Has Your Loved One Suffered From Nursing Home Neglect? Contact Bluestein Attorneys Today.
The decision to move an older relative or loved one permanently into an assisted-living community or nursing home is fraught with emotional and logistical difficulty. With age or infirmity comes immense vulnerability, as well as an increased risk of suffering from neglect or abuse.
While nursing homes are designed with the care of the elderly or very sick in mind, they are also places where indifferent or abusive caregivers could leave your loved one injured, frightened, or subject to serious nursing home neglect.
If you have a loved one who has been subjected to nursing home neglect or elder abuse, you may be able to fight back and help their rights be fully represented in a court of law.
What’s the Difference Between Elder Abuse and Nursing Home Neglect?
Generally speaking, the difference between abuse and neglect is one of intention.
It is often assumed and neglect are the same, but they have essential differences that set them apart from one another, especially when it comes to considering a Personal Injury case against a caregiver or nursing home.
Elder abuse generally includes specific intent to cause harm to the elderly person, while neglect is defined similarly to Personal Injury concerns like medical malpractice. Nursing home neglect is considered a breach of duty and providing of substandard care according to the standard of care that it can be assumed will be provided.
Often, the elderly person subjected to abuse or neglect will be sworn to secrecy or too frightened to speak up, so it may be up to their loved ones to spot the signs of nursing home neglect.
Signs that an elderly or infirm person is being subjected to abuse or neglect include:
- Sudden weight loss or signs of malnutrition
- Dehydration (older people often show different symptoms of dehydration, including confusion, so keep a close eye!)
- Bedsores or pressure sores
- Injuries from falling
- Decreases in the standard of personal hygiene or appearance
- Isolation or withdrawn behavior
- Unusual changes in behavior — especially around nursing staff
If you have noticed these signs, or any other concerning changes, in your loved one while they are in the care of an assisted-living or nursing home facility, we recommend documenting all symptoms (including taking photos, if injuries are visible), and meeting with a legal representative to go over the contract that was initially signed when your loved one moved into the facility.
What Can I Do If My Elderly Relative Has Been Abused or Neglected?
In some cases, you may have to step forward to be the best advocate for your loved one, if they are no longer able to fully advocate for themselves. It’s imperative to meet with a legal representative, as many family members have been shocked to discover they unknowingly signed “forced arbitration” agreements as part of the initial contract that severely limit their ability to advocate for an elderly person suffering from nursing home neglect or elder abuse.
In some cases, the relative or caregiver who initially signed the contract has passed away or is no longer able to act as a legal advocate for the elderly person, and there may no one, aside from the nursing home itself, who knows exactly what it is the signed contract.
If your loved one has not yet entered one of these facilities and you’re considering doing so, please consider meeting with a legal representative before any contracts are signed.
A legal representative with experience helping to advocate for individuals subject to nursing home neglect or abuse can help you be fully informed as to all details and what your options may be if you need to advocate for or protect your loved one.
If your loved one is showing signs of nursing home neglect or abuse, bring all documentation, including medical treatment records, photographs of visible injuries, descriptions of the behavioral changes, or any medications they may be taking, to a meeting with a legal representative. They will be able to help you put together the details of your situation into a cohesive picture and work with you to decide the next best step to take in advocating for the rights of your loved one.
Individuals living in nursing homes or assisted-living facilities are uniquely vulnerable, but they deserve the exact same legal rights and representation as anyone else.
To request your free Personal Injury consultation for nursing home neglect or elder abuse, please contact Bluestein Attorneys at (803) 779-7599 or fill out the form.