The people responsible for caring for our elderly loved ones in nursing homes and assisted living communities have a moral and legal duty to treat their patients with respect and to discharge their duties faithfully, prioritizing patient safety and health. When nursing home staff or other caregivers fail to fulfill their obligations or commit intentionally abusive acts against the elders in their care, they’re guilty of elder abuse or negligence.
Anyone with family members living in a nursing home or assisted living community should know the warning signs of elder abuse and negligence, and it’s important for visiting family members to remain vigilant for anything out of the ordinary during visits. If you notice evidence of elder abuse, it is crucial to seek legal aid as soon as possible.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Many elderly individuals living in nursing homes suffer from the physical and psychological effects of aging and many of the infirmities common to older people. This makes them especially vulnerable to manipulation, intimidation, and abuse. If you have an elderly loved one living in an assisted living community or nursing home, be on the lookout for any of the warning signs of neglect or abuse:
- Sudden changes in your loved one’s behavior.
- Signs of depression, listlessness, or irritability. An elder suffering abuse at the hands of caregivers may be too afraid to seek help and may display reluctance to talk about life at the facility.
- Cleanliness of the room, grounds of the facility, and your elderly loved one. Caregivers must ensure that their residents have regular baths and clean clothes and sheets. Soiled sheets and clothes or poor sanitation can exacerbate medical conditions and leave residents susceptible to infections.
- Unexplained charges on your elderly loved one’s bank account or credit cards. If you happen to have access to these accounts or can monitor them, be sure to ask your loved one about any suspicious activity. There have been countless cases of financial elder abuse involving caregivers who write themselves checks using residents’ checkbooks or who steal residents’ identities to obtain credit cards.
- Bruises or other wounds that your loved one does not remember or seems hesitant to mention. These injuries could be signs of physical abuse.
- Signs of neglect, including malnourishment, lack of access to clean water, soiled clothing and bedding, or inattentive staff.
When elders at nursing homes or assisted living facilities endure physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse from their caregivers, it falls to the elders’ families to pursue legal action against the responsible parties. There are many resources available to people in these situations, including adult protective services and the police. Don’t hesitate to contact the authorities if you suspect your loved one is enduring abuse.
Filing an Elder Abuse Lawsuit
After positively identifying elder abuse, your first priority should be to remove your loved one from the abusive environment as soon as possible. Then, you should gather as much evidence as possible to start building your case. Try to secure copies of all of your loved one’s records from the facility and obtain statements from the administration concerning the abuse. Do your best to determine what internal actions the facility has taken against the abuser/s.
Contact a reliable, experienced attorney to handle your lawsuit. The attorneys at Bode & Collins believe in providing individualized legal counsel to every one of our clients. The people charged with caring for our elderly loved ones have a legal and moral duty to act in good faith, so when they take advantage of those in their care or abuse them, it’s crucial that they be held accountable for the damages they cause. Contact our team today to schedule an initial case evaluation, and we’ll let you know how we can help.