The decision of whether to place a family member in a nursing home or long-term care facility is a difficult one. Everyone involved want to ensure that their loved one receives the best care available and is able to live comfortably and sometimes that means a nursing home or care facility.
Disabled or elderly residents of these facilities and their families depend on the nursing home staff to provide care and ensure their safety. Many of the elder care or nursing home facilities in the United States provide excellent care for their inhabitants, however, some facilities do not provide good or even adequate care. Over the past years, there have been an unfortunate increase in the number of nursing home residents who have been the victims of abuse or neglect by nursing home staff.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Reasons for why residents of nursing homes have been the victims of abuse are not always entirely clear. An aging population has led to an increase in numbers of people who may need nursing care. A rise in abuse and neglect claims may be attributed to nursing homes that are understaffed and not able to handle the growing number of patients, nursing homes with staff that are improperly trained or nursing homes with staff members that are not properly screened or qualified to handle the job.
Unfortunately, many instances of nursing home abuse or neglect go unreported as the victims may be too frightened, embarrassed, or simply not physically able to report the abuses. The nursing home staff may also conceal any abuse to avoid investigation or lawsuits. Nursing home abuse manifests itself in many different forms including physical abuse, mental abuse, financial abuse, or neglect.
In many cases, family members are the only ones who will notice signs of abuse and these may be dismissed or disregarded until a serious incident has occurred.
Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits may be filed for reasons which result in harm or endanger the resident including:
- Failure to keep environment safe and free of hazards
- Failure to maintain health and safety policies
- Failure to provide daily necessities
- Negligent hiring practices
- Negligent training of staff
- Negligent supervision of residents
- Lack of security
- Failure to provide adequate medical treatment
- Intentional harm
Nursing homes most often accept payment from Medicare, which also requires that they adhere to standards of care established by the Federal government. Violations may subject the facility to restrictions or punishment according to federal law.
Proving Nursing Home Abuse
In order for a nursing home to be liable for injury or damage that occurs at the treatment facility, a lawsuit must prove several things.
In the case of injury, many claims will be made based on negligence which must prove that:
- The nursing home had a duty of care to the resident
- The duty of care was not met or was breached
- The resident suffered harm due to breach of duty
Damages claimed by nursing home abuse lawsuits may include compensation for direct costs such as medical treatments, but may also include other types of damages including:
- Costs of medical treatments
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental distress and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
Documentation of injuries or abuse may include nursing home reports but should also include resident or family member documentation such as photographs, diaries, written summaries or other records which can be used to show a pattern or history of problems or abuse.
Nursing Home Abuse Statistics
For the past several decades, a growing concern has been emerging regarding the care of aging populations. Some estimates show that up to 5,000,000 elders may be physically, verbally or financially abused each year in and out of care facilities and as many as one-fourth of all nursing home residents may experience physical abuse while in a nursing home. Unfortunately, the majority of these incidents will go unreported.
Abused elders may be three times as likely to die than individuals who have not been abused.
Filing a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit
If you or a family member has suffered injury from nursing home abuse and neglect or are interested in more information on nursing home abuse lawsuits, please fill out the contact us form for a free consultation.