Elder Neglect & Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys in Washington, DC
STOPPING ELDER NEGLECT & ABUSE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA & MARYLAND
It is such a difficult decision to place a beloved parent or grandparent in a nursing home. When you make that choice, you should not have to worry about your elderly loved one being abused or neglected. Licensed nursing homes in the District of Columbia and Maryland are required to not only screen their employees, but also to provide training for all staff members to ensure that residents have the highest level of care and are staff members are diligent in their efforts to provide a safe and nurturing environment.
Nursing home abuse takes place more often than many people want to admit, which can be distressing and disheartening information. Any family member or caregiver who makes the decision to put their loved one in a nursing home does so because their elderly family member is no longer able to take care of themselves without assistance. They make this decision with the thought that they will be improving the quality of their loved one’s life by ensuring that they are properly cared for at all times. While there are many nursing homes that provide wonderful care and service with respect and dignity for the elderly residents in their care, there are others that do not.
Statistics show that one out of every ten people will experience some type of elder abuse or neglect in their lifetime. These are frightening statics. Residents of nursing homes or care facilities must be afforded the dignity and respect of a safe living environment and high care standards. The truth is that there are many nursing homes that are understaffed or staff members have not been properly trained.
If you placed an elderly loved one in a care facility and you believe that they are not being adequately cared for, are being abused, or are being neglected, you should not wait to voice your concerns. Contact a skilled Washington, D.C. nursing home abuse lawyer at Fay Law Group as soon as you can to discuss your concerns and learn more about your elderly family members rights. We can answer all of your questions and let you know if you have a right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit for the injuries, abuse, or neglect to which your loved one has been subjected to.
To get started, call (202) 589-1300. We are ready to address your concerns.
Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Many people believe that nursing home abuse is purely physical, but this is not the case. There are actually many types of nursing home abuse and neglect that take place every year, putting lives at risk and causing harm to our elderly population. Here are the most commonly reported instances of nursing home abuse and neglect:
Physical Abuse: Physical abuse is one of the easiest types of abuse to identify because there are often physical marks and bruises. Physical abuse takes place when a person uses physical violence against your loved one, leading to bodily injury, pain, or impairment. This type of abuse takes on many forms, such as:
- Pushing or shoving
- Verbal abuse
- Using physical restraints
Family members may be able to identify physical abuse that their loved one has suffered at the hands of a nursing home employee by visiting their loved one frequently. It is always a good idea to look for signs of abuse when you visit.
Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse of an elder is any action taken against an elderly person that is of a sexual nature and is unwanted. The person is usually over the age of 60. This type of abuse takes place when a nursing home staff member or another resident who resides in the nursing home make sexual advances on an elderly person who is suffering from mental illness, is not capable of communicating their disapproval of the sexual behavior, or is not able to give consent for the sexual act. These actions take place in many ways, including unwanted touching, assault and battery, and explicit photographing, among other violations.
Here are the signs that you should look for if you suspect your elderly loved one is being sexually abused:
- Injuries to the pelvic area
- Trouble walking or sitting
- Torn, stained, and/or bloody undergarments
- Development of a sexually-transmitted infection (STI)
- Bruising on the inner thighs or genital area
- Anxiety attacks
- Unusual, inappropriate, or aggressive sexual actions
- Bleeding from the genitals or anus
- Pain and irritation in the genitals or anus
- Attempted suicide
Emotional Abuse: Studies show that of all the types of elderly abuse, psychological and emotional abuse may be the most common form. Sadly, emotional abuse is often the most difficult to uncover and often goes unreported. The most common forms of verbal elderly emotional abuse are listed below:
- Insulting or ridiculing the patient
- Pretending to harm the patient
- Screaming, yelling, or shouting at the patient
- Humiliating the patient
- Upsetting and guilting the patient
- Withholding affection and kindness
- Blaming or scapegoating
- Talking down to/patronizing the patient
There are also non-verbal forms of elderly emotional abuse. Non-verbal emotional abuse is more difficult to pinpoint but is just as serious as verbal abuse. Non-verbal abuse often makes the elderly person feel helpless, isolated, and afraid, which can lead to serious psychological and emotional distress to the nursing home resident. Some of these acts include:
- Taking personal belongings from the resident and hiding them
- Treating the person as a child
- Isolating the patient from other residents
- Stopping the patient from going outside
- Prohibiting the resident from talking to others
- Pretending to hit or harm the resident
- Terrorizing the resident
- Restricting access to the restroom
- Restricting food or water
- Giving the silent treatment to the resident
Financial Abuse: Financial abuse is a type of abuse that involves using an elderly person’s funds, assets, or property in an illegal manner. Nursing home patients are in a unique position to become victims of financial abuse because, oftentimes, they are more vulnerable and not aware of the deception that is taking place right under their nose. If you or another family member suspect that their elderly loved one is being financially abused, you need to investigate the situation immediately. Here are some examples of elderly financial abuse:
- Stealing money or possessions from an elderly person
- Forging the elderly resident’s signature
- Financially exploiting the elderly person
- Cashing an elderly person’s checks without authorization or permission
- Coercing or deceiving a resident to sign documents, contracts, or a will
- Improper usage of conservatorship, guardianship, or power of attorney
Neglect: Nursing home neglect is the most commonly reported kind of elderly abuse in nursing homes and care facilities across the nation. The frightening statistics indicate that 95% of residents in nursing homes reported some form of neglect within the past year. Nursing home neglect is quite similar to nursing home abuse. There are two key differences: nursing home abuse indicates that the care provider intended to inflict harm on the elderly person, while nursing home neglect is a breach of duty or a form of substandard care that causes harm to the patient. There are four types of nursing home neglect, which are listed below:
- Medical Needs Neglected: When a nursing home or care facility fails to adequately attend to or prevent medical concerns of a patient
- Neglect of Basic Needs: When a nursing home or care facility fails to provide a clean and safe environment for the resident or fails to provide the patient with food and water
- Personal Hygiene Neglect: When the nursing home or care facility does not adequately assist the resident with bathing, brushing teeth, incontinence care, cleaning, laundry, or other basic hygiene activities
Emotional and Social Neglect: When the nursing home staff members intentionally and repeatedly ignore the resident, leave them all alone for extended periods of time, or they are verbally assaulted by an overstressed employee of the facility
Abandonment: Abandonment takes place when an elderly person is deserted by an individual who has promised to care for them. This can ultimately lead to dangerous scenarios, especially when an elderly person is unable to care for themselves and does not know that they have been deserted.
If your elderly or ill loved one has exhibited signs of emotional anxiety or physical injury while living or recovering at a long-term care facility, do not wait to schedule a confidential, free consultation with a Washington, D.C. nursing home abuse attorney at Fay Law Group.
We will evaluate all of the circumstances regarding your concerns and discuss options for pursuing a claim against the facility owners and managers. If you believe something is amiss or believe your loved one suffered a wrongful death, our Washington, D.C. elder neglect lawyers can help you determine if your suspicions are founded, and we can help you seek justice.
Signs to Look for when You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
With almost two million aging Americans living in long-term care and assisted living facilities, neglect and abuse against our senior citizens is becoming a national problem that is raising concern. Federal nursing home regulations indicate that “the resident has the right to be free from verbal, sexual, phyiscal, and mental abuse, corporal punishment, and involuntary seclusion.”
The most common signs of physical abuse, verbal abuse, and neglect to look for in the elderly are listed below:
- Unexplained injuries: cuts, wounds, welts, and bruises in different stages of healing
- Pressure ulcers
- Instances of wandering off
- Rapid and sudden weight loss or weight gain
- Unexplained falls, fractures, or head injuries
- Changes in behavior, such as rocking, biting, sucking, or a fear of being touched
- Desire to isolated from others
- Reluctance to talk or interact in front of staff members of the facility
- Conditions that are unsanitary or dirty
- Easily agitated or withdrawing
- Becomes non-verbal
- A death that is unexplained or unexpected
- Heavy sedation
- Use of physical or chemical restraints or psychotropic medications for any purpose not consistent with that prescribed by a physician
- Bruises on the wrists and ankles consistent with restraints
If you or your loved one has been subjected to nursing home abuse or neglect in Washington, D.C., you should contact an attorney who specializes in nursing home abuse cases. At the Fay Law Group, our lawyers are dedicated to ensuring that the rights of our elderly citizens who reside in nursing homes and long-term care facilities are protected. We will fight to make sure that you and your loved one get justice for the injuries they suffered at the hands of people who were supposed to provide care for them.
Proving Damages in a Nursing Home Abuse Case
Elderly members of society are moving into nursing homes, assisted living homes, and other care facilities at an increased rate in the United States. According to reports, almost two million elderly Americans are currently living in nursing homes. The sad correlation is that our senior community members are suffering injuries and abuse at the hands of the same people that we have hired to provide their care.
In order for the court to award damages, there has to be some form of evidence that the elderly nursing home resident suffered harm. Obviously, a case that involves an injury to the resident that suffered at the hands of a nursing home employee will be the easiest to prove. These types of injuries usually result in the patient receiving medical treatment for the injury they received. Medical treatment involves some documentation that leaves a trail of medical records of the patient’s issues and injuries.
Usually, when a nursing home resident is injured in a facility, the staff member and the resident are required to fill out an injury incident report. This document is filled out at the time that the injury occurs and can be very valuable when trying to prove damages should you have to go to court. Contact a qualified member of our team at Fay Law Group to discuss your concerns and find out if you have the right to seek compensation for the abuse that your loved one suffered.
It is no surprise that in cases of abuse, you rarely find documentation or a paper trail that usually coincides with an injury incident. Proving that abuse is occurring is not always easy to do. Damages in support of cases of abuse or neglect can be as different as the individual causes of the abuse.
No matter how an injury or abuse occurred or was caused, it is absolutely crucial to document everything as thoroughly as possible. This information can be used later when you are seeking criminal prosecution or filing a civil claim against the nursing home or care facility. Acceptable forms of documentation can include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Photos or video of the bruises and injuries located on the elderly resident
- Journals or diaries that are kept by the nursing home resident
- Notes regarding physical and emotional observations made by family members of the patient
- Documentation of conversations with the resident about the abuse
- Documentation conversations with staff members about the abuse
- Photos of medication bottles that are being administered or prescribed to the nursing home resident
Washington, D.C. Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Getting legal advice from a seasoned nursing home abuse lawyer at Fay Law Group could be absolutely invaluable if you believe that your loved one was or is being abused or neglected in a Washington D.C., or Maryland long-term care facility or convalescent home. We can aggressively fight on your behalf as we aid you in your quest for compensation. We will diligently work to ensure that those responsible for abusing your loved will have to answer for the disgraceful and deplorable acts of abuse or neglect against your aging loved one.
Fay Law Group has been in business for more than 50 years. Our nursing home abuse attorneys are dedicated to this area of practice will aggressively pursue fair and full compensation on behalf of you or your elderly family member. If you have witnessed any signs of nursing home abuse involving your family member, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Please contact a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney that you can trust at Fay Law Group today to schedule a free consultation. We are waiting to hear from you so that we can help you get started on your claim at (202) 589-1300.
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