Elders living in nursing homes are greatly dependent on their caregivers for their day-to-day needs. They place utmost trust and faith in their caregivers. If caregivers break this trust, the outcome can be devastating.
Findings related to institutional abuse reveal shocking figures. In a review, residents of these institutes reported high levels of abuse, which included psychological abuse (33.4%), physical (14.1%), financial (13.8%), neglect (11.6%), and sexual abuse (1.9%).
If your elder loved one has been showing signs of abuse at their nursing home, you should get in touch with a nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer immediately.
Nursing home abuse lawyers specialize in helping elders who were abused by nursing home staff while living in a care facility. When meeting your lawyer for the initial consultation, you should ask the following questions:
- What Is Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Broadly speaking, nursing home abuse and neglect refers to the exploitation of older adults living in a care facility. This can mean insufficient or inefficient care of an elder resident, or the breach of a duty that results in harm to the elder.
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) considers elder neglect a type of elder abuse. Elder abuse is the mistreatment of elders by those responsible for providing them with the care they need. Most kinds of elder abuse involve direct harm to the elder victim. Neglect, on the other hand, inflicts harm through poor-quality care or failure to provide the necessary care.
While neglect may not be a violent form of nursing home abuse, it can cause immense harm to the physical and mental health of the elder.
Neglect usually occurs in the form of partial or complete failure to provide:
- Proper grooming
- Adequate medication
- Basic needs, such as water and/or food (which can result in dehydration and/or malnourishment)
Abuse can be physical, psychological, sexual, financial, and verbal. It may include punching, kicking, humiliating, verbally abusing, overmedicating, stealing or tampering with money, and even rape.
What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Usually, elders who may victims of abuse and neglect will display changes in their personality and behavior. Recurrent friction between the elder and their caregiver may also indicate abuse and neglect on the part of the latter. If you suspect that your elder loved one is being subjected to abuse, you should investigate further by looking for these additional signs:
- Physical abuse:
- Inexplicable bodily harm, such as broken bones, dislocations, or injuries
- Bruising, bite marks, or welts on the elder’s body
- Evidence of falls, like broken eyeglasses or frames
- Inadequate or improper administration of medication
- Rope marks or other signs of restraint on the elder’s wrist or legs
- Denial of the caregiver to allow you to spend time alone with your elder
- Emotional abuse:
- Sudden change in the behavior of the elder
- Sudden development of behaviors such as mumbling or sucking their thumb
- Controlling, demeaning, or hostile behavior displayed by the caregiver
- Sexual abuse:
- Unexplained development of STDs or other genital infections
- Wounds or marks around the genitals or breasts
- Torn, bloody, or stained underwear
- Mysterious vaginal or anal bleeding that’s not caused by a medical condition
- Symptoms of anxiety or depression
- Financial Abuse:
- Unexplained monetary withdrawals from the elder’s bank account
- Changes in the elder’s finances
- Sudden modifications in the property titles, wills, life insurance nominations, or power of attorney
- Missing cash from the elder’s room
- Additional names in the elder’s credit card(s)
- Money withdrawals even while the elder is indisposed
- Inadequate provision of medical care despite making payments
- Receiving unusual parcels or services, or subscriptions that the elder has no idea of
Apart from the above signs of elder abuse, you should also watch out for signs of neglect. If your elder has found themselves in any of the following situations, it can indicate neglect on the part of the caregiver. You should consult a nursing home neglect lawyer immediately.
- Being left alone in a public place
- Living in unsafe conditions, such as inadequate heating in cold weather, poor electrical wiring in the facility, fire hazards, or wet/slippery floors
- Suffering untreated health conditions
- Being unsuitably dressed for the weather
- Living with poor personal hygiene (for example, the caregiver not bathing the elder)
- Living in unsanitary conditions (for example, dirty clothing, soiled bedsheets, bugs and insects, filthy environment)
- Presence of bedsores on the elder’s body
- Unusual weight loss or dehydration
What Types of Damages Can We Expect?
If your elder has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you may be able to claim compensation.
- Economic damages: This includes compensation for past and future medical costs, as well as other out-of-pocket expenses.
- Non-economic damages: You can claim compensation for emotional turmoil, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life, among others.
- Physical harm: This includes compensation for bruises, physical disability or injuries which have resulted from the caregiver negligence or abuse.
Should We File a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit?
The answer to this question will depend on the unique circumstances surrounding your case. Only an experienced Utah nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer will be able to explain the strengths and weaknesses of your case. They may also be able to tell you about the possible outcome. Depending on your lawyer’s advice, filing a lawsuit may help bring about justice and a sense of closure.
As far as the worth of your nursing home abuse and neglect case is concerned, your attorney will consider a number of factors in determining it. This may include the age of the victim, the severity of the victim’s injury, the conduct of the caregiver and/or the elder care facility, and so on. Your lawyer will also examine the victim’s medical and financial records to determine the possible causes of the victim’s suffering.
Of course, the potential worth of your case will also depend on the specific laws applicable in Utah.
Have You Handled Cases Like This Before?
If you’re considering filing a case against the nursing home for subjecting your elder to abuse and neglect, you should seek legal assistance from an attorney who has considerable experience in handling claims like yours.
To get a better idea of this, make it a point to ask your attorney about their prior experience in this area. You should also ask them about the outcomes of the cases they’ve handled.
How Much Do You Charge?
One of the most important questions to ask your Utah lawyer is the fee they charge. Carlson Injury Law, like most nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys, charge a contingency fee, which means they get paid only if your case is resolved successfully. The payment is usually based on a percentage of the amount received as compensation.
If you suspect that your elder loved one has suffered (or is suffering) from nursing home abuse and neglect, you should take prompt legal action. Filing a lawsuit can help you bring the culprits to book, preventing them from inflicting any harm on others, while also receiving justice in your own case.
Working with a seasoned Utah nursing home abuse and neglect attorney can significantly improve your chances of winning a successful outcome in your case. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to win financial compensation for your elder family member’s injuries. This money can be used for paying for their medication, treatment, and other related expenses. Hopefully, asking your lawyer the above six questions will help you understand your case and the potential outcome better. Don’t hesitate to get your answers.
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