Older adults can be especially vulnerable to abuse and neglect. Physical limitations and cognitive decline can make it more difficult for older victims to identify and report abuse. Financial resources such as home equity, retirement accounts, and other lifelong savings plans can also make older adults more vulnerable to financial scams – or outright theft. This is why it is so important to report nursing home abuse to law enforcement as soon as you suspect that an older victim is being mistreated. It is also important to hold facilities accountable for abuse that is allowed to occur while the victim was under their care. Civil lawsuits encourage other facilities to enact stricter safety policies and take other steps to ensure that future victims are not abused. A nursing home abuse lawyer can help you learn about options for you or your loved one who has experienced abuse in a nursing home.
Types of Abuse in Nursing Homes
It is not always easy for loved ones to identify abuse that occurs in a nursing home or assisted living facility. This is why it is important to learn about the types of abuse that can occur and the early warning signs of trouble.
One of the most common forms of nursing home abuse is simple neglect. Patients in a nursing home are unable to care for their most basic needs, and the facility is being compensated to address those needs. If a patient is neglected long enough, he or she might develop long term conditions such as bed sores. These can take some time to form, so it is important to look for early warning signs of neglect, as well. Is your loved one getting all prescribed medications? Is he or she eating properly? What about hygiene? Does the patient appear to be brushing teeth, washing hair, and performing other basic hygiene tasks? If these daily tasks are neglected, it could be a warning sign that larger tasks are being neglected as well.
Medical malpractice is a special form of negligence. If a medical professional (including doctors, surgeons, nurses, physicians assistants, nursing assistants, or any other caregiver) fails to use ordinary caution in performing his or her duties, this negligence is known as medical malpractice. Because nursing home residents receive many types of medical care, there are many opportunities for negligence.
Older adults can be especially vulnerable to financial abuse. This is because many older nursing home residents have accrued wealth through home equity, retirement accounts, investments, and a lifetime of hard work. Sometimes financial predators try to use scams or sales pitches to convince a victim to give them money. Other times, a thief will simply steal cash or write checks to steal the money outright. Nursing home patients are susceptible to boths types of financial abuse. Keep an eye on your loved one’s financial accounts. Any unexplained withdrawals, purchases, gifts, or other deductions should be monitored closely. You should also be wary of any staff members who seem to be inappropriately close with a patient or have the ability to convince them to do things (such as making an inappropriate financial gift to a caregiver).
Sadly, nursing home residents are vulnerable to sexual abuse, as well. Some have physical limitations that prevent them from fighting off an attacker. Others have cognitive impairments that prevent them from reporting sexual violence – or in some cases, even remembering that the attack occurred at all. Early warning signs might include signs of trauma, such as bruising or scratches. There might also be signs of emotional trauma, such as unexplained weeping or withdrawal. Any unexplained behaviors or physical signs of trauma should be reported immediately.
Why It Is So Important to Hold Facilities Accountable for Nursing Home Abuse
Older adults are among the most vulnerable residents of any population. The law affords special protections for them under Elder Protection acts that enforce special penalties for financial, physical, or sexual abuse perpetrated against an older victim. While it is important to file criminal charges when necessary, it is also important to hold a facility accountable for neglect or abuse perpetrated against an older resident. This deters other nursing homes and assisted living facilities from allowing neglect or abuse to happen on their premises.
Call Us Today to Speak with a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Dallas, TX
The Dallas personal injury attorneys at the Jackman Personal Injury have experience handling nursing home abuse cases. Call (972) 961-2707 to schedule your consultation today. With an attorney on your side, you can protect your loved one’s legal rights and protect other innocent victims from abuse.