When an elderly family member needs more care than you can provide, you may consider putting him or her in a nursing home facility. While nursing homes are supposed to be places of care and comfort where your loved one can get the professional assistance they need, sadly, this is not always the case. Some nursing homes are places of abuse and neglect.
If your loved one suffered neglect or abuse while living in a Missouri nursing home, you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
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What is Considered Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home negligence is any act that deprives your loved one of the care he or she needs. Ultimately, this withholding of care could cause your loved one serious harm. When this happens, you and your family should act to hold the nursing home accountable.
Common examples of nursing home negligence include:
- Withholding of medication
- Lack of care
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
The Springfield nursing home abuse lawyers at Strong-Garner-Bauer P.C. can help you understand your legal options. Your initial consultation is free and confidential, so you have nothing to lose by contacting our firm today.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Sadly, spotting the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect is not always easy—especially if your loved one is reluctant to speak up. This is why you should know what to look for if you suspect that your family member has been mistreated or abused in a Missouri nursing home.
Some of the most common warning signs of elder abuse include:
- Poor Hygiene: Many elderly patients are physically incapable of taking care of their basic hygienic needs. As such, nurses and other staff are expected to assist them. This includes helping them brush their teeth, get dressed, clip nails, comb their hair, and more. When patients are neglected, you will notice their unkempt appearance, dirty clothing, and other noticeable deficiencies. This is often a result of lack of formally educated staff who might not understand proper health care. Routine dental care is particularly a serious issue in nursing homes throughout the country.
- Unsanitary Living Conditions: The facility itself must be kept clean and safe for residents. If the conditions of the facility are poor, it is likely the patients also are being neglected and not well cared for. Federal law requires nursing home facilities to provide and maintain and safe and sanitary environment, so if you notice these requirements are not being met, it is important to report it.
- Malnutrition: Poor nutrition is another widespread issue that affects millions of nursing home residents in the United States and can lead to serious physical issues. It can occur due to a lack of oversight, through deliberate actions, or even as a result of a patient’s medical problems such as depression or difficulty swallowing. If it is the latter, nursing staff should be aware of the patient’s issues and effectively address them.
- Lack of Mobility: Nursing home residents often have difficulty with mobility. A quality nursing home will have staff who not only assists patients in moving around, but also encourages exercise and other activities to keep them mobile and healthy. Good facilities provide walking programs for patients that allow them to build muscle tone and strength, improve circulation, and reduce spasms. If your loved one is being restricted to his or her bed, there is a risk of immobility, bedsores, and other infections.
- Unexplained Injuries: If your loved one suffers from injuries like broken bones, bruises, or head injuries, this is a big red flag that he or she is being abused or neglected. While these injuries are not necessarily caused by a staff member physically harming them, a neglected resident is likely to have accidents due to a lack of aid and assistance. Falls are especially common among the elderly and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 1,800 adults living in nursing homes die every year from fall-related injuries.
- Psychological Issues: Abuse and neglect often extend beyond the physical and can have serious psychological ramifications. Residents might become develop a fear of their caregivers and hesitant to voice the issues they are facing, leading to anger, stress, and resentment. If you notice your loved one is growing increasingly distant and irritable, or suffering from depression, this might be a sign of neglect or abuse and should be addressed immediately.
If you believe your loved one is in immediate danger, contact the local authorities.
Let Strong-Garner-Bauer P.C. Help You Seek Justice
The Missouri nursing home abuse attorneys at Strong-Garner-Bauer P.C. strongly uphold the laws requiring nursing homes to provide quality care to all residents. If you have an elderly loved one who was mistreated in a nursing home, please contact us today to learn more about your options. Our firm has recovered more than $7 billion in compensation for personal injury victims and the surviving families of wrongful death victims.
Let our Springfield nursing home abuse lawyers help you seek justice. Contact us today for a free consultation!
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