When you trust someone with the care of your elderly loved one, you expect that caretaker to be attentive, fair, and kind. Unfortunately, not all caretakers have their patients’ best interests in mind. When a caretaker is negligent or careless, their mistakes could lead to serious, if not deadly, consequences. Nursing homes are supposed to be safe, nurturing environments, but they can play host to any number of serious crimes, namely negligence and abuse.
Each year, nursing home residents suffer financial, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, all of which could have devastating consequences. As the loved one of a nursing home resident, it is your responsibility to keep an eye on the nursing home where your parent, grandparent, aunt, or uncle resides. In order to provide them with the attention they need, make sure you know how to spot potential indicators of nursing home abuse before things get too serious.
Common signs of nursing home abuse include:
- Emotional withdrawal
- Refusal to speak about their day-to-day experience
- Fear of certain nurses, doctors, or caretakers
- Bruises or burns on the wrists or ankles
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Lack of appetite
- Untidy living space
- Incorrect or missed medication doses
- Unexplained bruises, scratches, burns, or cuts
- Bruises on the insides of the thighs, breasts, or abdomen
- Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
- Repeated physical incidents, such as falls, trips, and slips
- Unexplained transactions or account transfers
- Sudden changes to an estate plan, including the will, power of attorney, etc.
Everyone responds to abuse differently, so what may happen with one victim may not occur with another. If you notice any strange behavior in your loved one, especially manners resembling emotional distance, fearfulness, or unusual sensitivity, make sure you look into the issue. In many cases of abuse, especially elder abuse, the victim doesn’t tell their friends or family for fear of causing them any trouble or inconvenience. Encourage your loved one to open up to you so that you can help solve the issue, and discuss your concerns with the nursing home facility to see if they have an explanation.
Most importantly, if you suspect your loved one is the victim of negligence or abuse, make sure you take immediate action to remove them from the dangerous environment. After they’re safely away from their abuser, contact the police, and speak with a personal injury lawyer about your legal options.
Determining Liability for Elder Abuse
In many cases, the facility may attempt to hide the abuse if they are behind it. If the facility does not let you visit your loved one, refuses your calls, or does not let your loved one contact you, immediate action may be necessary. Or, your nursing home may fail to call for medical help when the resident needs it, or they may call too late. Again, any mistake like this could be life-threatening and should never be taken lightly.
Depending on the abuser, whether he/she is a doctor, nurse, another resident, janitor, or a caretaker, the nursing home may be aware of the abuse, or they may not be. However, they should be doing their part to protect their residents and ensure they receive quality care.
Let Our Firm Help You
The consequences of elder abuse can be extremely devastating and can result in financial losses, emotional harm, mental harm, physical injury, or even death. Nursing home staff is responsible for providing each resident with a certain standard of care, and if they are in any way negligent in that responsibility, or if they blatantly act maliciously, you have a right to seek justice on behalf of your injured loved one.
Contact the Law Offices of Vic Feazell, P.C.today to discuss your potential nursing home abuse case with our Austin personal injury attorneys.