Deciding to move an elderly family member into a nursing home or assisted living facility is often a decision filled with deep emotional considerations. Each year, numerous families are tasked with the difficult decision of finding a suitable place for their elderly loved ones, where they expect them to be treated with respect and compassion. Regrettably, the incidence of nursing home abuse and neglect in the United States is alarmingly increasing, transforming what should be a sanctuary of care into a setting of mistreatment and harm. At Daly & Black, P.C., our team of New Orleans Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers is dedicated to confronting this distressing issue.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Aging is a natural part of life, but enduring one’s later years in conditions of degradation, peril, or neglect is a harsh and unacceptable reality. In the United States, about 40% of individuals over the age of 65 reside in nursing homes or long-term care facilities. Unfortunately, abuse in these settings is a significant and real concern. The National Center for Adult Abuse reports that an estimated two million seniors in the United States experience some form of abuse by their caregivers each year. Even more troubling is the likelihood that for every incident of nursing home abuse reported, up to five incidents may remain unreported. Research suggests that seniors who suffer abuse typically have a shorter lifespan than those who are well cared for, regardless of their existing health conditions. At Daly & Black, P.C., our New Orleans Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers are passionately dedicated to addressing and fighting against this serious issue, advocating for the rights and well-being of the elderly in our community.
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
While dangerous at any age, slip and fall accidents can have dire, life altering consequences for our elderly family members. If you suspect your loved one was the victim of a slip and fall due to the inattention of the nursing home staff, we will focus on your legal case so you can focus on getting your elderly family member proper and immediate medical attention.
When analyzing a nursing home slip and fall case, our New Orleans nursing home abuse 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 New Orleans nursing home abuse lawyers are well-experienced to investigate if your loved ones have been mistreated.
Bedsores and Pressure Sores
Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, are a common issue for individuals who are bedridden or wheelchair-bound, particularly those who cannot frequently change positions. These sores occur when prolonged pressure cuts off blood flow to certain areas of the body, causing skin and other tissues to be deprived of essential nutrients and leading to damage. In elderly patients with limited mobility, bedsores pose a serious health risk. Without appropriate care, these sores can rapidly worsen, potentially leading to severe, sometimes life-threatening infections.
It is crucial for staff in care facilities to receive comprehensive training in both the prevention and treatment of bedsores. However, challenges such as understaffing or overwhelming caregiver responsibilities can compromise the level of care provided to each resident. At Daly & Black, P.C., our New Orleans Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers are committed to confronting such instances of neglect and mistreatment. We champion the rights of your elderly loved ones, ensuring they are afforded the care they are entitled to and pursuing justice in cases where neglect or abuse has occurred in nursing homes.
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
Providing proper nutrition is essential for sustaining health, especially for the elderly residents in nursing homes. In these settings, it is the duty of the staff to closely monitor and manage the dietary requirements of each resident. Negligence in this area can lead to dire outcomes, putting your elderly family member at risk of malnutrition. Several factors contribute to this risk, such as poor meal planning, inadequate dietary accommodations, or a lack of attentive care in ensuring that residents are consuming enough suitable food:
- 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 fundamental to health, and this is particularly true for elderly patients in nursing homes. Yet, the oversight of proper hydration can be a significant issue in these facilities, often due to lack of vigilant supervision from the staff. Common contributing factors include inadequate staff training or insufficient staffing levels, leading to the residents not receiving the attention they need. For elderly individuals, especially those in frail health, dehydration can result in serious health complications, such as urinary tract infections, kidney stones, or even renal failure.
As New Orleans Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers at Daly & Black, P.C., we are keenly aware of dangers 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
The prevalence of sexual abuse in nursing homes is a deeply unsettling reality, one that often catches families by surprise. Vulnerable due to their frailty or inability to defend themselves, elderly patients can become easy targets for sexual predators. This vulnerability is especially pronounced in seniors who may have lost their ability to communicate effectively due to conditions like strokes or other physical impairments.
At Daly & Black, P.C., our New Orleans Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers are dedicated to confronting this grave issue. We understand the profound impact such abuse can have.
Sexual abuse is any form of non-consensual sexual contact, including sexual harassment, sexually-explicit photography, sexual coercion inappropriate touching and rape. Sexual abuse in nursing homes encompasses a range of non-consensual acts, 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 the victim of sexual abuse. Our New Orleans 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, instances of nursing home abuse can sometimes escalate to such a severe and prolonged level that they lead to the untimely death of a resident. This represents one of the most heart-wrenching experiences any family member can face.
Nursing homes bear the critical responsibility of maintaining a safe environment, hiring reliable staff, and ensuring proper care for their residents. The safety and wellbeing of your loved one should be a top priority for these facilities. Regrettably, many fatalities associated with nursing home abuse stem from various forms of neglect and mistreatment. These include severe medical conditions due to neglect, life-threatening infections from untreated bedsores, and the devastating effects of physical or emotional abuse.
At Daly & Black, P.C., our New Orleans Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers are dedicated to holding nursing homes accountable for their actions such as:
- 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.