Nursing home abuse appears to be on the rise, becoming a matter of national concern. As the quality of care in many nursing homes seems to deteriorate, we cannot turn a blind eye. At the root of the problem are several issues: 

1. Limited resources. As America's population ages, the number of people seeking assistance in nursing homes has overwhelmed the resources of the conventional non-profit nursing home establishment. This has led to the rise of networks of corporate-owned nursing homes where care is (usually) top-notch, but comes with a hefty pricetag. You can probably think of several for-profit assisted-living centers that were built in your own town within the last decade. As a result, non-profit homes struggle to find quality staff and may face cutting their care requirements. 

2. Medicare and Medicad payments. Corporate-owned nursing homes receive a flat-rate payment for every patient. To retain profits, they may cut expenses. The effects are first felt in patient care, followed by patient "space" - the amount of private living area each patient has. As that space grows smaller, their quality of life decreases. Government assistance also comes more slowly than private payments, so nursing homes may be waiting for payments and losing patience. 

3. Tort reform. Many states have passed tort reform laws over the last decade. This makes it significantly more difficult for patients who have been subjected to abuse or neglect to sue a nursing home and win substantial damages. These laws have been passed to slow down frivolous lawsuits, to prevent more jobs from moving overseas, and to enable institutions to lower costs to their patients or customers. Costs are lower when institutions are less concerned about the possibility of massive settlements. Moreover, a corporate-owned facility still is aware of the risk of significant damages in a nursing home abuse lawsuit and makes sure that the care provided conforms to minimum standards. Providing poor care quality is the consequence of no threat from legal damages and this is why a nursing home can still be on the hook if they are mismanaging the home or mistreating residents.

The problem will only grow as the massive Baby Boomer generation ages into nursing homes. The attorneys at Taylor King Law urge you to create savings funds so that when the time comes to seek assistance, you'll have more options. 

The terrible reality is that thousands of people experience abuse or neglect in nursing homes each year. If you believe that someone you love is being victimized or neglected in a nursing home or assisted living facility, contact Taylor King at 1-800-CAR-WRECK (1-800-227-9732) today. If your fears are founded, we can help reach an out-of-court settlement or take your case to trial to help get compensation for the pain and suffering you've experienced. Because these lawsuits follow Arkansas's statute of limitations laws, you shouldn't put it off. You're one call away from getting help today. 

Nursing home residents who wander off on their own away from the facility can suffer some serious injuries. Wandering off alone is also known as elopement and the kind of injuries that result are fractures or death because of falls, or death from hypothermia, or heatstroke.

Nothing to Ignore

Wandering off on one’s own can be attributed to improper or inadequate supervision, care or monitoring. If one of your loved ones in nursing home care has been injured for any of these reasons then do consult an injury attorney with experience in nursing home injury lawsuits for an evaluation of your case. You could well have grounds for a lawsuit and a claim for compensation.

Not on the Brochure

You may believe it is your loved one’s fault for wandering off at first. After all, you did not send your grandmother and so on to a prison. This is not Pelican Bay! And you are thankful it is not. But the employees at this organization are at fault. Your grandmother is not an Olympic made sprinter; she does not walk very fast. How could this happen? Were the employees talking about the national debt or the debacle in Benghazi too much and not paying attention? Were they on their Facebook page while neglecting their duties? Or were they playing Halo on Xbox? Either way, they are at fault. You did not send your grandmother to this place to be ignored or forgotten. That is not what the brochure says about this place!

The Fundamentals

According to federal nursing home regulations it is mandatory for every resident to be assessed when entering a facility, and the assessment must be updated at regular intervals or when their medical condition changes.

The assessment should include a plan of the proposed line of care for the resident, together with an analysis of the resident’s capacity to function on his/her own. Depending on this assessment, the resident has to be supervised with an appropriate level of care. The assessment will also be the basis for the level of unsupervised access outside the premises of the facility.

What needs to be Done

It is not unusual for an elderly nursing home resident to suffer some type of dementia or become confused to an extent that he/she is not able to protect themselves from harm or unable mentally to understand their safety needs. If a resident suggests a high risk to wander or leave the facility without supervision, it is obligatory for the nursing home to put in place appropriate devices to prevent wandering or provide adequate staff for safeguarding such residents. In many cases only simple measures are needed to prevent such an occurrence.

Can Nursing Home Abuse be a Ground for Filing Personal Injury Claims?

Of course, it can be. It is indeed disturbing to note that the healthcare professionals whom you trust implicitly to provide a level of care to a loved one that you yourself cannot provide, can belie your hopes so cruelly. Nursing home abuse is one of the most common instances in the United States that give rise to personal injury lawsuits. And as legal experts unanimously agree, these cases are one of the toughest to prove in court. The complexity of course, arises from the fact that evidence for nursing home abuse tends to be highly technical in nature and it takes an extremely knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney to decipher the findings and present a foolproof case for his client.

Lack of Care

Nursing home abuse is definitely a ground for filing personal injury claims because such behavior on the part of the healthcare staff can severely traumatize a patient, both physically and psychologically. The following are some common forms of nursing home abusive behavior:

Not Providing Adequate Nutrition and/or Hydration: Failing to provide food and liquids to patients in the prescribed manner not only leads to weight loss and dehydration but may also lead to a deterioration of their already fragile health.

Not Providing Correct Medication: This is an extremely serious concern because incorrect medication or not providing medicines in the right dose in accordance to a prescribed schedule can delay a patient’s recovery and in some cases, may also bring about serious health damage.

Not Providing Appropriate Emergency Care: A negligence of this sort especially in cases where a patient has suffered a stroke or has had a fall may lead to permanent disability or even turn fatal.

There was a case like this recently in Long Beach, CA. where an old woman was found to be dying in her bed. The employees did not know this until the husband notified them about it. It was later found out that her shoulder bone was broke and this was restricting blood movement or circulation, among other things that need to happen to keep someone healthy. It turned out that her shoulder bone was probably broken because one of the elderly car center’s employees may have dropped her when trying to move her off or onto her bed, causeing her to brake her shoulder bone and then put her back into the bed without notifying anyone. This old woman was about 90 years of age, with mental issues already, so she was unable to ask for help from anyone else. This old woman is now already buried.   

Not Providing Adequate Daily Care: Not maintaining adequate hygiene can not only delay a patient’s recovery by aggravating his symptoms but may also cause him to contract infections or develop sores that may be painful and require additional treatment.

Not Providing Adequate Patient Supervision: There have been countless instances across the country when inadequate supervision in a hospital or a nursing home has led to a slip-and-fall accident or has had a patient walking out of the establishment premises unauthorized.

Do not Assume Anything

The above are only some instances of nursing home abuse that can be the grounds for filing personal injury claims. If you suspect that your loved one in a hospital, nursing home, or an assisted care facility is being ill-treated, then you must make haste and contact an experienced and dedicated personal injury lawyer.

Personal injury lawyers unanimously agree that proving nursing home abuse constitutes some of the toughest cases they handle. The challenges stem not only from the intensely technical nature of the evidence but also from the complexity and diversity of rules and regulations that govern healthcare establishments. According to the lawyers, the following are the biggest challenges that they have to contend with in such cases:

Proving that death occurred from preventable causes: The success of bagging damages from a nursing home abuse case hinges on the lawyer’s ability to prove that death occurred due to a cause that could have been prevented by the medical staff. That is, the lawyer has to prove that death did not occur due to a past medical issue that could not have been known by the staff at the nursing home.

Proving that abuse had actually occurred: This involves proving that the signs of abuse noticeable on the patient have actually been caused by maltreatment and not by natural reasons. For instance, to support an abuse case, a lawyer may need to prove that a bruise on the patient’s body has been caused by hitting or choking and not due to the natural aging process. A personal injury lawyer needs to possess considerable medical knowledge to be able to differentiate between instances of physical abuse and the body’s natural processes in reaction to specific medical conditions or as side effects of drugs.

Proving that the healthcare establishment has violated regulations: Nursing homes have to follow a strict set of rules and regulations and an attorney needs to be well-versed in the intricacies of these laws to be able to spot and prove violations. A nursing home is liable to pay damages for wrongful death or patient abuse that occurs within its premises.

Hitting Back: Legally

If you suspect your loved one being abused or not properly cared for during his or her stay in a nursing home, you will need to seek advice from an experienced personal injury attorney to prove this tricky case.

Today more and more seniors are entering nursing homes consistent with the kind of care they need. Additionally, many nursing homes offer care to young adults as well, with physical and mental disabilities.  In the United States, nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities are required to have licensed practical nurses on duty 24 hours a day to provide the kind of care the residents need. In fact the facilities the nursing home is to offer and the way it is to be run is well defined. But despite having laws in place, the incidence of nursing home abuse is on the rise.
Huge Numbers
Consider these statistics. Roughly 6 million cases of elder abuse are recorded every year which translates into one abuse case every five seconds; a figure that does not consider the number of cases that go unreported.
Abuse Defined
Nursing home abuse can take many forms. Physical abuse is the most frequent kind which might be defined as use of non-accidental physical force against an elder. Such physical force can cause pain and impairment, and in extreme cases result in death due to nursing home neglect. Physical abuse also covers the use of inappropriate drugs for different reasons including physical restraint.
Just as Bad
Emotional abuse is another manifestation of nursing home abuse where a patient is left in a state of emotional distress, anxiety, or fear. Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse for humiliation, intimidation, and threats.
Other Forms
While these are the most common forms of nursing home abuse, there are many others such as financial fraud, exploitation, and sexual abuse.
No Toleration
Cases of nursing home abuse are dealt with by nursing home negligence attorneys, specialists in the field. Each state has its own laws and procedures in dealing with such cases but a claim can be raised for damages. If you know of any case of nursing home abuse it is incumbent on you to report it so that this cruel malpractice is stopped and the perpetrators brought to justice.

The 241 assisted living centers in Arkansas are regulated by the Department of Health Services through a one-to-five star rating system.  This systems exists to help patients and their families evaluate the quality of the nursing home when selecting a facility.

The staff at Taylor King Law understands that your decision is a difficult one. If you grow suspicious that your loved one is being abused or neglected, please call our office. Symptoms of neglect include bruises, broken bones, bedsores, weight loss or malnutrition, and failure to receive medication.

The Vulnerability of Aging 

The idea of nursing home abuse is a disturbing one, but it happens more frequently that you might think. Elderly residents are often unable to report their abuse, either because they are unable to communicate effectively, or because they fear the repercussions. As people age they often lose physical strength, mental awareness, or experience serious medical issues, all of which makes them vulnerable to exploitation. You are the greatest ally to protect your loved one's safety and dignity.

Abuse Comes in Many Forms 

We often think of abuse as a physical action, but emotional and financial abuse are also possible. As nursing home care becomes more financially feasible than at-home care for many people, it's vital that we as a society act to protect people from these serious crimes. helpless senior citizens from what could justifiably be referred to as a serious crime.

Because nursing homes are businesses, they are sometimes more driven by profit than compassion. Some caretakers may try to justify "cutting corners" that are, in reality, resulting in poor standards of care.

Believe the Best, but Be Watchful 

The Nursing Home Abuse Center gives a detailed list of warning signs to watch for, from physical signs to emotional symptoms, that may indicate your loved one is a victim of abuse or neglect. If you recognize these signs, or have reason to believe a senior is being abused, visit the Arkansas Report Elder Abuse page to find contact information for Abuse Prevention in your county. A personal injury attorney like Taylor King can help your loved one get the compensation they deserve for mistreatment and abuse. 

A large percentage of the population today resides in assisted living facilities like nursing homes. These are places which are expected to provide medical treatment and daily care, and create a suitable environment for elderly residents to live in a spirit of companionship. While the majority of facilities live up to their expectations and are run with professional efficiency, a few are indifferently run where elderly residents are habitually neglected and often live in fear.




A Terrible Situation




Elderly residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities naturally expect a degree of safety. But this does not happen in many nursing homes where neglect is routine, and a common type of nursing home abuse. Unfortunately many of these residents are not able to fend for themselves and are either intimidated or too ashamed to report incidents of neglect and abuse. Nursing home neglect is a double-edged sword which physically, mentally, and emotionally affects the incapacitated and elderly. It instills in them a fear of psychosis together with feelings of helplessness and despair.




A few typical signs of nursing home abuse are:




  • The presence of bed sores

  • Poor personal hygiene

  • A fear psychosis

  • Becoming withdrawn and introverted

  • Lethargy and depression

  • Sexual abuse

  • Dehydration and malnutrition

  • The presence of fractured bones, cuts, and bruises for no apparent reason




What do Do




If you suspect that your loved one or anyone you know is a victim of abuse, and suffering from nursing home injury, then you should get in touch with a nursing home injury attorney immediately to take appropriate action. Nursing home residents are invariably helpless but do have inalienable rights. A nursing home abuse lawyer will evaluate the situation and fight for justice and compensation. It will also send a strong message that nursing home abuse will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

 Lack of staff.Lack of trained managers. Or lack of infrastructure. There can be absolutely no justification for nursing home negligence or abuse; after all, these institutions are entrusted with the specialized care and treatment of individuals who are otherwise unable to take care of themselves and are completely dependent on healthcare institutions for their well-being. But unfortunately, many elderly patients are unable to voice their protest or inform their loved ones of their plight while there are an equal number of people who are not aware of the warning signs of nursing home abuse or negligence. If your loved one is admitted into a healthcare facility, then you should absolutely keep a lookout for the following warning signs and seek the services of a qualified nursing home negligence attorney:

Unjustified Weight Loss: Unexplained weightloss can be the result of inadequate nutrition, dehydration, or an undiagnosed illness. Weight loss can in turn, decrease the immunity levels of a patient making him or her vulnerable to a host of other illnesses.

Bruises and Cuts: Unexplained bruises and cuts are telltale signs of nursing home abuse. Bruises may also indicate sexual abuse. The physical and emotional trauma of nursing home sexual abuse is probably the most painful instance of nursing home negligence and it is imperative that you get in touch with a nursing home negligence attorney immediately to ensure that crucial pieces of evidence are not destroyed by any delay or healing.

Bedsores: You have admitted your loved one to a healthcare facility in the hope of giving him specialized care. Bedsores are clear signs that he is not receiving the care that he should be provided with. You should also keep an eye out for other signs of neglect such as dirty clothes for your loved one, soiled bedding, and filthy surroundings.

Slip and Fall Accidents: Serious and/or regular slip and fall accidents are signs that a patient in a nursing home is not being adequately attended to and is case enough for you to hire the services of a nursing home attorney who can collect and analyze the required evidence to make a strong case.

Restraints: Physical and chemical restraints not only constitute instances of nursing home abuse but also are regarded as a violation of the rights of a patient by restricting his freedom of movement. Unfortunately, the use of leg and arm restraints, bed rails, hand mitts, cuffs, wheelchair safety bars, and administering sedatives are all too common practices in many nursing homes.

Defending the Weak

Now that you know what constitutes nursing home abuse and how important it is to not only collect evidence pointing to it but also to decipher these telltale signs, keep the contact details of a nursing home negligence attorney handy, should you or an acquaintance need it to fight for the justice of someone who cannot do so himself or herself.

 

There are roughly 18,000 nursing homes in the United States which care for about 1.6 million seniors. Unfortunately, nursing homes do not always provide the level of care that is expected of them by families who have entrusted their loved ones to their care, and by the law. The result is that many residents are injured and sometimes die for a variety of reasons, all centered on abuse in one form or other.

The Clock is Ticking

If you feel your loved one is being abused then do contact a personal injury lawyer immediately to protect your/their right to gain the compensation that is mightily deserved. While the applicable laws vary according to the state, in general nursing home abuse is governed by a statute of limitations, which implies there is a stipulated time in which you have to file your claim. Do not worry, do not make any hasty decisions. The statute of limitations is not a week or so but it does not mean you want to sit on this case or issue for months and even years on end because people forget and others move on. It is better to eat the food when it is still hot.

Some Signs to Look For

According to a recent study, over half the lawsuits relating to nursing home abuse involved the death of a patient. This was closely followed by instances of pressure sores, dehydration and weight loss, and emotional distress. Some of the common causes of action in nursing home lawsuits were:

Restraint of the elder for the staff’s convenience

Depriving a patient of a wheelchair or walker which is akin to false imprisonment

Raping an inmate in a nursing home facility

Failure to screen employees and conduct suitable background checks

Inducing residents to the facility and failing to deliver on promises

Slip and fall injuries because of known hazardous conditions or conditions the facility ought to have known about

Malnutrition or dehydration because of failure to provide required assistance when eating or drinking

An Internal Shakeup

In general, all the foregoing incidents are different violations, but are all covered by injury law. A personal injury attorney will be able to advise you on how to proceed with making a claim for a suitable amount of compensation. More significantly, a claim would highlight malpractices at the facility and could serve to bring this issue into the limelight and the culprits could be prosecuted. If that involves an entire management replacement, so be it.

 
Nursing Home Abuse Continues

There are roughly 18,000 nursing homes in the United States which care for about 1.6 million seniors. Unfortunately, nursing homes do not always provide the level of care that is expected of them by families who have entrusted their loved ones to their care, and by the law. The result is that many residents are injured and sometimes die for a variety of reasons, all centered on abuse in one form or other.

The Clock is Ticking

If you feel your loved one is being abused then do contact a personal injury lawyer immediately to protect your/their right to gain the compensation that is mightily deserved. While the applicable laws vary according to the state, in general nursing home abuse is governed by a statute of limitations, which implies there is a stipulated time in which you have to file your claim. Do not worry, do not make any hasty decisions. The statute of limitations is not a week or so but it does not mean you want to sit on this case or issue for months and even years on end because people forget and others move on. It is better to eat the food when it is still hot.

Some Signs to Look For

According to a recent study, over half the lawsuits relating to nursing home abuse involved the death of a patient. This was closely followed by instances of pressure sores, dehydration and weight loss, and emotional distress. Some of the common causes of action in nursing home lawsuits were:

Restraint of the elder for the staff’s convenience

Depriving a patient of a wheelchair or walker which is akin to false imprisonment

Raping an inmate in a nursing home facility

Failure to screen employees and conduct suitable background checks

Inducing residents to the facility and failing to deliver on promises

Slip and fall injuries because of known hazardous conditions or conditions the facility ought to have known about

Malnutrition or dehydration because of failure to provide required assistance when eating or drinking

An Internal Shakeup

In general, all the foregoing incidents are different violations, but are all covered by injury law. A personal injury attorney will be able to advise you on how to proceed with making a claim for a suitable amount of compensation. More significantly, a claim would highlight malpractices at the facility and could serve to bring this issue into the limelight and the culprits could be prosecuted. If that involves an entire management replacement, so be it. 

Anti-psychotic drugs are used in the treatment of schizophrenia and related psychoses, severe anxiety, agitation, dangerous, or violently impulsive behavior and other mental health conditions. They are also used in the treatment of other conditions like vomiting and nausea, pain management and related restlessness whilst in palliative care and continuous hiccoughs.

By the Numbers

Recent studies suggest that anti-psychotic drugs are often overused in nursing homes as a type of “chemical restraint”, to control agitation and combative behavior in patients for whom the drugs have not been recommended. The report goes on to reveal some alarming statistics:

In 2010 at least 25 percent of residents in U.S. nursing homes received anti-psychotic medication, even though they suffered from no illness or condition for which these drugs were necessary.

There existed a clear link between staffing levels in nursing homes and the use of anti-psychotic medication. Facilities with lower staffing levels in general used more anti-psychotic drugs when not prescribed.

Anti-psychotic drugs were used more often in nursing homes where residents were deemed to have behavioral problems, according to the nurses and staff, like resisting care, wandering or being abusive to staff, both physically and verbally.

Lack of Time or Care

Anti-psychotic drugs are strong sedatives which are potentially harmful when used wrongly or in excess. Side effects in elderly individuals could result in cardiovascular complications and heighten the risk from infections. They can also cause blurred vision, dizziness, and a sudden blood pressure drop. Any of these could result in falls and fall-related injuries. Anti-psychotic drugs are overused in nursing homes because the staff does not have time to investigate the cause of an individual’s behavioral problems. Most of the time it is a funding issue; it is also difficult to work in an environment such as this.

Open Your Own Investigation

If you feel a loved nursing home resident is being administered unnecessary or excessive anti-psychotic medication is being deployed you could ask for the list of medications being used with their dosage. An Internet search will enlighten you about the reasons for using the drug and the recommended dosage.

Make the Call

If you believe your loved one has suffered injury because of prolonged usage of anti-psychotic drugs then contact a nursing home attorney to explore the possibility of filing a claim for damages for medical malpractice under the category of injury law.