Memphis Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
If you believe your family member has suffered an injury or illness because of a nursing home’s negligence, contact the Memphis nursing home abuse attorneys of Gold Law Firm to schedule a free initial consultation.
Our population is aging. By the year 2030, one in five people in the United States will be 65 or older. That means for many of us, we are going to be forced to make difficult decisions about the care and safety of our aging family members. Nursing homes not only offer medical care we can’t typically provide at home, but they are also increasingly a place where the elderly can remain social and mentally active.
Unfortunately, not all facilities are created equal, and not all caregivers take their responsibilities seriously. According to numbers compiled by the Nursing Home Abuse Center, one out of three nursing home facilities in the U.S. have been cited for abuse.
Where does that leave family members who are concerned about the safety of their loved ones? At Gold Law Firm, we know that your main priority is the wellbeing of your family. That’s our main priority as well. We have a seasoned team of lawyers ready to investigate claims of nursing home abuse. Facilities and caregivers who disregard the safety of our most vulnerable community members must be held accountable for their actions.
You and your family deserve justice, and we are willing to fight for that justice. Call us today at (901) 244-5003 if you suspect that a family member is being abused in a nursing home setting. We will set up a no-obligation consultation to go over your legal options.
Different Types of Abuse
Abuse at the hands of a caregiver or nursing home facility can come in many different forms, from physical to emotional. In many cases, a resident may find themselves on the receiving end of several different types of abuse at once. Physical abuse can be easier to identify, as we can often see evidence of physical abuse in the form of bruises, wrist or ankle burns, or bone fractures. Unfortunately, many elderly residents suffer greatly from psychological abuse, whose warning signs are often more subtle.
These are the different types of abuse that the elderly can fall prey to:
- Physical – This includes any type of physical pain or injury inflicted upon an elderly adult.
- Sexual – Fondling, intercourse, inappropriate touching, and other unwanted sexual activity is considered sexual abuse. A resident may or may not be able to verbally express not wanting a sexual encounter to take place due to their physical or mental condition.
- Psychological – Verbal threats, intimidation, humiliation, belittling, or yelling can all be forms of emotional or psychological abuse.
- Financial – Caregivers may exploit the elderly through means of theft, scams, or coercion to get money or access to a resident’s funds and resources.
Understanding the different forms that abuse can take broadens the way we think about how our family members are being treated. By recognizing that abuse doesn’t always leave a mark, we can better understand what to look out for if we begin to suspect that something may be wrong.
Warning Signs of Abuse
It is important to recognize the warnings signs of abuse as quickly as possible. Studies have found that elders who have suffered some form of abuse have a 300 percent higher risk of death compared to those who have never been abused. Abuse can be hard to pin down when you can’t always be around your loved one. Caregivers who routinely abuse the elderly can become skilled at hiding their behavior, especially when family members are around.
It can take keen awareness and diligence on your part to make sure that you are recognizing the warning signs of abuse, especially if your loved one suffers from a condition where it is difficult or impossible to communicate clearly. We can’t always rely on someone being able to explain what is happening to them. Even more disturbing, one study finds that only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse are ever reported. That means scores of people continue to be abused without anyone ever knowing about it. Here are some of the more common warning signs of abuse:
- Unexplained broken bones, cuts, bruises, or other injuries or marks
- Frequent illness or infections
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
- Lack of eye contact
- Depression or anxiety
- Sudden changes in weight or appearance
- Poor hygiene
- Unchanged linens or bandages
- Change in a financial situation
- Missing possessions
- Withdrawing from favorite activities, friends, or family
- Social isolation
- Unwillingness to cooperate with certain staff members
While this is a long list, it is not a comprehensive list. That’s because no one knows your family member like you do. If you feel like something has changed or your family member is just not behaving the same way, it pays to take a closer look at their situation. Listen to what they have to say but pay attention to what they aren’t willing to say as well. Unraveling a pattern of nursing home abuse is like completing a puzzle; it takes finding all the pieces to see the big picture.
If you suspect something could be wrong but feel overwhelmed at the thought of trying to piece it all together on your own, know that there is help out there. Gold Law Firm has the resources to help you investigate claims of nursing home abuse and hold responsible parties accountable. You don’t have to take this journey alone. Dealing with allegations of abuse can take a major toll on your mental health—we understand the difficulties you face. Let us help you carry some of the burden and get justice for your precious family member.
Nursing Home Neglect
Abuse, whether physical, emotional, or financial all stems from a caregiver interacting with your family member on some level. What happens when a caregiver simply chooses not to interact with the elderly at all? According to a report from the U.S. Justice Department, caregiver neglect is one of the most common forms of elder abuse. However, it is also one of the most underreported types of abuse, with only 1 out of 57 cases ever being reported. This silence can cost lives.
Either through willful neglect and deprivation or passive neglect resulting from understaffing, neglect is the failure to provide the elderly with necessities. Those necessities may be food, water, medication, and even needed medical care or attention. Neglecting an elderly person’s basic needs can have drastic and even deadly consequences. Neglect can lead to malnourishment, dehydration, bedsores, illnesses, and infections.
Any one of these conditions can lead to death in an older person with pre-existing medical conditions or health concerns. Not only can neglect cause a variety of physical problems, but persistent neglect can also lead to mental and psychological issues as well, such as depression and feeling of isolation.
One of the most common questions surrounding nursing home neglect is why aren’t more cases reported if neglect is so prevalent? One of the underlying reasons so few cases of neglect are reported boils down to one thing, fear. If an elderly resident reports neglect, they face retaliation and more abuse at the hands of the caregiver in question. Some abusive caregivers thrive on the power they hold over the elderly and use threats to keep their abuse and neglect hidden. Fear is a powerful motivating factor and keeps many residents from telling even close family members that they are being neglected.
Another reason neglect cases aren’t reported often enough is that, for some elderly residents, communication is a challenge either due to mental or physical impairments. Dementia patients are at particular risk for abuse and neglect.
Nursing home neglect can happen for several reasons. Some of the most common factors that contribute to cases of neglect include understaffing, poor hiring practices, and improper or inadequate training of caregivers. Nursing homes have a duty to keep facilities properly staffed for the number of residents that require care. Understaffing can lead to employee burnout, stress, exhaustion, and not enough time to properly look after every resident.
However, if a home attempts to correct understaffing with negligent hiring practices, this poses a new set of problems. Poor hiring practices can lead to people getting jobs as caregivers who have not been thoroughly vetted. Skipping background checks means a facility may fail to find an applicant’s criminal background or lack of proper medical certifications. Critical red flags can be missed and someone without the proper credentials could be left in charge of your loved ones’ care.
Can a Lawyer Help with an Abuse Case?
At Gold Law Firm, we’ve seen the numbers. We realize that only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse are ever reported. We know that it can be hard to come forward and share your fears, but we want to help you and your family. That is why we take claims of nursing home abuse very seriously.
Our attorneys will treat you and your family members with the utmost respect and compassion while we investigate your potential abuse care. We’ll handle everything for you, from the investigation and review of medical records, to helping you report the abuse to the proper agencies, to helping your loved one receive the proper compensation they deserve for their abuse or neglect.
Don’t wait to share your concerns, cases of abuse only tend to get worse. Call our office today at (901) 244-5003 for a no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced Memphis lawyers. Protecting your family, that is our bottom line.