When an individual cannot live independently due to a decline in physical health or cognitive ability, a nursing home can be the safest place for him or her. In a nursing home, an individual has 24-hour access to medical care in a clean, safe environment. At least, this is what a nursing home should ideally be. In reality, nursing home residents can face neglect and other forms of mistreatment from their caregivers. There are many reasons why this mistreatment occurs, such as understaffing in nursing homes, inadequate training for handling residents’ issues, and lack of resident advocacy. No matter why nursing home abuse occurs, it is never acceptable. Abuse in all its forms can have a detrimental effect on a resident’s health, and in many cases, the resident cannot advocate for him- or herself. If you have a loved one who resides in an assisted living facility, it is your job to be vigilant to protect him or her from harm. Let our Austin nursing home abuse lawyers take care of the legal aspect on your family’s behalf so you can start healing.
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Types of Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
Nursing home abuse is not always obvious. It also might not look like the image you see when you imagine nursing home abuse. Physical abuse like hitting and shoving patients can occur, but it is not the only form of mistreatment that can occur in an assisted living facility for the elderly. These are also not the only types of physical abuse that can occur. Depriving an individual of needed medication or nutritional food or water is also a form of physical abuse.
Emotional abuse occurs when an individual is made to feel like he or she is a burden. This can tie into psychological abuse, which is treatment that makes the victim question his or her memory, sanity, or perception. Manipulation into compliance can involve elements of emotional and psychological abuse.
Manipulation can be part of an overarching incidence of financial abuse, which is using a resident’s financial resources without his or her consent. This can be taking money or valuables or using his or her identity to make fraudulent purchases.
Sexual abuse is the unwanted sexual contact with the victim. This can include touching, engaging in sexual acts, or even simply exposing the victim to sexual content.
Neglect can also occur in nursing homes. When a resident does not receive the proper care, he or she is a victim of neglect. Nursing home neglect can be the staff’s failure to clean residents’ rooms, failure to provide a resident with the medical care he or she needs, failure to provide enough water or appropriate food, or simply failing to provide social stimulation.
All forms of nursing home abuse can have a detrimental impact on the resident’s wellbeing. A resident’s condition might worsen, or a new condition could go unnoticed due to neglect. Declining mental and physical health are linked to a lower quality of life and a shorter life expectancy.
What to do if You Suspect Your Loved One is Being Abused
First, speak with your loved one’s caregivers. Tell them about your observations and your concerns. The issues you see could already be on the staff’s radar, such as a decline in your loved one’s mental health. You might also find that certain sights, sounds, and smells that initially appear to be signs of poor treatment are actually standard in nursing homes – sometimes, medications cause residents to experience adverse reactions, or residents with dementia could call for help out of confusion.
You can make an anonymous report of suspected nursing home abuse to the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services. When you make a report, a representative of the agency will make an unannounced visit to the facility to investigate your report. You will receive his or her observations in writing or over the phone, which you can use to support your nursing home abuse claim.
Speak with an experienced Austin lawyer about your rights, your loved one’s rights, and your grounds for filing a nursing home abuse claim. If your loved one’s health level or injury can be directly linked to negligence on the part of his or her facility or caregivers, he or she could be entitled to receive compensation for any resulting damages.
If your loved one is suffering from an injury or his or her health has declined because of suspected nursing home abuse, be an advocate for him or her by taking legal action.
Contact our team of experienced Austin nursing home abuse lawyers today to schedule your initial consultation with us, during which we can review your case and advise you about the most productive course of action to take to protect your loved one.