The Tragedy Of Nursing Home Abuse (and How to Stop It)
If your family has a loved one who is residing in a Maryland or Virginia nursing home, family members should know what to do if your loved one becomes a nursing home abuse victim. The first step is obtaining the advice and services of a Bethesda nursing home abuse attorney.
How and why does nursing home abuse happen? What are the causes and signs of nursing home abuse? What steps should your family take if you believe that your own elderly loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse in Maryland or Virginia?
If you’ll continue reading this brief discussion of nursing home abuse and how to stop it, you’ll learn the answers to these important questions, and you will also learn more about the rights of nursing home residents and their families.
What Constitutes Nursing Home Abuse?
While most nursing homes in Virginia and Maryland are well-managed and professionally staffed, others are not. Insufficient training and understaffing are typically – but not always – the underlying reasons for the negligence and abuse that sometimes happen in nursing homes.
Personnel turnover is quite high. The best facilities earn profits without forfeiting high-quality care, but when nursing home owners do not put the health, security, and well-being of the facility’s residents first, abuse and neglect happen. Nursing home abuse or neglect may include:
- dehydration and/or malnutrition
- physical, emotional, and/or verbal abuse
- theft and/or financial exploitation
- failure to monitor residents adequately
- medical malpractice or negligence and the ensuing complications
What Are Some Common Examples of Nursing Home Abuse?
Bedsores – lesions on the skin caused by unrelieved pressure – are one of the surest signs of negligence at a nursing home. Bedsores are easily prevented simply by turning residents in their beds to relieve the pressure. Failing to take this simple step is a sign of serious negligence.
Malnutrition is another far-too-common serious health problem among nursing home residents. Malnutrition may lead to heart disease or type 2 diabetes. Family members should know that an elderly person may be malnourished without an obvious weight loss.
The financial exploitation of residents is also a growing concern. It includes stealing jewelry or cash, the forging of signatures, cashing checks without authorization, and/or manipulating a resident into signing a will or some other document. Other signs of nursing home abuse include:
- bruises and/or cuts
- persistent hunger and/or thirst
- poor hygiene
- sudden weight loss and/or appetite loss
- emotional withdrawal and/or depression
What Else May Constitute Abuse?
Abuse can also include sexual abuse or unwarranted restraint. If you discover any sign of neglect, abuse, or financial exploitation, or if you have any reason to believe that your loved one may be the victim of nursing home abuse, you must take effective action at once.
Ask a Bethesda personal injury attorney to investigate your concerns, fight for your loved one’s rights, and provide the legal advice and representation that your family needs. If your loved one has been abused, he or she has the legal right to receive compensation.
How Can Families Protect Their Elderly Loved Ones?
How can you know that your elderly loved one is properly cared for in a Virginia or Maryland nursing home? Start with your own research. When you choose a nursing home, look online for ratings and reviews. Google the facility’s name to see if there have been lawsuits or news stories.
When your family member becomes a nursing home resident, communicate regularly with the personnel, make visits randomly, get to know other residents’ families, and always remain alert for any indications of abuse or neglect.
How Will a Bethesda Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Help Your Family?
If you know or believe that a member of your family is being exploited or abused at a nursing home in Maryland or Virginia, and especially if you see any outward or visible sign of abuse, contact a nursing home abuse lawyer as quickly as possible.
After discussing your concerns and reviewing your claim, your lawyer might recommend filing a personal injury lawsuit against the nursing home owner or owners, involving the police about pursuing charges, or both.
When you and your lawyer can prove that a nursing home or a nursing home employee has neglected, abused, or exploited a resident, the employee and/or the owners may be held accountable with a personal injury lawsuit.
What Are an Abuse Victim’s Rights?
The victims of nursing home exploitation, neglect, or abuse are entitled by law to compensation for their abuse-related medical expenses along with compensation for personal suffering, pain, and emotional distress. In the most egregious cases, punitive damages may also be awarded.
Any violation of a nursing home resident’s rights, anything that puts a resident’s life or health at risk, and anything that denies a resident’s fundamental human dignity may be considered nursing home abuse or neglect.
When Should You Speak to a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer?
In Maryland nursing home abuse cases, the statute of limitations gives you three years from the date of the abuse to take legal action. In Virginia, it’s two years. Don’t wait two or three years. If you know about nursing home abuse, speak to a nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible.
If your family pursues a nursing home abuse claim, a Bethesda nursing home abuse attorney will investigate what happened, identify which party or parties have liability, and fight aggressively for the rights of your elderly loved one until a settlement is reached or a jury verdict is rendered.
Nursing home abuse claims are usually resolved out-of-court when the lawyers for both sides meet and negotiate privately, so the victim usually is not required to appear in a courtroom.
However, if no acceptable settlement offer is made, your attorney will take the case to trial, tell a jury how your loved one was abused, and ask jurors to order the payment of damages. The right lawyer will fight diligently and effectively for your family and for the justice that your loved one deserves.
It Costs Nothing to Start Seeking Justice
A first consultation with a Virginia or Maryland injury attorney will cost you nothing, and if your family takes legal action, you will pay no attorney’s fee until and unless your loved one is compensated. If for any reason your lawsuit does not prevail, you’ll pay your attorney nothing.
If you know or believe that your beloved elderly family member is at risk in a nursing home, seek an attorney’s help now. That is your right, and if you can prove that nursing home abuse happened, the law will be on your side.