Deciding to place an elderly family member in a nursing home or assisted living facility is often a deeply emotional choice. Every year, countless families face this decision, hoping to ensure their aging parents or grandparents receive the comprehensive care they need. While we all wish for our loved ones to experience compassionate and respectful care in their later years, the unfortunate reality is that nursing home neglect and abuse are increasingly prevalent issues in the United States. If you suspect mistreatment of a loved one in such a facility, our Houston Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers at Daly & Black, P.C. are here to offer support and legal guidance.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Aging is an inevitable journey, but enduring one’s golden years in a setting marked by humiliation, danger, or neglect is deeply unjust. In the United States, about 40 percent of individuals over 65 years old reside in nursing homes or long-term care facilities, where, alarmingly, abuse is a harsh reality.
The National Center for Adult Abuse reports that each year, an estimated two million elderly Americans suffer abuse in these facilities. Even more distressing is that for every reported incident of nursing home abuse, up to five may go unnoticed. Studies reveal that seniors who endure abuse have a shorter lifespan compared to those receiving proper care, irrespective of their medical conditions. As your Houston Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers, we at Daly & Black, P.C. are dedicated to addressing this grave issue and offering legal support to those affected.
If your elderly loved one has been abused or neglected, you may notice symptoms, such as:
- Malnourishment or dehydration
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Soiled bed sheets or clothing
- Medications not being administered or administered improperly
Some of the most common forms of nursing home abuse and neglect are listed below.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents pose a risk to individuals of all ages, but they can be especially devastating for elderly family members, often leading to serious, life-changing impacts. If you have concerns that a loved one has suffered a slip and fall incident due to nursing home staff negligence, our team is here to handle the legal complexities. This allows you to concentrate on ensuring your elderly family member receives the immediate and appropriate medical care they need. Trust us to diligently work on your legal case, providing the support and guidance necessary during this challenging time.
When analyzing a nursing home slip and fall case, our lawyers will investigate every circumstance surrounding the incident, including:
- Staff response to the accident and injury
- Environmental factors, such as adequate lighting, railing and floor safety
- Lack of supervision
- Your loved one’s specific needs
Broken and Fractured Bones
You made the decision to place your loved one in the care of a nursing home or assisted living facility because the patient’s health is in a fragile state. Nursing home residents are at a high risk for suffering from broken and fractured bones, particularly to the:
Although the majority of these injuries occur from a slip and fall accident due to insufficient supervision, some injuries sadly result from physical abuse from callous and aggressive staff members. Our team of personal injury lawyers and nursing home abuse lawyers are well-experienced to investigate if your loved ones have been mistreated.
Bedsores and Pressure Sores
Bedsores, a common issue in care facilities, often arise from prolonged pressure due to sitting or lying in the same position for too long. This constant pressure disrupts blood flow to certain areas, damaging skin and other tissues deprived of essential nutrients. Elderly patients with limited mobility are particularly at risk. Untreated bedsores can lead to severe, sometimes fatal, infections.
Proper training for care facility staff is critical to prevent and manage bedsores. However, issues arise when facilities are understaffed or caregivers are overburdened, leading to inadequate patient care. If your loved one is suffering from such neglect, our Houston Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers at Daly & Black, P.C. are here to help.
Shockingly, the National Center for Adult Abuse reports that each year in the United States, approximately two million seniors endure some form of abuse in the care of those responsible for their well-being. Even more alarming is that for every reported case of nursing home abuse, as many as five may go unnoticed. Studies indicate that seniors who experience abuse often have a reduced lifespan compared to those receiving proper care, regardless of existing health conditions. If you suspect your loved one is a victim of such abuse, our team is committed to finding a solution and ensuring their safety and dignity.
Bedrail entrapment for elderly patients is a genuine concern. Bedrails are placed as a safety measures to keep your loved one from rolling or falling out of bed. Unfortunately, bedrails often turn a place of comfort into a dangerous trap. An elderly patient can get trapped:
- Between the end of the rail and the headboard
- Between the end of the mattress and the headboard
- Between split bedrails
- With the limbs or head in or under the rail
- Between the rail and the mattress
Proper nutrition is vital for everyone’s health, but especially for elderly patients in a nursing home. In an assisted living facility, a patient’s nourishment is in the hands of the staff, and improper monitoring of nutrition can jeopardize your loved one’s health. Your elderly family member could be at risk of malnutrition due to:
- Dietary restrictions because of allergies or religion
- Inability to feed themselves because of depression, confusion or dementia
- Difficult chewing because of missing teeth or ill-fitting dentures
Hydration is a fundamental human need, and a patient can become dehydrated very quickly without adequate monitoring by nursing home staff. Due to a lack of training or sufficient staffing, dehydration is unfortunately common, and can cause serious health risks to your elderly family member’s already frail condition, such as:
- Kidney failure
- Risk of urinary tract infections
- Poor digestion
Wandering and Elopement
Nursing home staff and administrators must keep a watchful eye over those in their care. If your loved one suffers an injury while wandering around the facilities, or is hurt after leaving the facility premises unsupervised (called elopement), the nursing home may be held liable. Our nursing home abuse attorneys will investigate the case to find out if:
- Your elderly family member was placed on a special floor that required codes to enter or exit the facility
- Receptionists were trained and alert
- An operational camera was placed over the exit doors
- The staff is properly trained
- The facility provided adequate staff for proper supervision
Emotional Abuse in Nursing Homes
Emotional health is linked directly to longevity. When your loved one is faced with emotional abuse, it impacts not only his or her quality of life, but also the duration of life itself. Emotional abuse of the elderly may include:
- Mocking the patient
- Terrorizing the patient
- Ignoring the patient
- Isolating the patient from other residents or activities
- Intimidation through yelling and threats
Nursing home abuse can take many forms. Unfortunately, unlike physical abuse, nursing home emotional abuse can be extremely difficult to identify. Sudden behavior changes are a leading indicator of nursing home emotional abuse. These behavioral changes include:
- Uncharacteristic aggression or agitation
- Withdrawal from the nursing home community
- Displaying visible discomfort around the nursing home staff
- New habits such as rocking, nail biting and similar nervous reactions
Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
It’s a harsh and distressing reality that sexual abuse is a prevalent form of mistreatment in nursing homes. Elderly patients are often targeted by sexual predators due to their frailty and defenselessness. Particularly at risk are seniors who, due to conditions like strokes or other physical limitations, cannot speak or effectively communicate, making them more susceptible to abuse.
Sexual abuse encompasses a range of non-consensual acts, including sexual harassment, the creation of sexually-explicit materials, coercion, inappropriate touching, and rape. In many cases, nursing home residents are unable to provide consent due to mental incapacitation, further complicating these already grave situations.
As Houston Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers, Daly & Black, P.C. is dedicated to addressing these heinous acts. A nursing home resident can be sexually abused in a variety of situations, including:
- Sexual abuse by a nursing home staff member
- Sexual abuse by another resident
- Sexual abuse by a stranger
- Sexual abuse by a family member
The following signs may indicate that your loved one has been te victim of sexual abuse. Our nursing home abuse lawyers can help:
- Fear or anxiety when a particular staff member approaches to help the resident bathe, dress or use the toilet
- Rope burns on wrists or ankles
- Stained or bloody sheets
- Torn, stained or bloodied undergarments
- Unexplained genital irritation or injury
- Unexplained sexually transmitted disease
- Bruising on the inner thighs, genital areas or breasts
- Unexplained difficulty with walking or sitting
The most common form of non-physical abuse of the elderly is financial exploitation. When faced with a trusting, mentally incapacitated nursing home patient, an unscrupulous caregiver may:
- Steal the patient’s identity
- Authorize withdrawals or transfers of money
- Forge signatures
- Steal money, checks or belongings
- Misuse the elderly patient’s credit cards, checks or accounts
Beside outright thievery and misuse of funds, some people often try to swindle nursing home residents out of their money with common scams promoting fake charities, shady investment opportunities or phony “prizes”.
Nursing Home Abuse and Wrongful Death
Tragically, some instances of nursing home abuse are so severe and prolonged that they lead to the untimely death of a resident. This represents the most heart-wrenching ordeal a family can face.
Nursing homes have a fundamental duty to ensure safe environments, employ trustworthy staff, and provide adequate care. The wellbeing and protection of your loved one is their paramount responsibility. As Houston Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers, Daly & Black, P.C. stands ready to hold such facilities accountable when they fail in this essential duty, offering compassionate legal support to families during these deeply challenging times. Common causes of death caused by nursing home abuse include:
- Unwillingness to summon outside medical support
- Misdiagnosis or poor treatment by on-site medical staff
- Medication errors
- Neglect leading to malnourishment or untreated diseases
- Explicit physical abuse, including beatings
Damages in a Nursing Home Abuse Case
If your elderly loved one has been injured because of nursing home abuse or neglect, our experienced nursing home abuse lawyers will aggressively fight for the justice and compensation you deserve, which may include:
- Economic damages, including compensation for past, present and future medical costs and other out-of-pocket expenses
- Non-economic damages, including the loss of quality of life, as well as emotional pain and suffering
- Physical impairment or disfigurement, including compensation for physical disabilities or scars
- End of life expenses, including funeral costs and loss of companionship.
- Punitive damages: Issued as punishment for outrageous conduct.