As your family members age, whether they be your parents, grandparents, or spouses, their health can deteriorate beyond a point where you can adequately care for them. In these cases, the need to find a suitable place for them to live, like a nursing home, arises. Naturally, families will search for one where all of their loved one’s needs will be met and their quality of life will be held to the highest standard.
When you send your family member to such a facility, the Kentucky nursing home abuse attorneys at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP know you do so with their best interests in mind, and with the hope that the staff will provide them with the care and attention they deserve. However, as we have seen throughout our years of legal experience, that is not always the case.
About 1 in 10 Americans over 60 have reported some sort of elderly abuse, with estimates of up to 5 million elderly people being abused each year. The exact number of incidents is hard to pin down as many times abuse goes unreported.
Victims of nursing home abuse deserve freedom from harmful environments and justice for the pain they have undergone. If a nursing home has neglected to provide compassionate and ethical care for your loved one, the compassionate Kentucky nursing home neglect lawyers of Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP are ready to fight for you.
Contact us right now at (859) 550-2900 or online for a FREE, no-obligation consultation and to learn more about how we can hold those who harmed you or a loved one accountable.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse Individuals Can Face
There are several forms of abuse that elders can suffer in a negligent nursing home environment. The most commonly recognized forms of nursing home abuse can include physical, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse.
Victims can also face gross negligence because many nursing homes are severely understaffed. A lack of proper care and attention can result in a diminished standard of living that can ultimately lead to harmful situations – or even death – for the residents relying on the assistance.
- Physical abuse occurs when a victim suffers injury from physical inflictions. This can include being pushing, slapping, punching, pinching, and kicking. This type of abuse is intentional and meant to cause pain or injury.
- Emotional abuse, also referred to as psychological abuse, is a form of manipulation. This can include threats, intimidation, or even social isolation that causes injury to the mental and emotional state of the victim.
- Financial abuse happens when a victim’s finances are exploited or withheld without proper cause.
- Sexual abuse, or any unwanted sexual contact, whether it be from another resident or employee, is unacceptable.
- Bedsores – Also known as decubitus ulcers or pressure ulcers, develop when there is prolonged pressure on the skin. Failure to frequently move an older resident who is unable to move could result in this painful condition.
- Falls – Falls are a leading cause of serious or fatal injury for older adults. Facility managers and employees must realize this and do everything in their power to supervise residents and protect them from harm from falls.
- Dehydration – If facility staff fail to monitor a resident’s fluid intake and ensure that they are getting what they need, they can quickly become dehydrated and could suffer severe health problems as a result.
- Malnutrition – If an elderly resident is not getting enough food or the right types of food, they could easily suffer from malnutrition, which could have a significant impact on their health.
- Medication error – During a “med pass,” nursing home staff must make sure to administer the right medication, a medication that is not expired, and the right dosage, as well as a host of other responsibilities, or else the residents/patients could suffer serious and possibly fatal harm.
- Elderly restraints – While restraints might be necessary to prevent a resident from harming themselves or others, they should only be used as a last resort, and should always be administered properly. If a nursing home fails to use restraints responsibly and safely, the resident could be seriously harmed.
- Alzheimer’s mistreatment – Residents who suffer from Alzheimer’s are often at higher risk of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse because they often struggle to communicate their feelings or remember what happened to them. If you suspect a loved one with this condition is being mistreated, be sure to reach out for help right away.
- Resident-on-resident abuse – It is estimated that one-in-five nursing home residents will be subjected to either verbal, physical, or sexual abuse or unwelcome entry into their room by another resident. These can be devastating and dangerous incidents, and you have the right to take legal action if your family member suffered abuse at the hands of another resident.
- Abandonment – It’s never acceptable to leave a vulnerable person to fend for themselves, especially in a facility that is designed to provide them with adequate care. If you suspect your loved one has been abandoned, contact us right away to put an end to this mistreatment.
- Open Wounds/Improper Wound Care – Improper wound care does not get the same level of attention as other forms of nursing home abuse, but it can cost a resident a limb, or even their life.
Instances of nursing home abuse can also include:
- Failure to change bathe or change the victim’s clothes.
- Failure to change soiled undergarments as needed.
- Intentional refusal to administer medicine or health care.
- Failure to provide proper nutrition.
- Irregular check-ups/failure to give timely attention.
The good news is that there are measures that can be taken to protect our elderly from nursing home abuse and legal support is one of those. Contact the Kentucky nursing home abuse attorneys of Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP today at (859) 550-2900 for a FREE consultation.
Be Aware of These Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
There are many reasons why a victim of nursing home abuse may not let anyone know it is happening to them. Two of the chief causes behind this are that the elderly can at times be socially isolated from their family members, and also, victims may be suffering from some sort of mental impairment and thus not able to voice the abuse.
If you suspect that some form of abuse may be inflicted on your loved one, take heed of the following signs:
- Signs of Physical Abuse: Broken or fractured bones, bruises, lacerations, damage to personal belongings, social withdrawal, or the victim becomes easy to scare or startle.
- Signs of Emotional Abuse: Altered behavior, fear of being left alone, repetitive actions, or refusal to take medicine.
- Signs of Sexual Abuse: Bruising of the genitals, tattered or stained undergarments, bleeding in or around the genitals, contracting venereal diseases and infections, or social withdrawal.
- Signs of Financial Abuse: Unfamiliar or unexplained spending, subscription to monthly programs, charitable donations to unknown causes, or the resident is missing checkbooks, credit cards, and personal documents, or resident receives inexplicable bills.
- Signs of Neglect: Poor hygiene, unexplained weight loss, bed sores, dirty room quarters, lack of medical care, or staff that is generally uncompassionate.
Studies have shown that:
- 3 million people live in nursing homes in America.
- One out of three residents has reported being abused.
- 95% of residents report they have seen other residents abused.
- Abused senior citizens have a 300% higher risk of death.
If any of the previously mentioned signs of abuse are apparent, file a report with the Adult Protective Services as soon as you can. Then seek legal consultation from the compassionate Kentucky nursing home abuse attorneys of Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP by contacting us at (859) 550-2900.
Mandatory Duties of a Nursing Home
Nursing homes owe all residents a safe environment as well as proper treatment and medical attention as needed. Federal and state regulations assist in regulating the safety of all residents.
Nursing homes abiding by proper procedures and safety standards should follow these mandatory duties:
- A nursing home may only admit a certain number of patients according to the number of well-trained CNAs.
- Medications must be issued in the right amount, never restricted or given as incentives.
- Managers, supervisors, and nurses must comply with federal and state mandated safety regulations.
- The religious needs of each resident should be accommodated by providing contact with an appointed clergyman.
- No physical restraint can be used unless it is within reasonable cause to protect self or another individual from injury due to violent tendencies.
State & Federal Nursing Home Abuse Laws
In 1987, Congress passed the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act. States then began to implement their own regulations in an attempt to protect the rights of every patient of nursing homes and long-stay care facilities.
There are also minimum requirements for the quality of care that Kentucky nursing homes must abide by. Each resident must receive the necessary nursing, medical, and emotional services to stay as healthy as possible.
A comprehensive assessment to determine the resident’s mental and physical function has to be conducted. The Office of Inspector General has the duty of investigating instances of facilities breaching their responsibilities of care.
Please be aware that the Kentucky personal injury and wrongful death statute of limitations applies to nursing home abuse cases, which provides one (1) year from the discovery of neglect to file a claim.
For more information about the rights of nursing home abuse victims, contact the reliable and trustworthy attorneys of Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP right now at (859) 550-2900.
Efforts to Prevent Neglect and Abuse
It is the duty of nursing home owners, managers, and/or supervisors to ensure that all safety regulations are being met so that each resident is properly cared for. Parties in charge, that have allowed for instances of negligence or abuse to occur, can be held liable.
There are many ways in which a nursing home can ensure the proper care of all residents, including:
- Providing an adequately designated and properly trained staff to cover the number of patients needing care is essential to preventing neglect in these facilities.
- Enforced procedures and constant monitoring are a must in nursing home environments.
- All residents should be informed of their right to an attorney.
- Visiting should not only be allowed but also encouraged.
- Residents should have access to resources, be able to engage in social interaction, and live free from unreasonable constraints.
- The wellbeing and safety of all elders should be the top priority.
- Residents should receive essential attention, medication, and treatment as necessary.
What to Do If Your Loved One Is Facing Abuse
In the most serious cases of abuse, where urgent care is needed, call 9-1-1 immediately. You should also report the incident to the Adult Protective Services.
If you are suspicious of a recurrence of abuse or neglect, document all signs and symptoms you witness and contact a professional Kentucky nursing home abuse lawyer. This type of incident can involve civil or criminal cases. To prevent further abuse, consider taking over care of your loved one, or frequent the facility to check in on them while legal aid is being rendered.
If you suspect that a loved one is suffering from acts of negligence or abuse in the nursing home where they reside, take action promptly.
The compassionate Kentucky nursing home abuse attorneys of Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP know how hard it must be to see harm inflicted on a loved one. Do NOT hesitate to take legal action against the parties responsible for this abuse.
Contact the experienced nursing home abuse attorneys of Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP right now at (859) 550-2900 and let us end the suffering your loved one is facing and get them the help they deserve.