Many patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia have a tendency to wander off. A nursing home must have security to protect these patients from an “elopement,” which is wandering off the premises. A nursing home resident who gets lost may suffer from hypothermia in cold weather and faces many other dangers. A relative who has eloped from a nursing home and suffered an injury may be a victim of nursing home neglect.
There are shocking numbers of residents who are physically abused in nursing homes. Types of abuse include slapping, pinching, shoving, punching, and even biting or being thrown about with force while being moved. The resident is often terrified, and may be unable to speak, or is under threat of further physical abuse if he or she tells a family member about the abuse.
There are various types of emotional abuse that can have a serious impact on the overall health of a nursing home resident. Emotional abuse may involve yelling, cursing, berating, humiliating or isolating a resident with no contact or communication. The resident is often frightened, withdrawn and depressed, and goes into decline.
There are cases in which vulnerable residents are sexually abused by caregivers in nursing homes. Examples include unwanted sexual contact with a staff member, a resident being forced to watch others engage in sexual activity, or being forced to view pornography. The impact on the physical and emotional health of the person is often extreme in these cases.
The loss of valuable jewelry, changes in bank accounts, new beneficiaries named in a will that happen to be a caregiver from a nursing home are all signs of financial abuse. Disappearing bank accounts or other assets are another red flag.
Neglect can take many forms, including failure to provide proper nutrition and hydration, failure to maintain correct levels of hygiene, or a failure to provide attention to a resident’s emotional needs.
Some nursing homes have been found to overmedicate their residents in order make them more manageable for the convenience of the staff. This is referred to as “chemical restraint.” It can have very serious consequences for residents who receive sedative medication that is not medically necessary.
Lack of medical care
Every nursing home resident must have a care plan in place, and all medical treatment must be under the direction of the resident’s doctors. There are many cases in which a resident has a condition that was not properly treated, leading to illness, injury, or death. Harm that results from a failure to provide the accepted standard of medical care would indicate that there has been a breach of duty to the patient.
Elder Abuse: An Epidemic
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) defines elder abuse as: “Intentional actions that cause harm or create a serious risk of harm (whether or not harm is intended) to a vulnerable elder by a caregiver or other person who stands in a trust relationship to the elder. This includes failure by a caregiver to satisfy the elder’s basic needs or to protect the elder from harm.”
Cases of elder abuse and neglect are increasing, and these cases have reached epidemic proportions, as reported by the NCEA. Many victims are those who suffer from dementia and no longer have the ability to report what has occurred due to diminished mental capacity.
A recent study from the NCEA revealed the following:
- 20 percent of caregivers expressed fears they would become violent with patients.
- 47.3 percent of nursing home residents have been the victim of abuse from caregivers.
- 60 percent of caregivers admit to having been verbally abusive.
- Up to 10 percent of caregivers admit to having been physically abusive.
- 14 percent of caregivers admit to having been neglectful.
Contact Fort Collins Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer for Legal Help
Victims of elder abuse or neglect in a nursing home may be able to seek compensation through legal action. The responsible parties can be held accountable and required to pay damages if it is determined that the resident has been a victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home.
There may be several liable parties, including the caregiver, a medical doctor, the administration, the owner of the facility, and others. Each case is unique with regard to what occurred, the extent of the damages, and how the case may proceed.
Nursing home abuse lawyer Steve Ray represents victims of nursing home abuse, and our firm is dedicated to getting justice for people who have been harmed. Steve Ray is a former Marine Corps judge who now fights for the rights of nursing home abuse victims. He is ready to bring more than 35 years of combined legal experience to assist you with a claim for compensation if your loved one has been injured in a nursing home or other long-term care facility in Fort Collins or elsewhere in Northern Colorado.
Our firm will take the time to listen and understand what happened in your case. We will carefully explain the options available to your family for seeking compensation. Ultimately, we will take the steps needed to seek a maximum recovery in your case.
If you don’t recover a verdict or settlement, you will pay nothing for our legal services.
Contact us today to arrange a free, no-obligation legal consultation about your case.
- Nursing Home Report Cards: Key Findings
- National Center on Elder Abuse: How at Risk for Abuse Are People with Dementia?