Nursing homes are designed to provide high-quality care to residents whose families cannot care for their elderly or disabled loved ones on their own. However, residents at nursing homes and assisted living facilities may be at risk of abuse and neglect. Nursing home abuse attorneys at Sokolove Law have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for families affected by unacceptable nursing home abuse cases. Learn what legal options may be available to you with a free consultation today.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse and neglect has been a nationally recognized problem since the 1970s, according to the U.S. National Research Council.
It occurs when elderly residents suffer serious injuries or neglect while living in a nursing home. The abuse or mistreatment of elders can lead to mental problems, serious illnesses, and even death.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), 1 in 10 adults at least 60 years old or older will experience elder abuse in any given year.
Families often have no other choice but to place an elderly loved one in a nursing home or long-term care facility. This is often the case for seniors who suffer from physical or mental conditions that need round-the-clock care.
Most families trust that their elderly loved one will be well taken care of in a nursing home or skilled nursing facility — as these facilities are designed to keep seniors safe and healthy.
Unfortunately, there are reports of older adult residents being seriously injured or dying in nursing homes throughout the United States. Many of these incidents can be traced back to nursing home cases of abuse.
Nursing home residents can suffer the following types of nursing home abuse:
- Emotional abuse
- Verbal abuse
- Physical abuse
- Psychological abuse
- Financial abuse or financial exploitation
- Serious neglect and malnutrition
- Social isolation
- Sexual abuse or sexual assault
No matter what form abuse takes, it brings serious harm and is unacceptable.
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The circumstance surrounding placing a loved one in a nursing home are sudden and often very emotional for families. As a result, little advanced planning is done to prepare for this decision, leaving families scrambling for options. Congressional reports revealed that over 30% of the 17,000 nursing homes nationwide were cited for abuse violations over just one, two year period. The abuse may include neglect of basic needs, untreated malnutrition or dehydration. Other signs include unexplained bruises, bedsores, cuts and broken bones. An experienced nursing home abuse attorney may be able to assist you in determining whether or not your loved one is suffering nursing home abuse. He may be able to help you seek the financial compensation you and your family needs and deserve.
Causes of Nursing Home Abuse
Not all nursing homes are able to provide the same standard of care. Some facilities lack the resources (like staffing) and oversight needed to ensure all residents receive quality care. Some nursing homes are chronically understaffed and may be unable to take care of their many residents.
We understand that many nursing home staff members work long, hard hours. Many of these caregivers are a blessing to families who cannot care for an elderly person on their own.
Unfortunately, nursing home staff are not immune to the challenges that arise from understaffing and poor management, and sometimes intentional abuse occurs.
Nursing home staff members may experience:
- Burnout and overwork
- Improper training
- Lack of management or supervision
- Shortages and understaffing
Any of these external factors may contribute to nursing home abuse or neglect.
Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
It cannot be overstated: If you know the signs of nursing home abuse, you can be the one to end it.
Elderly citizens may be at higher risk of abuse if they have mental or physical health problems that make it harder for them to speak up. For example, a resident with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may not be able to tell you if another resident or nursing home employee has hurt them.
Despite this higher risk, there are steps you can take to help keep your loved one safe.
Take a look at the list of common signs below. If you notice that your loved one exhibits any of these abuse warning signs, do not wait — take immediate action.
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Unexplained bruising
Signs of Neglect
- Dehydration or malnourishment
- Medication errors
- Poor hygiene
- Soiled bedding
- Sudden personality changes
- Agitation, withdrawal, or fear
- Frequent crying
- Complaints of poor treatment
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse
Many incidents of nursing home neglect or abuse go unreported — as many as 24% of incidents are not reported, according to the DOJ.
If you suspect that someone you love has been abused, there are options available. If needed, you can remove your family member from the nursing home.
Always call 911 if someone’s life is in immediate danger. In all abuse cases, the health of the victim should be the biggest priority.
If you suspect abuse, you can also file a report with local, state, and national authorities. Keep in mind, some reporting procedures vary by state.
Each state has Adult Protective Services (APS) agencies. APS operates with state governments to keep elders safe. Every state also has a long-term care ombudsman program. Ombudsmen are volunteers who listen to the concerns of nursing home residents and work toward solutions.
To learn more about your options, view our list of nursing home abuse resources by state.
Reporting elder abuse is a crucial step. By bringing to light the abuse, you hold the nursing home and the abusers accountable. This can bring about positive change and protect other families from suffering.
Once the abuse is reported, you may also wish to seek justice and compensation through a nursing home abuse lawsuit. To get the process started, contact Sokolove Law, a trusted nursing home abuse law firm.
Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers and Lawsuits
Nursing home abuse causes suffering — both to residents and their families. The victim may have suffered injuries that require medical attention. Those who trusted a nursing home to care for their loved one may be emotionally distraught. No matter your financial circumstances, you have access to justice.
Nursing home abuse lawyers can help you:
- Collect documents, statements, and medical records to strengthen your case
- Receive financial compensation through a legal claim
- Hold the nursing home care abusers accountable
General lawyers may not have the resources or experience to properly handle your case, so families are encouraged to work with a nursing home abuse lawyer like those at Sokolove Law.
Sokolove Law Is a Trusted Nursing Home Abuse Law Firm
Sokolove Law has been fighting for victims of nursing home abuse and elder neglect for more than 40 years.
During that time, we have recovered over $213 Million for victims and their families.
Our experienced lawyers can help you recognize the warning signs of abuse. They can also help you get the justice and compensation to which you may be entitled.
Sokolove Law is a national law firm with a licensed attorney in nearly every state. This allows us to file a legal claim on your behalf no matter where you live. Our team will work tirelessly on your behalf while you focus on healing.
Nursing Home Abuse FAQ
How serious is the problem of nursing home abuse?
In 2008, a federal investigation revealed that more than 90% of the 15,000 nursing homes nationwide were cited for violations of health and safety standards.
Of the 37,150 complaints received, 39% were substantiated. 20% of those were serious enough to directly harm residents or place them in immediate danger of injury or death.
Even more alarming are the nursing home abuse statistics showing that the majority of all nursing home abuse incidents are never even reported.
Who are the victims of elder abuse?
The typical nursing home victim is age 65+ and is often mentally and/or physically disabled. Victims of elder abuse are unable to protect themselves from physical attack or sexual assault and are sometimes unable to tell family members that the abuse occurred.
Who are the abusers?
Abusers are usually paid professionals or staff members who have a legal or contractual obligation to provide elder residents with care and protection. Abusers can be medical professionals, nurse aides, physical therapists, and other support staff.
How can I get help for my family member or loved one?
After you have removed your family member from the abusive situation, reported the abuse to the authorities, and moved your elder to a new care facility, you may want to consider contacting a nursing home abuse attorney to file a nursing home abuse lawsuit.
Lawsuits can do far more than punish abusers and help get your family the justice you deserve — they can prevent the abuser from ever harming another elder.
Our team offers families and nursing home abuse victims a free case review and will connect them to top nursing home abuse attorneys. These attorneys often have experience or certification to practice elder law, the area of law dedicated to protecting seniors.