Nursing homes advertise 24/7 care in a safe, comfortable environment. Sadly, many long-term care facilities fall short of that promise. Nursing home neglect has become deplorably common in the United States, and it often has fatal consequences.
If your loved one was abused or neglected in an Alabama nursing home, turn to Morris Bart & Associates, LLC. An injury lawyer in Birmingham will gather evidence, interview residents and staff members, and determine if you have grounds for a claim. The at-fault staff member or facility may be liable for medical bills and other damages related to the mistreatment.
Nursing Home Neglect Is a Widespread Problem
More than 90% of U.S. nursing homes were cited for violations of federal safety and health standards in 2007, according to the New York Times. These cases ranged from neglect to physical battery, financial exploitation, and sexual abuse.
Data from the National Center on Elder Abuse shows that more than half of nursing home staff members confessed to mistreating their older patients within the previous year. Two-thirds of those cases involved neglect.
These statistics are unacceptable, but the actual numbers may be much higher. According to the National Council on Aging, only one in 14 cases of nursing home abuse is reported to authorities.
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Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Most senior citizens dread the thought of entering retirement homes. However, if you do not have the time or medical training to care for your aging loved one, he or she may be more comfortable in a long-term care facility.
When our elder relatives enter nursing homes, we expect the staff to be professional, ethical, and well-trained. Sadly, many of these facilities do not supervise their caregivers thoroughly, and all it takes is one negligent or abusive staff member to cause a fatal injury.
If your loved one is in a nursing home, you must visit them often—but do not announce your visit. This will prevent an abusive staff member from covering up the signs of mistreatment before you arrive.
Nursing home neglect takes several forms including:
- Hygienic neglect: This occurs when a caregiver does not provide for a resident’s hygienic need
- Social neglect: This occurs when a caregiver prevents a resident from interacting with other residents
- Medical neglect: This occurs when a caregiver does not provide for a resident’s healthcare needs
- Basic needs neglect: This occurs when a resident is denied water, a clean living environment, or food
There are several types of nursing home abuse. If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, there are a few common signs to look for.
Five Signs of Nursing Home Neglect
The symptoms of neglect are often subtle and difficult to spot. Here are a few signs to look for when you visit your loved one:
- Unsafe or unsanitary living conditions, such as a dirty kitchen or untidy linens
- Unbrushed hair or teeth, or overgrown fingernails
- Bedsores or unexplained injuries
- Mood changes such as depression or abnormal aggression
- Dehydration or malnutrition
As soon as you notice any signs of nursing home neglect or abuse, take action. You can have a bigger impact on your loved one’s situation if you move fast. The longer you wait, the more your loved one may suffer.
What Should I Do if I Suspect Nursing Home Neglect?
If you suspect your loved one has experienced nursing home abuse or neglect, do not hesitate to act. Seniors are a vulnerable population and many cannot advocate for themselves. Their safety may depend on vigilant family members.
Discuss Your Concerns With Nursing Home Staff
If you notice anything that indicates your loved one may be suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect, talk to nursing home staff. They may be able to identify any problems and address your concerns. There may be a misunderstanding or an issue that can easily be fixed.
Report Abuse to Local Authorities
Nursing home facilities must report abuse, theft, or other crimes to the police. If they fail to do so, you can call the police on your loved one’s behalf. Be sure to document any signs of abuse so police can investigate your claims.
Don’t wait too long to contact local authorities. Supporting evidence may be time-sensitive.
Contact a Lawyer
If your family member was abused, neglected, or financially exploited in an Alabama nursing home, contact an attorney. A personal injury attorney in Birmingham can help you pursue justice and compensation for your loved one’s suffering.
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