Chandler Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney
When you’re choosing to trust a nursing home to care for your loved one, you assume the facility will provide a safe, stress-free environment. You read reviews and study credentials, talk to administrators, and make a visit to see the place for yourself. If everything looks good, you believe your parent or spouse is in good hands.
Unfortunately, some nursing home residents experience abuse and neglect at the hands of the staff there to take care of them. If you suspect that your loved one is facing abuse at their nursing home or assisted living facility, you can take legal action.
No one should have to endure nursing home neglect. So, if you suspect your loved one is facing abuse at their long-term care Arizona living facility, contact our experienced personal injury attorneys at Grayson Law, PLLC, in Chandler, Arizona, at 480-535-9650. During your no-cost consultation, we’ll walk you through your legal options and discuss how you can put an end to the abuse.
Defining Nursing Home Abuse
The Department of Human and Health Services defines nursing home abuse as knowingly inflicting injury, neglect, or abuse that results in physical harm or anguish. Keep in mind that this abuse can go well beyond physical abuse. Common types of nursing home abuse include physical abuse, sexual assault or abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, and financial abuse.
Learning More About the Types of Nursing Home Abuse
When you think of abuse, you may first think of physical abuse or sexual assault. However, nursing home abuse can take many forms. Because long-term care facilities provide 24-hour care for residents, abuse can show up in many ways. Here, we’ll identify the different types of abuse your loved one might experience.
1. Physical Abuse
Have you noticed unexplained cuts, bruises, sprains, or other injuries when visiting your elderly family member? These represent warning signs of physical abuse in a nursing home. Also, pay attention to the medications they need to take. Physical abuse can also show up through over-or under-medicating patients or other types of medical mismanagement.
2. Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse may manifest through unexplained venereal diseases and genital infections. If you’ve noticed torn, bloody clothes or unexplained genital or anal soreness or bleeding, these warning signs could represent sexual abuse.
3. Emotional Abuse
Has your loved one shown signs of depression, nervousness, or personality change? When faced with regular negativity or hostility from caregivers, the patient may experience emotional trauma.
Your elder friend or family member depends on their long-term care facility to provide daily care. When facilities don’t provide this care conscientiously, you may notice several warning signs. Dehydration, weight loss, poor personal grooming, malnutrition, sepsis, and bedsores can represent nursing home neglect.
5. Financial Abuse
The vulnerable nature of nursing home residents creates an opportunity for financial abuse. You may notice warning signs such as large bank account withdrawals, changes in spending, or altered financial documents.
How to Identify Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Chandler, AZ
Nursing home residents may not have the ability to tell you that abuse is occurring. However, you can look out for warning signs when you visit. Although accidental falls and injuries can happen, staff members may cover for physical abuse by blaming it on falls.
Also, keep an eye out for unusual and non-professional behavior by staff members around your loved one: either excessive chumminess, negative tension or conflict, or staff members who linger and refuse to leave the room during family visits.
You should keep an eye out for the following signs of nursing home abuse when the resident displays:
● Fear around certain staff members
● Unexplained bruises or scratches
● Depression or anxiety
● Poor hygiene
Proving Nursing Home Abuse in Court
Once you suspect and identify abuse in a nursing home, you should contact a lawyer to consult about a potential legal case. Typically, these cases fall in the personal injury category. As such, you can file a claim and request compensation to cover the costs of injuries and pain and suffering.
When filing this claim, you’ll need to prove that the abuse occurred and that the nursing home should have prevented it. In an Arizona court, you’ll need to meet three requirements to prove damages:
● You signed a contract with the facility, stating they owed a duty of care to the patient
● The facility breached that contract by not providing a duty of care
● The breach of contract resulted in pain and suffering for the patient
As soon as you notice warning signs of abuse, you should take photographs and document the occurrences. These will help you build a case and prove that the facility breached the contract. Even if the facility did not cause the injuries, you want to keep track of your loved one’s physical state. When it comes to your family member’s well-being, remember: “better safe than sorry.”
Where Does Abuse Happen?
Arizona provides many long-term care options for loved ones who require it. These facilities receive different levels of funding. However, no matter how much funding a facility receives, abuse can still occur. Some examples of long-term care facilities in Arizona include:
● Residential care homes
● Nursing homes
● Assisted living facilities
● Independent living facilities
● Alzheimer facilities
● Continuing care retirement facilities
● Adult daycares
● Adult rehabilitation facilities
Also, some families choose to have their loved ones taken care of in their own homes. In these cases, a private caregiver either visits daily or lives in the house. Unfortunately, abuse can also occur in these instances. When working with any long-term care provider, conduct thorough background checks and research to ensure that your loved one receives trustworthy, quality care.
Who to Hold Liable in Nursing Home Abuses Cases
Once you file a claim against a nursing home, you can hold multiple individuals liable for the damages. Most of these individuals work under the administration of the nursing home. Again, a personal injury lawyer can help walk you through the potentially liable parties. Some of the possible liable parties include staff members, administrators, residents, and visitors.
Staff members hold responsibility for providing daily care to residents. When a resident faces abuse or neglect, a staff member has failed to provide that necessary care. If you suspect a staff member has abused a loved one, you can hold that person liable for punitive damages. Also, because the nursing home employs these individuals, you can sometimes file a claim against the nursing home.
Multiple individuals play a role in providing care to patients, whether directly or indirectly. Neglect has an opportunity to occur when administrators fail to review a patient’s care. Also, your loved one may face financial abuse from administrators if they overcharge for services.
Other residents at a nursing home can also pose a threat to your loved one’s safety. The nursing home should background-check and monitor patients for dangerous behavior to keep other residents safe.
Who visits your loved one in a nursing home other than yourself? Unfortunately, some individuals befriend nursing home residents to commit financial abuse. Know who your vulnerable elderly relative is socializing with.
Cases of Wrongful Death
Sometimes, cases of abuse escalate to the point of causing death. If your loved one died due to nursing home neglect, you could file a claim for wrongful death. When a patient dies at a long-term care home, you might assume that they died from their ailments or natural causes. However, if you suspect that abuse occurred, you can hold the nursing home liable for death.
Neglect and Alzheimer’s Patients
Nursing home residents with memory-related disorders often fall victim to abuse. These vulnerable patients have the most challenging time speaking out about mistreatment due to their condition. Unethical nursing home employees target Alzheimer’s patients because they have a greater chance of getting away with abuse.
Also, Alzheimer’s and dementia patients may react aggressively or violently to treatment. Nursing home employees may overstep their duties and physically restrain or overmedicate these patients out of frustration. However, frustration never justifies abuse. If you have a loved one in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s or dementia, pay special attention to abuse warning signs.
Choosing an Attorney for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Chandler, AZ
When a loved one falls victim to abuse, you may feel guilty for placing them in a nursing home. However, nursing homes exist to provide comfort and care to their patients. If you’re concerned about possible abuse or neglect in a long-term care facility in Arizona, call our attorneys at Grayson Law, PLLC, at 480-535-9650. We’ll provide a free consultation to go over the details of your case and determine the best course of action.