Nursing Home Abuse FAQs
When loved ones select a nursing home facility for an aging family member, they often put a lot of care and thought into the process. Unfortunately, even in the most seemingly safe and nurturing facility, nursing home abuse can occur.
Nursing home abuse can lead to physical and emotional trauma for neglected or mistreated residents. When someone suspects that a loved one is being abused, they are often unsure of how to proceed. Here, attorney Lynn C. Harris, who serves Salt Lake City, UT, Provo, UT, and surrounding areas, provides answers to nursing home abuse FAQs so that people feel better equipped to deal with this distressing situation.
What Is Classified as Nursing Home Abuse?
The term “abuse” often brings to mind images of physical assault and injury. While that is certainly one type of abuse, nursing home abuse can take place in many different forms. Nursing home abuse refers to any behavior, either intentional or unintentional, that causes harm to the victim. Common examples of nursing home abuse include:
- Striking, pushing, kicking, or otherwise physically assaulting a nursing home resident
- Unauthorized use of chemical or physical restraints
- Sexual assault
- Neglect to address medical conditions
- Denial of food or water
- Unauthorized seclusion or isolation
- Medication errors
- Allowing or encouraging acts of violence between nursing home residents
How Do I Know If My Loved One Is Being Abused?
Nursing home abuse victims are often either scared to speak up about their mistreatment, or are unable to communicate their situation. Because nursing home residents are so vulnerable to abuse, it is important that family members be aware of potential signs that abuse is taking place, such as:
- Unexplained injuries
- Bed sores
- Sudden changes in weight
- Changes in personality, especially sudden upset, agitation, or frustration
- Frequent falls
- Facility-acquired infections
- Unclean or unsanitary conditions in the nursing home facility
- Withdrawn resident behavior, or a reluctance to speak in front of certain nursing home workers
How Do I Report Suspected Nursing Home Abuse?
If someone suspects that a resident is a victim of nursing home abuse, it is essential that they report it right away. If the resident is in immediate danger, the police should be contacted. In other situations, a formal complaint should be filed with the nursing home administrator. State agencies should also be contacted about suspected situations of abuse. The Nursing Home Abuse Hotline (800-677-1116) has operators standing by Monday through Friday between the hours of 9am and 8pm Eastern Standard Time. They can answer questions and offer advice regarding which state agencies should be made aware of suspected abuse.
Should I Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney?
If a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, they may be due financial compensation for related damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and wrongful death losses (if the abuse results in death). However, a nursing home facility is highly unlikely to offer this compensation on its own, and if it does, the facility is likely to offer a settlement that fails to account for the full extent of damages. That is why it is essential to contact a nursing home abuse attorney, such as Lynn C. Harris. Lynn Harris works on behalf of his Salt Lake City clients to pursue compensation for the full range of nursing home abuse damages.
If you believe that a loved one has suffered injuries related to nursing home abuse, attorney Lynn C. Harris can help you consider the best course of legal action. To schedule a personal consultation to discuss your case, contact our law firm online or call (801) 521-3200.