Nursing homes are supposed to be places where disabled or elderly people can go to receive skilled, compassionate care. Unfortunately, some nursing homes have earned bad reputations because of the prevalence of nursing home negligence and abuse. If you suspect that your loved one is being neglected or abused in a nursing home, it is important that you take action quickly. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook have a collective legal experience of more than 40 years, and we are passionate about helping our clients keep their loved ones protected and safe. We will work hard to hold the nursing home at fault accountable for the negligence or abuse that has harmed your family member.
Types of Nursing Home Negligence and Abuse
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, there are seven different types of negligence and abuse that can happen in nursing homes:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Psychological or emotional abuse
- Financial or material exploitation
- Self-neglect (when a resident threatens his or her own health or safety)
Physical and sexual abuse in nursing homes can be perpetrated by staff or by other residents and is especially prevalent in dementia units. Physical abuse may include hitting, kicking, biting, pushing, pulling, and other abusive physical contact. Sexual abuse of the elderly may include taking nude pictures, sexual touching, or sexual assault of the residents. Some elderly and disabled residents are also the victims of psychological or emotional abuse. In these cases, the perpetrators may inflict mental anguish on the victims through both verbal and nonverbal means. Psychological or emotional abuse may include intimidation, humiliation, insults, threats, harassment, and verbal assaults. Financial exploitation of the elderly occurs when others exploit the elderly victims in order to enrich themselves. Some elderly people are abandoned by others, which is more common with older adults who have dementia and challenging behaviors. Finally, neglect of nursing home residents may include failing to provide the proper medication, fluids, food, safety, hygiene, and cleanliness. Some nursing home residents neglect themselves by failing to properly eat or to take care of their hygiene needs.
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from any of these types of abuse or negligence, it is important for you to act quickly to protect them by taking legal action.
Signs of Nursing Home Negligence and Abuse
Many elderly and disabled nursing home residents are either unable to explain what is happening to them or fearful of doing so because of the potential retaliation that they might face. The reticence of nursing home residents to reveal that they are being neglected or abused makes it important for you to understand the signs that abuse or neglect may be occurring, which include the following:
- Broken bones
- Unexplained bruises
- Open wounds
- Broken eyeglasses
- Self-reports of mistreatment
- Becoming withdrawn
- Fearful behavior
- Sudden changes in behavior
- Nursing home refusing to allow visitors to meet with their loved ones alone
- Checks written out to staff
- Dehydration or malnutrition
If you see any of these signs of nursing home negligence, you should immediately contact the lawyers at the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook as well as law enforcement. Acting quickly is vital if you want to keep your loved one safe.
What to Do If You Suspect That Your Loved One Is Being Abused or Neglected
If you believe that your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home, you should take several steps. If the situation is an emergency, call 911 to get help. You should also contact the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook. If you believe that the situation in which you find your loved one is not an emergency, you should document everything that leads you to believe that he or she is being abused or neglected. Take pictures of any bruises that your loved one has. If there are unsanitary conditions in your loved one’s room, photograph them. Get copies of your loved one’s medical records from the nursing home, and speak to other residents about what is happening if possible. If you believe that your suspicions are substantiated, you should report what you’ve discovered to the state. In Arkansas, there is an elder abuse hotline that you can reach by calling 1-800-332-4443. Finally, remove your loved one from the nursing home in which he or she has been abused or neglected.
Contact the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook Today
If you suspect that your disabled or elderly loved one is being abused in his or her nursing home, contact the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook immediately so that we can take prompt legal action against the homes and perpetrators. Call us for your free consultation at 479-783-8000, or contact us online.