Placing your loved one in a nursing home comes with many conflicting emotions, but you’re doing so because your loved one needs a certain level of professional care. Nursing homes are supposed to provide high-quality care that ensures your loved one’s health and enjoyment of life. However, when nursing homes fail to take care of their residents, the effects can be severely detrimental to your loved one’s health. They didn’t deserve that treatment and you can seek justice on their behalf with an Omaha nursing home abuse lawyer from Welsh & Welsh PC, LLO.
The citizens of Nebraska need legal professionals who will fight for their rights when they’re violated. We’re here to make sure that they have a strong voice when they’re holding someone accountable for their abusive or negligent actions. Welsh & Welsh PC, LLO attorneys have extensive experience in personal injury law and we’re ready to help those who have been wrongfully hurt.
The Difference Between Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
While abuse and neglect are often used interchangeably, they apply to different situations. When there is abuse in a nursing home, it’s the deliberate actions of a person who means to do the resident harm.
Negligence, on the other hand, is when the resident receives substandard care. While the staff may not be intentionally harming the patient, their inability to provide the care the resident needs results in them getting hurt.
Your elder abuse lawyer will carefully examine your loved one’s case to find out if they were a victim of abuse or neglect. Both cases are unacceptable and the right parties need to be held accountable for what they’ve done.
An abusive caregiver could show that the nursing home needs better methods of hiring and vetting their employees. Neglect may indicate that changes need to be made to make sure that each resident’s needs are met and the staff can keep them safe and maintain a high quality of life. With a dependable nursing home neglect lawyer at your side, you’ll have someone asking the hard questions about how your loved one was treated, who was around them, and what kind of suffering they went through.
What Type of Elder Abuse Can Occur in a Nursing Home?
Your Omaha lawyers are well aware of the types of abuse or neglect that can happen in a nursing home. They may ask questions to get an idea of how your loved one was poorly treated. Typically, abuse may fall into these categories.
Physical. This form of abuse could entail staff hitting or shoving residents. They could also be handling them too roughly, such as squeezing too hard if they’re helping a resident move. About 29 percent of all nursing home abuse complaints are physical.
Psychological. Staff can also harm residents psychologically. This usually takes the form of speaking harshly, name-calling or using derogatory words, and swearing. Constant belittling can greatly harm a senior’s self-esteem.
Financial. Seniors, especially those with memory loss, may not know if they’re being taken advantage of financially. People could steal their credit cards or forge signatures on checks.
Abandonment. Sometimes, nursing homes will drop off residents either at a hospital or leave them in a public place. This is called abandonment and may happen because the home doesn’t know how to properly care for the resident. It’s also incredibly dangerous to the resident as they may wander and hurt themselves or not know who to contact.
Sexual. This abuse occurs when there is any non-consensual sexual contact involving a senior.
Social. This can either be intentional or unintentional. A malicious staff member could purposely keep a resident from seeing other residents and participating in social activities, which are essential to a senior’s health and wellbeing. If the nursing home is neglectful, they may not be able to make sure their residents are getting the social interaction they need on a day to day basis.
There are also forms of neglect that can severely harm a resident. They may not get their medication on time. For those who have health conditions or are currently trying to get over an illness, missing a dosage of medicine could be fatal. There’s also the chance of a resident not getting the daily care they need, such as getting regular nutrition, staying hydrated, and maintaining their hygiene. Residents may require help with teeth brushing, using the bathroom, bathing, and changing into fresh, clean clothes. A nursing home that doesn’t have the staff to support their residents will likely have seniors in soiled clothing or in need of personal care.
When you seek out help from Welsh & Welsh PC, LLO, one of our skilled Omaha nursing home abuse attorneys will find out what happened to your loved one and if it was a result of abuse or neglect. While neither are acceptable, this will help put together a strong case for your loved one and will help you get a fair settlement.
The Consequences of Elder Abuse
Abuse and neglect can have overt effects on a senior citizen. Their quality of life can diminish, and typically their demeanor and health will as well. It’s unfortunate that for some residents, vocalizing what’s happening to them isn’t an option. Some may feel too scared to speak up in fear of retaliation from the abuser or the nursing home. Many residents in a home who suffer from dementia or other forms of memory loss may not be aware of what’s happening to them or may be unable to communicate who is hurting them because dementia can affect a person’s ability to speak.
When residents aren’t getting the care they need, they are more susceptible to illness. Common colds or other viruses can easily spread when basic needs aren’t met. These can be severely detrimental to residents with compromised immune systems and it can be more difficult to fight these illnesses off.
Seniors who are victims of abuse may show signs of injury. They may have unexplained bruising or bumps. In more severe cases, they could have broken bones. A nursing home that has abusive or negligent staff is more likely to have residents with injuries. One of the most dangerous injuries for a senior is falling.
When a senior falls, they may not have the reflexes to catch themselves and hit the ground. This can also cause injuries like hip fractures or head trauma. A fracture is concerning because if the senior doesn’t get treatment quickly, it can become infected. Seniors take longer to recover from more serious injuries, and it may permanently affect them.
A fall can happen from an abusive staff member pushing a resident. But negligence can also cause falls. When residents don’t get the regular care and attention they need, they may try to do tasks on their own that they need assistance with. So, if a senior who is a fall risk tries to walk to the bathroom or reach for an item, they could potentially lose their balance and fall. A negligent nursing home that doesn’t have enough staff to get to every resident in a timely manner could possibly leave residents alone for hours on end. It could take a significant amount of time for staff to even know that someone has been injured.
Falling isn’t the only risk for neglected seniors. Many residents may be confined to their beds or wheelchairs. When residents have mobility issues, they need to be regularly shifted so they don’t develop pressure sores. Also known as bed sores, these can be extremely painful injuries that happen when a resident is in the same position for hours on end.
While some of these injuries or illnesses are more overt, there are small changes that you may pick up on that tells you something is off. You may also notice changes in your loved one’s demeanor. You know their personality and what’s normal for them. Major changes like seeming fearful, agitated, or extremely quiet could indicate that something is wrong. Residents may also develop symptoms of anxiety or depression. If your loved one seems completely subdued, it could be because the staff is using chemical restraints, which is illegal but sometimes happens because it makes residents easier to control.
How Can a Lawyer Help You?
While we discuss what happened to your loved one, we’ll work on getting all the evidence we need to prove that they were a victim of abuse. You may wonder how else an Omaha nursing home abuse lawyer can help you. We’re here to make sure your voice is heard and that your loved one’s rights are protected. Our knowledge of the law and passion for justice will give your loved one a strong advocate who will demand that the guilty party is held accountable for what they did.
As we build your case, we’re looking to prove that the nursing home did not meet their duty of care that they owed your loved one, and as a result your loved one suffered for it. We can do this by speaking with you and investigating the case, which could mean talking to other people at the home or looking at medical records that show how your loved one was hurt.
Let an Attorney from Welsh & Welsh PC, LLO Represent You and Your Loved One
In Nebraska, you have four years to bring your claim forward. If you file for nursing home abuse past the statute of limitations, you risk your case being thrown out. It’s best to get in touch with an elder abuse attorney as soon as possible so we can start collecting the facts. Over time, certain details may become fuzzy or physical evidence could be lost.
To start getting your loved one the justice they deserve, contact us today. We’ll schedule a free consultation and review the points of your case. Then, we can start getting your loved one the compensation they deserve.