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Nursing Home Abuse

The Floyd Law Firm PC > Practice Areas > Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing Home Abuse

At the Floyd Law Firm, we stand ready to help you with the challenges of reporting nursing home abuse or neglect. We have years of experience in guiding clients through the documentation and court process, and we will do whatever we can to assist you.

Any harm done to a parent, spouse, grandparent, or other loved one is a most difficult situation for the victim and for their family and friends. It is a time of anger, sadness, and frustration. Physical or mental abuse of seniors is to be taken very seriously at all levels, and the findings may constitute a criminal offense. Financial exploitation is also a form of harm to the elderly. Senior abuse, whether within a nursing home, hospital, or in any other setting, is a significant offense under the law and can result in prosecution.

If you, or someone you care about, is being neglected or abused in a nursing home setting in any state – whether physically, verbally, mentally, or financially – an attorney with experience regarding nursing home abuse cases can help. Our firm will work with you to ensure that the full force of the law is brought to bear on those responsible for such ill treatment.

A convalescent home, nursing home, rest home, or elder care facility can be held legally responsible for any personal injury, medical malpractice, patient neglect, substandard care, or breach of duty. A lawsuit can be filed when an act of negligence or abuse on the premises ends up causing harm to a resident or patient.

Adult Protective Services (APS) programs are in place for the protection of the elderly in every state. This means that when a complaint is made, either by the nursing home resident or the person designated to speak on his or her behalf, APS shall investigate it. Complaints related to the quality of the health care, hygiene, shelter, food, or clothing may be closely reviewed, and if any laws were violated – the appropriate law enforcement agencies will be notified to record the incident and to protect the patient or resident.

Physical Abuse of Elderly Patients in Nursing Homes

Any use of physical violence or force that results in bodily harm, pain, injury or some other form of impairment to the victim is physical abuse. Physical abuse may become evident when your family member or loved one has visible bruises, mysterious wounds, bite marks, scratches, cuts, burn marks, or welts on any part of their body. Pay close attention to areas commensurate with defensive wounds such as the hands and arms. Other indicators of physical abuse can include changes in your loved one’s mood or behavior, or unexplained weight loss.

Mental, Emotional, or Non-Verbal Abuse of Elderly Patients in Nursing Homes

Also referred to as elder psychological abuse, emotional abuse in nursing homes or assisted living facilities can be difficult to notice at first. The abuse that occurred could be verbal or non-verbal. If any member of the nursing home staff intimidates, ridicules, or humiliates an elderly resident, the mental anguish can be painful. If a patient is isolated or repeatedly ignored, it is also abusive. Always be sure to pay close attention to your loved one’s overall mood when you visit. The signs of mental or emotional abuse can show as lack of eye contact, lowered self-esteem, signs of anxiety, or sudden changes in sleeping habits. If your family member or loved one begins to refuse to eat normally or no longer speaks openly with you, raise your concerns with the nursing home director and the resident psychologist. The resident psychologist should examine your loved one and ask many specific questions to initially determine any signs of emotional or physical abuse or neglect.

Neglect as Abuse in Nursing Homes

Nursing home neglect is closely related to breach of a duty by the staff of the nursing home or senior facility. Similar to nursing home abuse, neglect can happen medically, physically, or emotionally.

Medical Neglect: When a nursing home or facility fails to provide adequate medical care, or fails to prevent certain medical issues, it can be considered as medical neglect. Provisional care should be regularly provided to patients for bedsores, wounds, infections, diabetes, mobility issues, and cognitive disorders. If the nursing home staff fails to give necessary preventive health measures, treatments, medications, or simply ignores the medical needs of elderly patients – it is medical neglect.

Physical Neglect: Failing to provide for the basic needs and hygiene of nursing home residents is physical neglect. Each patient or resident must be provided with a reasonable amount of fresh water, nutritious food, and a safe and clean environment. Physical neglect includes residents not being bathed frequently or properly, not having adequate assistance brushing their teeth as needed, clean bedding and clothing, or other types of important basic hygiene practices.

Emotional Neglect: If a patient or resident of a nursing home facility is constantly left alone, verbally abused by staff members, yelled at, ignored, teased, or insulted – it is emotional, mental, and social neglect. This type of abusive neglect leaves invisible scars that can take a long time to heal. The mental and emotional well-being of all senior residents is important to their ability to thrive cognitively. A persons mood can directly affect their overall physical health, so this type of neglect should not be allowed nor ignored.

If you strongly suspect that neglect or abuse has occurred or is occurring, relay your concerns to the local adult protective services, long-term care ombudsman, or the police. When you have reason to believe that nursing home abuse or neglect has happened, please notify the nursing home director, keep detailed notes, and contact us at The Floyd Law Firm for information about the legal assistance that you may need. An experienced attorney committed to the practice of Elder Law and Nursing Home Abuse continues to pay close attention to any changes in legislation that affect seniors.

Many legal issues can arise when one is facing life in a retirement home or nursing facility. Any neglect or abuse can lead to illness, disability, or chronic conditions. It can be very stressful for your and your loved one. We will help you plan legal action that is most appropriate for your situation and for the circumstances affecting your family member. You and your family will be able to rest easy knowing that you have trusted legal support from knowledgeable experts.

Nursing home laws vary depending on the state, but federal laws also apply. State or federal, the laws share the common purpose of protecting the elderly from exploitation, neglect, and abuse. Because our country has a larger aging population now, instances of nursing home abuse and neglect have unfortunately increased.

Several Federal Nursing Home Regulations and Laws now exist to protect senior citizens:

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

This federal program exists in each state and is enforceable by the state. Ombudsmen advocate for the residents of nursing homes in order to resolve issues and complaints on the behalf of individual residents. The Ombudsman also serves to investigates exploitation, neglect, and abuse.

The Nursing Home Reform Act

Passed in 1987, this act is designed to ensure that residents in nursing homes receive a certain level of care. In order to participate in Medicare and Medicaid, nursing homes must comply with the federal requirements for long term care facilities. It established a bill of rights for all nursing home residents, giving each the right to complain without fear of consequences, to communicate without fear of censure, to be informed in advance of any changes in care and treatment, to participate actively in one’s care and treatment, to self-determination, to have active participation, to have dignity, to have privacy, to be free from physical restraints, and to be free from neglect, mistreatment, and from other forms of abuse.

The Older Americans Act

This act, also referred to as OAA, was enacted in 1965. It serves to ensure that the nation’s elderly are entitled to certain comprehensive and community-based services such as proper health and nutrition programs, in-home services, transportation, caregiver support, legal services, and elder abuse prevention.

Federal Nursing Home Regulations state that nursing homes must:

Additional Resources

Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys serving Surfside Beach, Myrtle Beach and throughout South Carolina

If you suspect that your family member or loved one in a nursing home is being neglected or abused in any way, contact The Floyd Law Firm and we will help you prepare to hold the nursing home and its staff accountable. A negligence lawsuit may be in order if there is a failure to provide adequate health, safety, required standards of care, medical treatment, or a reasonably safe environment. Medical personnel or other staff employed at a nursing home are legally responsible to give appropriate care to the patients. Nursing home negligence includes neglect, physical abuse, financial abuse, and mental or emotional abuse.

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