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Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

When a loved one is placed in a nursing home, it is with the intention that they are going to be well cared for and have their every need seen to, medication administered appropriately, and be put back on the path to health, or maintain a comfortable lifestyle.
When the opposite occurs – abuse, neglect, and medical malpractice – it is devastating.

What’s more, some of this conduct can even be criminal. This is why a nursing home abuse attorney is an incredibly important ally to have.

What Is Abuse?

According to the Code of Federal Regulations, abuse is defined as “the willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or punishment with resulting physical harm, mental pain, or anguish.” In order for a nursing home abuse case to be filed, someone must have taken direct action and intended to cause harm to the patient. This separates abuse from neglect and medical malpractice, and also makes it eligible for criminal charges, as well.

The NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) has published reports regarding nursing home neglect, and lists the following common types of abuse from Certified Nursing Assistants:

  • Aggressive behavior with a patient
  • Improper use of physical restraints
  • Over-medicating as a restraint measure
  • Rough handling of a patient
  • Pulling a patient too hard, causing pain
  • Angry yelling
  • Threats
  • Punching
  • Slapping
  • Kicking
  • Hitting
  • Speaking harshly to a resident, saying mean things to a resident

What Is Neglect?

Unlike abuse, where physical action was taken against a patient, neglect is the result of inaction or indifference. The Code of Federal Regulations defines it as “the failure to provide goods and services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness.”

The NCBI also lists the types of neglect by CNAs:

  • Failure to provide oral/dental care.
  • Not helping the patient by performing range of motion exercises.
  • Not changing patients after wetting themselves.
  • Ignoring bedridden patients, rather than keeping them engaged.
  • Not performing prescribed wound care.
  • Failing to bathe residents as needed.
  • Not performing scheduled visits to toilet or refusing to help a resident to the toilet when asked.
  • Failing to provide adequate hydration.
  • Turning off a call light pressed by a resident without taking action.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

If you have a relative in a nursing home, there are various signs of elder abuse that may become evident. These are the signs of abuse you should be alert to:

Physical Abuse

  • Broken bones, dislocations, sprains
  • Bruises, scars, welts on body
  • Signs of overuse of restraints, red marks or bruising on wrists and ankles
  • Broken glasses
  • Your relative appears over-medicated, rarely awake when you visit
  • Flinching away from physical contact

Emotional Abuse

  • A relative appears fearful and will not communicate.
  • Unusual behavior that is outside the person’s usual personality.
  • A relative looks fearful when specific caregivers enter the room.

Sexual Abuse

  • Genital infections
  • Bruising at breasts or genital area
  • Stained, bloody or ripped undergarments
  • Bleeding (vaginal, anal) not related to a health condition.

Neglect

  • Dirty clothing
  • Resident appears unkempt or has an unpleasant odor
  • Hair and teeth unbrushed
  • Soiled bedding
  • Bedsores
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Dehydration (dry, flaky skin)

If you observe any of these conditions or other issues that may put your loved one at risk, write them down, and immediately speak to the administration, along with issuing a letter with your concerns. If the situation does not improve or worsens, the next step would be to call 911 and remove the family member from the nursing home. After they have been removed, report the abuse or neglect and contact a nursing home abuse attorney to discuss your case.

Damages in Cases of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

There are two types of damages a person could receive in a nursing home abuse case. The first is called compensatory damages. These include both economic and non-economic damages, such as lost wages, lost benefits, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. The other form of damages someone could potentially receive is called punitive damages. These are very rarely awarded and are meant as a deterrent from other companies doing the same thing. Punitive damages may be awarded in the most severe cases, where there was gross negligence, including wrongful death, and direct malice towards the individual. The decision to award punitive damages is made by a jury.

Nursing Home Abuse Attorney: Why You Need Legal Counsel

If your loved one has been abused or neglected while in a nursing home, a lawsuit can be filed against all liable parties. This includes a care worker who inflicted harm, a medical professional who failed to provide the accepted standard of care, the nursing home itself, and any other party who breached what is termed the “duty of care.” At Malloy Law Offices, LLC, our team of experienced trial lawyers is very familiar with the processes involved in filing a lawsuit against a negligent nursing home. They will be able to assemble all of the information necessary to bring your loved one’s abusers to justice and ensure your family member receives the compensation they are owed. Contact Malloy Law Offices, LLC for a free consultation today.