When a loved one is placed in a nursing home, a high level of trust is instilled in the staff and the facility. When that trust is violated, and abuse or neglect occurs, victims are vulnerable to sustaining injuries, illnesses, or an early death. Victims of nursing home abuse, or their living dependents in cases of wrongful death, can pursue compensation and punitive damages against negligent staff or criminal offenders.
If you or a loved one are a victim of nursing home abuse, call the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Fishman, 312- 346-8990 to file a personal injury lawsuit.
An increasing elderly population has led to an increased nursing home population, and with this has come an increased incidence of nursing home negligence and abuse. Governmental agencies such as the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services help oversee the care and services provided by nursing homes. Both federal and state governments have established uniform standards for nursing homes and ensure the protection and safety of patients.
Unfortunately, despite these governmental agencies, over one million nursing home residents are abused each year. That number may be higher in actuality, as many victims of abuse fail to report due to fear, feelings of shame, or physical inability to report. Often, abuse can go undetected if family visitation is reduced or symptoms are overlooked.
Violations of the expected standard of care can include negligence and active abuse. Whether the abuse consists of recurrent negligence or a single incident that causes injury, the victim has a right to damages. In most cases, the nursing home in question can lose its certification for failing to supply the expected care, leading to a loss of federal funding.
Nursing home abuse can include physical damage from falls, malnutrition or dehydration, bedsores, gangrene, aspiration pneumonia, over-sedation, generally poor medical care, infections, or wrong medication administration. Just as damaging but more subtle, are lack of supervision, theft, abandonment, provision of defective equipment, sexual assault, coercion, physical or mental abuse. When patients go unsupervised, or medical and dietary restrictions are overlooked, a patient can choke, fall, or experience a severe allergic reaction. All of these can lead to injury, worsened illness, or the premature death of the nursing home patient.
There are signs and symptoms that can help loved ones of victims detect nursing home abuse or neglect. Depending on the type of abuse present, symptoms of abuse include:
Financial Abuse– Signs of financial abuse include progressive debt, prolonged unpaid bills, missing cash or documentation, financial anxiety, missing checkbooks or credit/debit cards, and a significant amount of unaccounted-for new cards and loans.
Neglect– Neglect can manifest in a variety of ways in nursing homes. Often due to understaffing, signs of neglect include progressive infections, bedsores, worsening condition, lack of proper hygiene such as bathing and clean clothes/ linens, malnutrition as evidenced by dehydration or drastic changes in weight, broken, defective, or missing medical equipment, and undiagnosed illnesses or conditions.
Physical Abuse-Perhaps the most obvious form of abuse to spot, physical abuse can be unveiled by the presence of bruises, lacerations, excessive broken bones or fractures, torn or bloody clothing, and patient fear or distress.
Sexual Abuse– Sexual abuse may be hard for loved ones to detect. Often, symptoms of sexual abuse are intangible, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD symptoms. In addition, physical symptoms include bruising, especially around the thighs and genital area, and bloody or torn clothing.
Victims or family members should report abuse immediately to prevent further injury to the victim or other patients. A lawsuit should then be filed with a nursing home abuse lawyer to hold facilities and caregivers accountable and recover damages resulting from the injuries.
If you or a loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, call the Law Office of Kenneth A. Fishman, P.C. at 312-346-8990 or submit an online questionnaire. The initial consultation is free, and we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary recovery of funds.