Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence FAQ
Nursing homes are expected to provide care for seniors and disabled individuals who cannot care for themselves. These facilities provide personal care and related services and are supposed to be a safe place to live. Unfortunately, each year residents of these businesses are impacted by abuse and negligence.
Here at Flaxman Law Group, we have put together the most common questions we get from concerned families. If you do not see your question or if you’re ready to discuss your specific abuse and negligence situation and potential claim, contact Flaxman Law Group for a free, no obligation case evaluation.
- What Is Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence?
- What Are the Most Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence?
- How Can I Prevent My Loved One From Being Affected?
- What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence?
- What Should I Do If I Suspect Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence?
- What Can I Do If Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence Has Harmed Me or a Loved One?
Nursing home abuse involves physical or emotional maltreatment of a nursing home resident. It can be perpetrated by a fellow resident or by nursing home staff. Neglect involves not providing the basics of care to a resident, and it is usually perpetrated by staff or a nursing home.
Nursing home abuse and negligence can happen for many reasons:
- Poor or insufficient nursing home policies
- Lack of staff training
- Poor security
- Insufficient vetting of staff and residents
- Lack of oversight
There is never any excuse for abuse and negligence in a nursing home, however. If such a situation has occurred, the business can and should be held accountable.
The most common forms of abuse in nursing homes include:
- Financial abuse
- Physical abuse
- Verbal or emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
The most common types of nursing home negligence include:
- Medical neglect
- Neglect of basic needs
- Poor hygiene
- Inadequate heating and cooling for the weather
- Inadequate clothing, shade, and care for the conditions
- Malnourishment and dehydration
- Lack of mobility or opportunities for mobility
- Social and emotional neglect (isolation)
Families who need to place a loved one in a nursing home will want to carefully vet different businesses. Talk to your family doctor and friends and family to get recommendations. Check reviews and online reports of any violations. Make visits to the facilities and ask plenty of questions, including about staffing, staff to resident ratio, the activities available, and staff training.
Even if you do everything right and are careful about the nursing home where you place loved one, keep in mind that it is ultimately up to the nursing home to provide a safe environment. If they fail to do so, that is a failure of the business, not of you. In that case, you will want to take steps to protect the senior and to hold the nursing home accountable.
Every individual is different and signs of abuse and neglect can vary. In some cases, seniors may report maltreatment or poor conditions while in other cases they may be too afraid to speak up or may not be able to explain the problem. Friends and family may notice signs over the time if they visit regularly, however, and these signs that something isn’t right may include:
- Unexplained bruises and other injuries
- Lice and other pests
- Slurred speech and signs of overmedication
- Unexplained weight loss
- Odor and other signs of poor hygiene
- Loss of motor function
- Depression and personality changes
- STI diagnoses
- Sudden loss of money
- Sudden changes to a will or power of attorney
- Unexpected cognitive decline
- Insufficient living conditions
- Food hoarding
This is not an exhaustive list and any one of these symptoms may not indicate abuse and neglect. However, if you notice repeated signs of something not being right and don’t get any answers about unexplained injuries, in particular, trust your instincts. At the very least, issues should be investigated.
If you suspect a problem, ask the nursing home first. If a resident has a broken bone, for example, ask how it happened and get a copy of the incident report, if possible. If you see signs of criminal activity, such as fraud, notify the police.
In many cases, it is unfortunately challenging to prove abuse and neglect since staff may not cooperate with questioning or may blame falls or mistakes on the part of the resident. Many symptoms of neglect and abuse are too often blamed on a resident’s age and it requires persistence and experience to get evidence.
One option many families successfully pursue is a legal claim. Working with a nursing home abuse and neglect claims attorney, families can gather evidence of wrongdoing and launch a legal claim. This helps them shine a light on wrongdoing and hold abusers responsible, and it can also provide the family with compensation they can use to pay for medical care and a better care environment for their loved one.
If you or your family member have suffered abuse or negligence in a nursing home, you can file a complaint with police, the nursing home, or with the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) if the nursing home is overseen by the AHCA. You can also contact a personal injury attorney with nursing home injury claims to file a civil claim. This allows you to seek compensation for new housing, medical costs, pain and suffering, and other losses.
If you’d like to ask about the options for seeking a legal claim, you can always contact Flaxman Law Group at 1-866-352-9626 (1-866-FLAXMAN) or contact us online for a free consultation. Your consultation is confidential and comes with no obligation, so you can ask questions and get more information about your potential claim.
The legal team at Flaxman Law Group has already recovered more than $100 million for our clients and we have more than 60 years of combined experience. Our phone lines are staffed 24/7 and we have offices in Miami, Homestead, and Hollywood to better serve you.