homes can occur in a number of ways and for a variety of reasons. For example, if patients are hit or unnecessarily restrained or sedated, this constitutes physical abuse even without physical evidence.
If a staff member of a nursing home takes out his or her personal frustrations on a resident, or berates a patient for whatever reason, this could be a case of emotional abuse. If you suspect your loved one to be a victim of emotional abuse, report it immediately to a person of higher authority at the nursing home or, if this individual fails to take action, to the authorities.
Unfortunately, sexual abuse does occur in nursing homes. Residents could be taken advantage of sexually by other patients, staff members, or outside people visiting the home. Sexual abuse includes any unwanted touching, fondling, kissing, or intercourse.
Financial abuse is a broad category of abuse because it can occur in a range of methods and at varying levels of extremity. It can be as simple as stealing money or credit cards from a nursing home resident or as elaborate as someone tricking a resident into donating money to a phony charity.
How to Determine if You Have a Case
If you suspect a loved one to be the victim of any of the above forms of nursing home abuse, know that you do not have to accuse anyone of abuse immediately. It might be enough for you tell a supervisor or administrator at the nursing home about what you suspect.
If you choose to pursue legal action, it is important you consult a lawyer who is experienced with nursing home abuse cases. A nursing home abuse lawyer will be able to competently review the details of your case and collect all of the necessary medical records and evidence. He or she will also be capable of completing an investigation of the home and can satisfy the various legal requirements for notifications that many people are unaware of.