Taking Action When Nursing Home Abuse is Suspected
When nursing home abuse of a family member is suspected, action must be taken immediately in order to protect the well-being of the elder. The details of what that action will look like will depend on the circumstances and the resources of the family members. It can be helpful to the family if they also engage the legal services of a trusted nursing home lawyer.
The first priority is to ensure the safety of the elder, and to remove them from an abusive or neglectful situation. In the case of financial abuse, whereby the elder is being taken advantage of by someone connected to the nursing home, the family should consider taking appropriate measures such as removing the elder’s bank cards and checkbooks from the premises. Every situation is different and so the best response will vary according to the situation. A nursing home lawyer provides clients with the legal guidance they need and will file damage claims on their behalf as well as represent them in civil actions should the nursing home refuse to pay a fair settlement.
Examples of Neglect or Abuse in Nursing Homes
Many do not realize that neglect is in itself a form of abuse. When staff members neglect to take care of a nursing home resident it can result in serious physical as well as emotional injuries to the elder. For example, if the elder needs to periodically be turned over to their other side while sleeping in bed because they are unable to do this on their own, staff members may neglect to do this. Often, this neglect leads to the elder developing a serious medical condition known as a bedsore. Bedsores are open wounds that are painful and may emit blood a puss. A bedsore has a tendency to develop an infection which leads to further issues, including the need for a physician to debris or clean the wound. Bedsores can take a very long time to fully heal and they can be completely avoided when the elder receives proper care in the first place.
A nursing home lawyer can provide numerous other examples of neglect or abuse of elders including these:
- The elder’s money or personal possessions are stolen by a staff member or someone else connected to the nursing home. This can happen when the elder’s cash, credit cards, or checkbook is stolen. In some cases, the elder is pressured into buying consumer goods such as through a shopping channel on TV or through a website. Once the goods arrive at the nursing home, the nefarious person may take those items for themselves or sell them for their own profit.
- The elder changes their will to include a staff member of the nursing home, or else gives them Power of Attorney over their financial affairs. This is unethical, possibly illegal, and is grounds for a civil action against the nursing home. If these examples describe your elder’s situation, a nursing home lawyer can advise you as to what legal options your family has available.
- The elder has bruises or cuts on their body. Though it’s normal for one’s skin to become more fragile at an advanced age and to then become more susceptible to bruising, it is also true that for these reasons, the elder should be protected as much as possible. When a pattern emerges of bruising, cuts, or scrapes, then it indicates that there may be a serious problem at hand. It could be as simple as a staff member who does not realize they are gripping the elder’s arm too hard when guiding them, or it may be because the elder is being purposely mistreated. In either case, the nursing home has the responsibility to perform background checks on potential staff members, provide their new hires with sufficient training, and monitor the welfare of the residents in the event that abuse might occur.
To learn more about how a nursing home lawyer can help your elder, call a nursing home lawyer in Trenton, NJ today.
Thanks to Davis & Brusca for their insight into nursing home abuse and how to take action.