Our elderly loved ones are important people in our lives and it is a difficult decision to decide to place them in a nursing home which often requires months of preparation. Many of our loved ones are resistant to this change, but at certain ages, and given certain health conditions, they often need easy access to medical care and treatment. In devastating scenarios, family members discover that they placed their loved ones in harm’s way after months of painstaking research into the best nursing home for their loved one. It is important to remember that the abuse your loved one suffered was not caused by you, but by the terrible actions of the nursing home and their staff. After such an abuse occurs, your family has the ability to bring a claim for physical and emotional damages.
Nursing home abuse, or a crime against the elderly, is a criminal offense and can be met with strict fines and penalties. A National Center on Elder Abuse report which was released in 2013 found that nearly 1 in 3 nursing homes throughout the country were cited for violations of standards that could lead to harm to the residents between 1999 and 2001. The study additionally found that 1 out of every 10 nursing homes had violations that led to serious injuries in the residents. Finally, more than 50 percent of nursing home staff surveyed admitted to mistreating their residents, the majority involving neglect. With more than 3.2 million people living in nearly 16,000 nursing homes nation-wide, these numbers are startling as a sign of a real issue with the nursing home communities.
It is important to recognize the early signs of nursing home abuse, which can be difficult if your elderly relative displays signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s. However, physical abuse will leave recurring bruises or bed sores that may be hidden under clothes. If the grounds are not well maintained, it is not uncommon for a fall to occur, resulting in broken bones, brain damage, or spinal cord injury. Emotional abuse is harder to determine, but can take many forms, including persuasive tactics to attempt to cause the elderly to turn against their loved ones.
If you suspect that your loved one was subjected to nursing home abuse, it is important to contact someone immediately to report the abuse and remove your loved one from this situation. It is an emotionally traumatic experience to feel as though you played a role in the abuse by placing your loved one in this situation, but it is important to remember that you did not cause the abuse. Reporting the abuse will assist nursing homes in weeding out their inappropriate staff members and toughening their hiring standards.
After reporting the abuse, you may bring a claim for damages against the nursing home and individual staff members who caused the abuse, including damages for medical care, loss of consortium, and pain and suffering.
Our loved ones deserve compassionate care at the end of life, free from the worry of abuse. If your elderly family member was subject to nursing home abuse, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys of Sadler and Sadler. We understand how devastating it is to discover that your loved one was subject to abuse after your decision to place them in a nursing home. We will work closely with you to understand the details of your case and will draft a claim which accurately represents the pain your family has been through. Contact our San Antonio office today for your initial free consultation.