When your loved one is in a nursing home or other care facility, you expect them to remain safe and free from abuse and harm. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. When a nursing home employee abuses your relative, they should be held responsible. Call our Ohio nursing home abuse lawyers to learn more.
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Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
Nursing home abuse and neglect is a growing problem, and it may get worse as the U.S. population ages. By 2060, the number of Americans who are 65 or older is expected to reach over 98 million, according to the Population Reference Bureau (PRB). At some point, the population will shift, and the U.S. will have more seniors than children. This is why it essential to learn about potential negligence and abuse in nursing homes and the signs of negligent caregivers. By understanding the problem and looking for the warning signs, you can detect when your elderly loved one is suffering.
If you believe your elderly loved one is suffering at the hands of a negligent or abusive caregiver in a nursing home or other type of care facility, contact our Ohio nursing home abuse lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick right away. We are here to help you get your loved one the medical and daily care they need to thrive, and to hold negligent or abusive caregivers responsible.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home negligence can arise from unintentional situations. Elder abuse, however, is intentional and comes in many forms:
This entails any physical threat or assault against an elderly resident, including hitting, pushing, slapping, or kicking. It also encompasses unnecessary physical or pharmaceutical restraint. Physical abuse is unethical and illegal. If your loved one has suffered harm due to physical abuse, please call our Ohio nursing home abuse lawyers right away.
This includes any type of non-consensual sexual contact, from touching a female resident’s breasts over her clothing to rape. Also, all sexual activity with seniors who are incompetent and who cannot communicate is unlawful because they cannot give consent. If you discover evidence of sexual abuse, call Kisling, Nestico & Redick right away. You and your loved one may also wish to call the police to begin a criminal investigation into the matter.
Not all elder abuse is physical. Far too many seniors suffer due to psychological and emotional abuse, which can occur in many ways. This type of abuse encompasses name-calling, verbal threats, shaming, blaming, demeaning, humiliating, ridiculing, and gaslighting a resident. It also includes ignoring a senior and isolating them from friends and family.
Your elderly loved one can be victimized without suffering from physical or emotional abuse. Staff members, other residents, or visitors to the nursing home can financially take advantage of your relative. This may entail theft, asking for or manipulating your loved one into providing monetary or expensive gifts, over-charging your relative for services and items provided by the nursing home, and perpetrating financial schemes.
If you notice any signs that your loved one has been physically, sexually, emotionally, or financially harmed while living at a nursing home, do not wait to see what happens. Call the Ohio nursing home abuse lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick to discuss your loved one’s legal rights and options.
Nursing Home Negligence
When your elderly parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or other relative lives at a nursing home in Ohio, you expect them to receive excellent care. Every member of the facility’s staff should treat your loved one with respect and compassion. They should strive to provide your family member and other residents with a clean and safe living environment. Not only should they do this for ethical reasons, but it is also required by law.
Nursing homes have a duty to provide a certain standard of care. When a nursing home’s staff fail to uphold that standard of care and creates an unhygienic or dangerous living situation for residents, then they may be held liable for nursing home negligence. This negligence could lead to civil liability or a personal injury claim made by a loved one. There also may be cases in which negligence that harms elders becomes a crime.
Negligence, unlike abuse, does not have to be intentional. It is often an act of carelessness. It may be due to a lack of proper staffing or inadequate training.
Whatever the cause, nursing home negligence can lead to serious issues, including:
- A lack of clean clothing and bedding
- Improper bathing
- Dirty and unhygienic rooms, hallways, and common areas
- Lack of fluids and food throughout the day
- Receiving inappropriate foods for dietary and medical needs
- Improper medication administration
- Too little exercise and social stimulation
Negligent care at a nursing home can have devastating emotional, psychological, and physical effects on your elderly loved one. If you believe your relative is not receiving proper care, call our nursing home negligence lawyers immediately.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Below are some of the most common warning signs of nursing home abuse and/or neglect.
Signs of Caregiver Neglect
You may notice your loved one is often in dirty clothing or clothing unsuitable for the temperature and weather. You may notice your loved one’s bedding is often soiled, or that their room and the common areas are not clean. Your loved one may smell, have bad breath, or have skin rashes because they are not bathed or received help brushing their teeth. Bed sores are often a sign of poor hygiene and not being moved enough. Also, malnutrition, dehydration, and frequent urinary tract infections can be signs of negligent care.
Signs of Physical Abuse
Do you notice bruising, scars, welts, or restraint marks on your loved one’s body? It is particularly worrisome if these bruises and other marks are in different stages of healing. Unexplained falls, sprains, dislocations, and bone fractures can be signs of abuse. If your loved one refuses to be along with certain staff members, you should contact our Ohio nursing home abuse lawyers right away.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
If you see or are informed of bruising around your relative’s breasts or genitals; stained, torn, or bloody underwear; unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding; or sexually transmitted infections, contact an attorney and the police regarding suspected sexual assault.
Signs of Emotional Abuse
Look for changes in your loved one’s behavior. Has there been an increase in self-soothing behavior, such as mumbling, rocking themselves, or sucking on their thumb? Are they becoming withdrawn or depressed? Are they acting out and becoming more aggressive? Any of these changes could be signs of psychological abuse. If you fear your relative is being emotionally abused in a nursing home, contact a lawyer from Kisling, Nestico & Redick right away.
When Victims Remain Silent
Nursing home neglect and abuse can go on for weeks, months, or years without your loved one speaking up. It can be heartbreaking to learn your relative has been suffering silently. You cannot place blame on your loved one for not speaking up. Seniors stay silent about poor treatment and conditions for many reasons.
Many elders who are victimized feel ashamed or embarrassed. They do not want to admit to their family and friends that someone was able to take advantage of them. This is a natural way to feel.
Elders are not always believed. Many nursing home residents suffer from dementia or age-related memory issues. They may not be as sharp as they used to be. Other staff members and maybe even members of your own family may not entirely trust or believe what your loved one says, particularly if they are not originally clear and concise. Seniors may allude to neglect or abuse, but they might be told they are confused or remembering incorrectly.
Do not rely on your loved one to come forward about neglect or abuse. You need to be on the lookout for signs that something is wrong. You then have the difficult task of talking with your loved one about it. Being the first one to talk about it can help your relative open up. Your next step is to call our Ohio nursing home abuse lawyers to discuss your loved one’s legal options.
Elder Abuse Reporting Laws
Ohio maintains an expansive set of laws regarding mandatory reporting of suspected elder abuse. Under Ohio Revised Code Section 5101.63, there is an extensive list of professionals who are required to report any suspicions they have of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation to the county department of job and family services.
This list includes:
- Nursing home employees
- Dialysis technicians
- First responders
- Building inspectors
- Real estate agents
- Certified public accountants
- Bank employees
- Financial planners
- Clergy members
- Peace/Police officers
- Any senior service provider
Your Legal Options After Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
If your loved one has been a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, they may have the right to pursue compensation through a medical malpractice claim. Nursing homes are medical facilities, and the elderly residents are patients. The doctors, nurses, and aids at the facility are required to provide a certain standard of care. By failing to provide that standard of care – whether carelessly, recklessly, or intentionally – the facility becomes liable for the injuries nursing home patients suffer.
Through a medical malpractice claim, your loved one can fight for general and special damages. These encompass a variety of economic, physical, and psychological injuries, including medical expenses and pain and suffering.
If there is evidence that a health care professional acted with malice, your loved one may also seek punitive damages. These are not intended for individuals or businesses that are guilty of simple negligence. Instead, they are intended for individuals or businesses that are guilty of gross negligence or intentional misconduct. Punitive damages are not meant to compensate your elderly loved one, but instead punish the wrongdoer.
If your elderly relative passed away due to the neglect or abuse, then our Ohio nursing home abuse lawyers can represent you in a wrongful death claim. Through a wrongful death lawsuit, your family can pursue damages, including compensation for your grief.
Resources for Elders and Their Families
There are many helpful resources for seniors or family members of seniors in Ohio, including:
- The National Center on Elder Abuse
- Ohio Adult Protective Services
- Ohio Department of Aging
- Ohio Department of Health, Office of Health Assurance and Licensing
- Ohio Department of Health, Complaints – Health Care Facilities and Nursing Homes
- Long-Term Care Ombudsman
- Ohio Hopes
Call Our Ohio Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Lawyers Today
If you know or suspect that your loved one has been neglected or abused in a nursing home, and that this care has led to physical, psychological, or financial harm, do not hesitate to call an attorney. Your loved one deserves to receive excellent medical and daily care. When a nursing home fails to provide adequate care, you and your loved one have every right to hold the medical facility responsible.
To learn more about nursing home medical malpractice or wrongful death claims, contact the Ohio nursing home abuse lawyers of Kisling, Nestico & Redick at 1-800-HURT-NOW to schedule a free, initial evaluation of your case.