It is never an easy decision to place an elderly relative in a nursing home. Sons and daughters of ailing parents often take comfort in the fact that their loved one will have around-the-clock care, and that their relatives can merely pick up the phone if they need anything at all. However, some residents begin to decline, suffering failing health, becoming withdrawn, or even shutting down after being placed in a nursing home. When the change comes on this suddenly, many relatives are forced to wonder: is their loved one ill, or are they suffering from abuse?
Unfortunately, recent statistics show that almost one (1) out of ten (10) of these will experience some form of elder abuse often leading to injury and death due to negligence or intentional activities by staff and others in nursing homes during their lifetime. These elderly residents are some of the most vulnerable and helpless individuals in our society and desperately need someone to protect them and to stand up for their rights.
Take Action After Abuse in an Alabama Nursing Facility
The attorneys at Lattof & Lattof believe in protecting the rights of all Alabama residents, including those who have been injured as a result of facilities who should have cared for them. Nursing homes have to adhere to strict regulations and pass numerous inspections in order to protect residents from harm, and facilities that seem great “on paper” can fall short of these standards due to negligence or to retain profits. When this happens, we fight for your loved one’s rights, getting justice and compensation for your family.
Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse
There are a number of ways in which the elderly can experience abuse in nursing homes, including physical, mental, sexual and financial abuse. The attorneys at Lattof & Lattof, P.C. are experienced, ready and willing to accept cases against the people and parties at fault for all types of nursing home abuse, including:
Nursing home injuries are not only caused by physical harm. In fact, mistreatment in a care facility can take many different forms, including:
- Falls. Some nursing homes simply do not have enough staff members to adequately care for a large number of residents. Caretakers may see residents only once or twice per day, leading to slips, falls, or other preventable injuries that occur when a patient is left alone.
- Malnutrition and dehydration. Understaffed facilities may fail to provide residents with enough food or water, or may use meals as a means of controlling the residents.
- Bedsores. Pressure sores, also known as bedsores, are ulcerations on the skin due to a lack of movement in a body part. These injuries often result from lack of clean clothes or fresh bed linens, and may easily become infected if they are not treated promptly.
- Medication errors. Many nursing homes rely on untrained caregivers who do not have experience taking care of elderly residents. Staff members may give too much or too little medication to residents, steal medications for their own use, or use sedative drugs to keep residents docile or asleep for long periods.
- Physical abuse. Physical abuse is often a result of negligence, such as use of restraints for long periods or a caretaker using too much force on a weaker resident. In many cases, abuse is intentional, and may be a form of control or punishment. Common signs of physical abuse include unexplained injuries, bleeding, bruises, or change in a resident’s behavior.
- Neglect. This is abuse resulting from failure to properly care for the elderly resident as evidenced by such things as:
- Dehydration and Malnutrition – failure to properly provide necessary food and water
- Failure to treat bed sores or other injuries and illnesses
- Hazardous living conditions – poor or no heating / air conditioning, improper plumbing, lighting, water supplies, etc
- Unsanitary or unclean living conditions – bedrooms, floors, bathrooms, toilets, failure to properly bathe resident, dirty clothes, roaches, rats, bed bugs, lice, soiled bedding, etc.
- Psychological abuse. Staff members may exert control over residents through verbal or nonverbal acts, including harassment, humiliation, bullying, or threats. Other forms of emotional abuse are refusing to speak to residents, refusing to let residents engage in social activities or receive guests, putting the resident in a permanent state of anxiety.
- Theft. Many residents rely on caretakers to run errands or do some shopping, making them common targets for theft and financial abuse. Staff members may steal from resident’s funds or personal belongings or may lie to residents in order to extort money from them.
- Sexual abuse. Sexual and romantic abuse is unfortunately common in nursing homes. Residents who have unexplained bruising, evidence of sexually-transmitted diseases, or unexplained genital bleeding are potential victims of sexual assault. This includes any type of sexual contact or activity to which the elderly person did not consent, could not consent or lacked the capacity to consent. The symptoms of sexual abuse may include:
- Bruising or bleeding in the genital or breast areas
- Venereal diseases or genital infections
- Evidence of torn / bloody underwear
- Actual reports by the victim of sexual abuse (which the staff will often dispute)
- Evidence of explicit photos taken involving the elderly victim
- Financial Abuse. This occurs when someone – staff, visitor or other resident takes advantage of an elderly person’s financial or other assets by such things as:
- Gaining improper access to financial matters, credit cards, bank accounts, cash, etc.
- Theft of property, jewelry, cash and other assets located at the nursing home
- Identity theft such as opening credit card accounts or obtaining loans in victim’s name
- Taking advantage of victim’s vulnerability by improperly coercing and unduly influencing victim to turn over control of financial assets;
A Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Can Investigate Your Case
After a loved one has suffered abuse in a nursing home, it may be difficult to get him or her to open up about the experience. Your relative may feel ashamed of the incident, may have been threatened not to tell anyone, or may suffer from a condition such as dementia that makes it difficult for him or her to tell you what has happened. Unfortunately, some residents may succumb to their injuries, making it even more painful for families to gather evidence from the nursing home responsible for the death. If such is the case, you should absolutely speak to a nursing home abuse lawyer immediately.
For over 65 years, the attorneys at Lattof & Lattof, P.C. have been helping victims of negligence and abuse protect their rights and obtain fair settlements and awards for injuries and for the deaths of their loved ones. We will work hard as your family’s advocate to protect the rights of nursing home abuse victims and to obtain full recompense for injuries and losses from those responsible for such abuse.
If someone you love has suffered a sudden decline or died as a result of mistreatment in a nursing home, we can perform an investigation into the facility and the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s suffering to find out what really happened. We charge no fees unless we make a recovery in your case, so it will cost you nothing to find out your options. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page to schedule your free consultation.