Nursing homes should provide our loved ones with safe and reliable care. Unfortunately, many of these facilities are poorly managed or understaffed, and this can have dire consequences for residents. Although each case of nursing home neglect or abuse is unique, there are common signs that indicate mistreatment.
If your relative experienced abuse in a nursing home, you may have grounds for legal action. Birmingham personal injury attorneys from Morris Bart & Associates, LLC accept these cases to seek justice for families. Learn about five consequences of nursing home abuse and what you can do.
What Qualifies as Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse refers to incidents of mistreatment of a senior resident living in a nursing facility. Abuse can be either intentional or unintentional. Nursing home abuse can result in emotional trauma, financial problems, or fatal injuries. In Alabama, you can take your case to court against a nurse, doctor, or any other medical professional in the facility with help from a medical malpractice lawyer in Birmingham.
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Should You Be Worried About Nursing Home Abuse?
According to the World Health Organization, over 64% of nursing home staff members reportedly committed an act of abuse or neglect in some form. These alarming numbers may concern families with a senior relative living in a long-term care facility.
You should be concerned about nursing home abuse if:
- Your loved one shows sudden or unusual changes in behavior
- You notice unexplained injuries, bedsores, or ulcers
- Your loved one falls ill frequently
- Your loved one is losing weight rapidly or appears dehydrated
- Or your loved one is hesitant to speak in front of nursing home staff
Nursing home abuse can have tragic physical and mental consequences. These range from malnutrition to wrongful death.
Five Common Consequences of Nursing Home Abuse in Birmingham
Sadly, some nursing home residents cannot verbally express themselves when something is amiss. Your loved one may be suffering in silence. Look for these five common consequences of nursing home abuse.
According to the National Institutes of Health, bedsores and pressure ulcers are evidence of nursing home abuse. They result from laying or sitting in the same position for too long. Nursing home staff is usually responsible for moving residents to prevent bedsores. And if they fail to do this, they may be liable for damages.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, malnutrition occurs when an individual’s health declines due to a lack of essential nutrients. Nursing home staff must ensure that residents receive nutritionally balanced meals. Neglecting to feed residents or withholding food as a punishment may constitute abuse.
Many elderly residents are unable to clean themselves and their surroundings. If this is the case, nursing staff must take reasonable steps to help residents maintain good hygiene. If your loved one appears unclean or has overly long fingernails, this may be a sign of neglect.
Although the elderly are more vulnerable to infections due to their weak immune systems, nursing home abuse or neglect can cause infections or worsen their severity. Certain infections are life-threatening if residents do not receive prompt treatment. If the facility fails to provide reasonable medical support, victims may have grounds for an injury claim.
Extreme cases of nursing home abuse may result in the wrongful death of a resident. This is particularly common in disorganized or understaffed facilities. Some patients require constant medical attention, and failing to provide the appropriate health care may constitute negligence.
Why Does Nursing Home Abuse Happen?
All acts of nursing home abuse are preventable. These incidents are more likely to happen if:
- Nursing home staff members are poorly-trained
- The facility is understaffed
- Management is inattentive
Despite what many think, nursing homes employ few registered nurses. Most members of staff are low-paid and unlicensed. As people are living longer, the demand for nursing facilities only adds to the stress of an already understaffed nursing home.
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What to Do if Your Loved One Suffered Nursing Home Abuse?
If your loved one was the victim of nursing home abuse, it is important to speak out. Discuss the situation with the nursing home director. If no action is taken, report the nursing home abuse to the local authorities. Your loved one may be in need of a new home or an emergency room visit.
Don’t let your loved one suffer the consequences of nursing home abuse. Consider calling a Birmingham nursing home abuse lawyer from Morris Bart & Associates, LLC. Our law firm has over 40 years of experience fighting for the rights of elders. We can explain your rights and guide you through the claims process.
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