April 27, 2012
Thousands of elderly Americans are being abused each year in nursing homes and other care facilities. Many cases of abuse are not reported because the person being abused is afraid that nobody will believe them if they report something happening to them. It is essential for family and friends of elderly people to look out for signs of abuse. Watching for signs of nursing home abuse and taking action could very well prevent the wrongful death of a loved one in a nursing home. A nursing home abuse lawyer can help families get the justice they deserve if their family member has been hurt or died because of nursing home abuse.
Types of Abuse
Physical abuse is the easiest type of elder abuse to spot, but emotional abuse and verbal abuse can cause just as much damage. Everyday senior citizens are being intimidated, threatened, shoved and confined against their will. Family and friends of elderly people who live in a nursing home should make unannounced visits and thoroughly question nursing home staff about any cuts, bruises, or other injuries they see on their loved one. The elderly patient will probably be reluctant to talk about injuries that were caused by abuse, so it’s important to be persistent and make them feel like you are a safe person to talk to.
Neglect and Preventable Death
Elderly patients who live in nursing homes are in a fragile state, and many injuries they sustain can be possibly life threatening. Nursing home workers may be reluctant to seek care if their patients faint or accidentally fall, but not being treated for these injuries can often lead to death. These deaths could easily have been prevented. Patients may also die if they don’t receive the proper dose of medication on schedule. Giving patients too much or too little medication can cause serious injury or death very quickly.
Some signs of neglect may be easy to spot, while others may never be recognized. Things to look for include dehydration, weight loss, malnutrition and bed sores. At an unannounced visit you should look for soiled clothing and bedding, lack of bathing and basic hygiene and isolation or lack of stimulation. You should be able to tell by talking to your loved one if they are happy and have positive things to say about their care.
If you believe your elderly family member has died as a result of intentional or unintentional abuse while in the care of a nursing home it is very important to report to the police your suspicions and any evidence you have to support how you feel. In addition, an experienced nursing home abuse attorney has dealt with hundreds of cases just like yours and can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit. They will be able to help you gather evidence and understand what evidence you need to support your case.