Nursing Home Negligence
The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is a difficult one, to say the least. In making that decision, friends and family place their trust in the nursing home to provide medical care and supervision and to keep the resident free from abuse. It is this position of trust that makes it so egregious when a loved one is neglected, abused or injured by negligence while being cared for at a nursing home.
Types of Nursing Home Cases
Every case involving nursing home negligence, neglect or abuse is heartbreaking, and every case is unique. The following are common “types” of nursing home cases:
Negligence: Nursing homes owe a duty of care to their patients and residents. When a nursing home breaches this duty of care, it can be sued for negligence. Common breaches include failures to adequately assess residents upon intake and to provide medically necessary care. Other breaches include failure to keep a resident safe from hazards, failure to prevent unsanitary conditions, and failure to provide proper nutrition.
Physical Abuse: These claims sometimes involve outright physical abuse by staff (and sometimes by other residents). These claims also include using improper restraints on a resident, including the use and overuse of medications.
Sexual Abuse: These claims involve sexual abuse of a resident by either nursing home staff or by other residents. Residents with dementia are particularly vulnerable to this type of abuse because their credibility about what happened to them is more easily challenged.
Emotional Abuse: Emotional abuse includes violations of a resident’s dignity and often take the form of threats and intimidation.
Financial Abuse: Those inside nursing homes, both staff and residents, may end up with access to a resident’s personal financial information. Financial abuse can take many forms, but the goal of the perpetrator is to take money and/or property from the resident. Residents with dementia are especially vulnerable to this type of abuse.
Types of Nursing Home Negligence Injuries / Signs of Nursing Home Neglect
Just as nursing homes have become part of the fabric of American society, so too have nursing home injuries, abuse and neglect. The following are common injuries in nursing home cases and should be regarded as signs of neglect:
Falls, often resulting in bruises and broken bones
Infections, especially recurring infections
Over-prescribing of medication
Other signs of neglect and/or abuse include social and emotional withdrawal, uncharacteristic silences around caretakers and loved ones, poor nutrition, poor hygiene, weight loss (especially sudden weight loss), bruising around the genitals, and unexplained injuries.
Not all nursing home cases involve physical injuries to the resident. Many in nursing homes are also targeted for financial crimes and are victimized financially. Signs of this type of abuse include sudden financial troubles, unpaid bills and changes to legal documents such as wills and powers of attorney.