Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
If someone you love has suffered abuse while living in a nursing home facility that may be entitled to compensation and they deserve justice. Contact the nursing home abuse attorneys of Hammack Law Firm at 864-326-3333 for a free case evaluation. We have built our reputation on helping people just like you.
Nursing homes and long-term care facilities are supposed to fill a void of care. When it’s not safe for our loved ones to stay at home because of their health or medical conditions, these facilities are the places of comfort and compassion that we turn to. However, not all facilities live up to the expected standard of care. The World Health Organization estimates that over the past year at least 15.7 percent of people over the age of 60 have suffered from some form of abuse or neglect in a nursing home facility. However, even they admit those statistics are a gross underestimation since only about 1 in 24 cases of elder abuse are ever reported.
The Greenville injury lawyers of Hammack Law Firm take nursing home abuse cases very seriously. At the end of the day, all nursing homes have a duty of care. It is their responsibility to ensure the health and safety of everyone under their roof. Neglecting that duty makes them responsible for the consequences of those actions, or lack thereof.
For a free legal consultation with a nursing home abuse lawyer serving Greenville, call 864-326-3333
What is the Definition of Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse isn’t limited to just one specific type of action. Abuse can encompass many different factors. The Nursing Home Abuse Center defines nursing home abuse in generic terms. It is seen as any type of intentional harm that comes to an elderly resident in a nursing home.
Abuse isn’t only a physical or violent act, abuse can take a number of different forms, but the one thing that all abuse has in common is the physical and emotional scars that it can leave on our family members. Elderly individuals who are suffering from any type of abuse are at a 300 percent higher risk of death, that’s compared to individuals who have never been mistreated at the hands of an abuser.
Greenville Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Near Me 864-326-3333
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
There are several classifications of nursing home abuse. While many people tend to think of abuse as a purely physical act, that is far from the case. The elderly are one of the most vulnerable demographics in our society.
A nursing home setting may provide predators with the perfect opportunity to exploit what they see as physical or mental weaknesses for their own benefit. That could mean a physical outlet for their anger or frustrations, or it could mean an easy target to take advantage of financially. Unfortunately, in many cases, an elderly resident may be on the receiving end of several different types of abuse. Here are the most common forms of nursing home abuse:
- Physical Abuse- Physical abuse is the act of laying hands on an individual and causing them bodily harm, it is any type of violent act perpetrated on an elderly resident.
- Emotional Abuse- A caregiver in a nursing home setting can abuse residents emotionally by using threats, intimidation, insults, and humiliation tactics. Behaviors like these are abusive and completely unnecessary and inappropriate. This type of abuse can cause significant problems and be extremely dangerous.
- Sexual Abuse- A severely under-reported problem, elderly nursing home residents can be at risk for sexual abuse. This includes any type of unwanted touching, fondling, intercourse, or other sexual activity, including taking nude or indecent photographs. While some residents still have the ability to say no, others with cognitive or physical limitations are not able to refuse consent, this is still sexual abuse no matter what a caregiver insists.
- Financial Abuse- Some caregivers take advantage of elderly residents financially. This type of abuse can include theft of personal property or heirlooms, identity theft, scam investments, or gaining access to personal accounts through coercion or forgery.
- Neglect- Abuse also includes a lack of care in the form of neglect. A caregiver may accidentally or willfully ignore or refuse to acknowledge the needs of an elderly resident.
Any of these types of behaviors on their own or in combination with others is nursing home abuse. Abuse is a serious breach of care and can carry criminal and civil penalties. Getting in touch with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney is you and your family member’s best course of action. Without someone intervening, abuse will continue to occur, not only to your family member but to others as well.
Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Understanding the different forms that abuse can take means you can begin to better recognize the warning signs of abuse. The warnings signs of abuse, especially emotional abuse, can be very subtle and hard to detect. In elderly residents with cognitive conditions, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, they may not be able to communicate clearly to you that something is wrong. That’s why it is imperative for you to be able to detect the symptoms and trust your gut.
Even in family members who can communicate, they may not feel comfortable letting you know that abuse is taking place. Why? There are several factors that may make a close family member afraid to come forward with claims of abuse. They may fear repercussions and retaliation from the abusive caregiver. They may feel guilt or shame for being in the position of a victim. They may not want to burden their family members with the painful knowledge that something is wrong.
You can help prevent your loved one from being one of the unseen, unheard victims of abuse. These are some of the more common warning signs of nursing home abuse to watch out for:
- Unexplained broken bones, cuts, or bruises
- Marks or bruises on or near the genitals
- Withdrawal from favorite activities or pastimes
- Withdrawal from family or friends
- Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
- Lack of eye contact
- Refusing to cooperate with certain staff or caregivers
- Sudden changes in weight or appearance
- Change in a financial situation
- Frequent infections or illnesses
- Poor hygiene
- Unchanged or dirty clothes, linens, or bandages
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How Are Nursing Homes Responsible for Abuse?
Every case of abuse is unique and has its own set of special circumstances. The one thing that all abuse cases have in common is the fact that the victim is never at fault. There is no excuse for abusing an elderly resident in a nursing home setting. None.
While it is common for caregivers and nursing home staff to be responsible for abuse against an individual there are a number of ways that nursing home management and administration may be responsible for contributing to, condoning, or ignoring that type of inappropriate behavior. These are some of the factors that can contribute or lead to abusive situations in nursing home and long-term care facilities:
- Understaffing- Understaffing a nursing home facility puts an emotional and physical strain on staff and resources at a facility. This can lead to staff members resorting to different forms of abuse as frustration mounts. It can also lead to cases of neglect as busy and short-staffed caregivers try to juggle too many patients. Some residents may fall through the cracks and not receive adequate care and attention.
- Poor or inadequate staff training- It is beholden to the nursing home to make sure that all staff has the proper education and training before being hired as caregivers. The nursing home is also responsible for making sure staff are properly trained in correct nursing home procedures, following guidelines, and have proper supervision.
- Poor administrative practices- Most nursing home and long-term care facilities are for-profit businesses. They are in the business of making money. There are some facilities that may prize material wealth and profits over the health and safety of their residents. This can mean there is a mismanagement of resources and chronic understaffing in an effort to maximize profit margins. It can also lead to problems with low wages for staff and caregivers. Low wages paired with a high volume of work can make staff resentful and uncaring about their job duties. In severe cases, poor administrative practices may also mean that claims of abuse are swept under the rug, overlooked, and simply ignored in order to maintain status and credibility and to avoid government fines and lawsuits.
Why Contact Hammack Law Firm?
Abuse is never an easy subject to talk about. It can cause guilt, embarrassment, and emotional pain and trauma for the person suffering at the hands of an abuser. It is not always easy to break the cycle and get help, especially when you know your daily care, food, and medication, are all in the hands of your abuser.
Your loved one may be afraid to speak out, that is why it is so important for family members to recognize the warning signs. You can make a difference and at Hammack Law Firm we are here to help. Our team of seasoned attorneys has the knowledge to tackle the problem and the compassion to help you deal with this sensitive issue.
You need sound legal advice. You need a solid case strategy to deal with the unique circumstances of your situation. You need to contact the team at Hammack Law Firm to make sure that your legal claim is as strong as you are. It takes strength and courage to bring abuse claims to light, we understand that and want to work hard to bring justice and compensation to you and your family. Contact us at 864-326-3333 for a free case evaluation.