Once you’ve recognized that your loved one needs nursing home care and have found the facility that you believe is a good match, you may think that the hard part is behind you. Unfortunately, however, nursing home abuse and neglect happen. If your loved one has been harmed by either neglect or abuse in the nursing home, you need skilled legal counsel. Your aging relative’s rights and wellbeing are far too important to ignore.
Nursing Home Neglect and AbuseNursing homes owe each of their residents a duty of care that extends to providing individual residents with the personalized care they need. When a nursing home fails to provide adequate care, this might be a case of nursing home neglect, and residents are often harmed in the process. Nursing home abuse, on the other hand, is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as “any intentional act, or failure to act, by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult (60 years or older).” Nursing home abuse, in other words, has an intentional component that makes it that much more egregious. Understaffing and poor training at nursing homes can contribute to both neglect and abuse. Overworked staff may cut corners or lose their patience with residents. Undertrained staff may make mistakes or fail to recognize—and thus report—signs of abuse, allowing it to continue.
Common InjuriesThere are a variety of injuries that are common to instances of nursing home neglect and abuse:
- Spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injuries are extremely serious injuries that are often caused by slip and fall accidents, which are common to nursing home neglect cases. Such injuries often lead to loss of movement, which can include complete or partial paralysis. Spinal cord injuries are exceedingly painful, are slow to heal, and are often debilitating.
- Bedsores are another name for pressure ulcers, and they’re skin injuries that can quickly progress into seriously dangerous wounds that are slow and difficult to heal. When bedsores are deep, they can also damage the victim’s underlying tissue, and dangerous health consequences can ensue. People with limited mobility, such as many nursing home residents, are most prone to bedsores, and they often need consistent help with moving into new positions so that bedsores don’t develop in the first place. When nursing homes fail to provide this necessary care, it’s neglect.
- Cuts, bruises, and fractures. If your loved one exhibits unexplained cuts, bruises, and/or fractures, it could be a sign of nursing home abuse. Any of these injuries can be exceedingly dangerous in the elderly, and they should never be ignored. Further, when cuts, bruises, or fractures aren’t treated adequately, they can develop into even more dangerous injuries.