When your loved one lives in a nursing home, the idea is that they will be safer and healthier there than they would somewhere they didn’t have adequate care. Unfortunately, that’s not always the reality. If your loved one was injured in assisted living or other care facility, you might be wondering if they have a personal injury claim. After all, aren’t the people there supposed to specialize in caring for the elderly?
How Common are Nursing Home Injuries?
The CDC says twice as many elderly people fall in nursing homes as people the same age who fall in other environments. That stat alone indicates something is wrong. Around 1,800 Americans die from those falls every year. Every year there are also reports across the nation of injury from nursing home abuse and negligence.
Nursing Home Injury Types
A nursing home injury is any type of harm that comes to an individual while in an assisted living or other long-term care facility. As people age, they are more likely to get hurt because they may develop muscle weakness, have physical or mental conditions that put them at risk, and sometimes take medication that affects daily activities. Some of the most common long term care facility injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Bedrail injuries
Neglect might cause a loved one to lose weight when they’re not eating properly. They might not receive medication prescribed for potentially life-threatening medical conditions. Or, neglect might mean they spend much of their time in unsanitary surroundings or clothing, putting them at increased risk of disease and mental illness.
In one Texas nursing home, neglect caused the same resident to fall twelve times in a reporting period. At the same nursing home, staff members ignored resident requests for help going to the bathroom to the point one woman just quit asking. “What for?” She told investigators. “They tell me go in my brief.”
Staff members are trained and paid to provide care for nursing home residents. That’s their whole function. When residents are injured, it often means a person or group of persons didn’t do their job.
Nursing Home Abuse
Preventable accidents and ongoing neglect are bad enough, but sometimes the damage is intentional. The World Health Organization reports elder abuse happens to one in six people aged 60 years and older.
It’s hard to even speculate what could make staff members show intentional cruelty to residents, but it happens. When someone willfully uses injury, intimidation or punishment to cause physical, mental, financial or emotional harm, it’s abuse. Here are some examples.
- Physical abuse – Patients might be hit, pushed, grabbed or intentionally hurt with objects.
- Emotional abuse – Staff might isolate residents, keep them from communicating with friends and family members, belittle them, yell at them or shame them.
- Financial abuse – Greed motivates some staff to try to use resident’s money without authorization, or to steal their belongings.
- Sexual abuse – Signs include STDs or infections, bruising or bleeding around the genitals or unusual stains in undergarments.
- Neglect – If patients are dehydrated, malnourished or have other physical needs ignored, it’s abuse.
What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
If you think something is going on at your loved one’s long term care facility, trust your gut. They need you to be their advocate. If you believe they’re being neglected or abused, contact adult protective services. Then, if you believe they have experienced nursing home abuse or nursing home neglect, schedule a complimentary consultation with Monsour Law Firm to talk with an experienced personal injury attorney on how best to proceed.