What can I do if my loved one is being abused in a nursing home?
Nursing home abuse can be a painful and traumatizing experience for your loved one. The sooner you act, the better. Here are some important tips to guide you:
The first thing you need to do is understand the signs of abuse. Once you are certain that your loved one is a victim of abuse, you need to document everything. Next, report the nursing home abuse to the relevant authorities. And finally, consider speaking with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney.
What Are Some Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?
The signs of nursing home abuse to watch out for will depend on the type of abuse. There are some common signs of abuse in nursing homes:
- Unexplained diseases
- Unexplained bruises or wounds
- Changes in your loved one’s behavior
- Lack of proper hygiene
- Unexpected weight loss
- Unexplained loss of finances
If you notice any of the following signs, chances are your loved one is a victim of abuse. That said, it is important to note that some of these signs, such as unexplained weight loss, could result from underlying health conditions. For this reason, consider speaking with your loved one (that is if they can communicate) about these signs.
In fact, speaking with your loved one will help you better understand what they are going through.
How Do I Document Nursing Home Abuse?
When documenting nursing home abuse, focus on the signs of abuse. For example, if your loved one has unexplained wounds, you may want to take pictures of those wounds. You can also document their feelings if they are open to discussing their experience with you. It is even better if you find anyone within the nursing home who might be willing to shed more light on the suspected abuse.
If so, make sure you take their contact information. Their testimony could come in handy if you decide to take legal action against the abuser.
How Can I Report Nursing Home Abuse?
Each state has a government agency that handles these complaints and cases. For example, in Washington, you can report nursing home abuse to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). In Florida, the Agency for Health Care Administration handles these kinds of complaints.
After reporting the abuse to the state, it is important to ensure your loved one receives the proper care they need after such an incident. For example, if they have wounds, you should contact their primary doctor to have them checked and treated immediately. The same applies if they seem traumatized by the incident — they may need to speak with a therapist or counselor.
Who Is Liable for Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse cases are complicated. For this reason, it is always advisable to contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney to help determine liability. In some cases, the care provider, usually the caregiver or nurse, might be liable for the abuse. In other cases, the abuser might be a nursing home resident. Additionally, the owner of the nursing home might be responsible.
An experienced attorney will examine all factors to determine the party responsible for the abuse. This information will give them a better idea of where to file a claim if you decide to go that route.
Can I Sue Nursing Home Residents If They Abuse My Loved One?
The truth is, you can file a lawsuit against almost anyone you can think of. The big question, however, is whether you can recover a reasonable settlement for your injuries. While there is nothing wrong with suing a nursing home resident, the better option is to go for the big fish—the nursing home owner, nurse, or other related parties.
This is because nursing home residents are usually not in a position to take care of themselves in certain aspects. That is why they are in the nursing home in the first place. It is the duty of the administration to ensure that everyone is safe while providing care.
For example, if your loved one is constantly being abused by one of the residents, you would expect the administrators to know about the abuse and take the required steps to prevent such incidents from reoccurring.
But since nursing homes are businesses like any other, some owners might try to downplay the abuse to keep profiting from their businesses. In that case, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the nursing home owners, seeking compensation for damages caused by their negligence.
Another example is when your loved one is sexually abused by a registered sex offender who works at the nursing home as a caregiver. Under normal circumstances, such an individual should not be allowed to work with vulnerable adults or kids. But their employer’s failure to conduct a background check, which is a form of negligence, could be the reason your loved one is the latest victim of sexual abuse.
Where Can I Find a Good Nursing Home Abuse Attorney?
Because nursing home abuse cases are complex, you need a competent, thorough, and aggressive attorney to fight for you. That is what you get at Morgan and Morgan, and even more. Our attorneys have access to powerful resources needed to investigate the abuse and hold the abusers responsible for their actions.
A nursing home should be that one place your loved one feels at home away from home. But unfortunately, some nursing homes can cause your loved one great pain and trauma, lasting years. If that is what your loved one is going through, we might be able to help.
Do not let them suffer in silence or become just another statistic of nursing home abuse; fill out our free case evaluation form today.