Nursing Home Injuries and Your Rights

We’ve all heard the old adage that we enter this world in diapers and leave this world in diapers.  No matter if that’s true or not, it is indeed a fact that many of us will end up in a nursing home or assisted living center at some point in our old age.

Statistics show the senior citizen population is growing rapidly by about 20,000 each and every day.  This means most people have a parent or loved one in an elder care environment of some sort.

It’s an extremely tough decision to make and the thought of abuse happening is unthinkable.  Unfortunately along with the rise in population at nursing homes, comes the increase in abuse and neglect cases.

Nursing Home Abuse v. Neglect

Abuse is when someone intentionally attempts to cause harm to an elderly person.  This can be in the form of physical, psychological, sexual or even financial abuse.  Under these circumstances, the patient can usually sue both the responsible party as well as the facility that employs that person.  As a result, criminal charges can also be filed.

Neglect (although can be described as a type of abuse) is more complicated.  It differs from abuse in that neglect is not always intentional.  In a nursing home or elder care environment, the facility/caregiver has an obligation to provide the patient (senior) with adequate care.  When the facility fails to provide this standard of care, neglect can lead to injuries.

Neglect reveals itself in several forms, including passive and active neglect.

  • Passive neglect is when a caregiver forgets to provide the necessary care or assistance
  • Active neglect involves a caregiver not providing help/care on purpose (intentional)

Nursing home malpractice cases can also be filed.  A physician, nurse or medical professional who fails to provide adequate care can be sued if an elderly person is injured as a result of substandard medical actions.

Protecting your family and loved ones from these unspeakable crimes can prove to be difficult.  However, there are warning signs to look out for:

  • Unexplained physical injuries such as bruises, broken bones, cuts
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Withdrawal from loved ones and/or signs of depression
  • Rashes, especially around ankles and wrists
  • Financial losses or strange financial decisions (new loans, etc.)

If you suspect your elderly loved one to be a victim of nursing home abuse contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.  Be sure to document everything you see, hear and witness.

In addition, you can contact the federal government’s Administration on Aging for more information on how to report abuse and what actions to take.