Placing a loved one in nursing home is among the hardest decisions we can ever make. The decision can be agonizing for both the family and the loved one. The only thing that makes the decision bearable is the belief that the loved one will be in a safe and caring environment.
Sadly, there are many nursing homes that provide anything but a safe and caring environment. Instead, our loved ones are often neglected, sometimes severely neglected, on occasion even abused, and quit frequently subjected to unsafe, unclean, and unprofessional medical practices.
If your loved one has been seriously injured as a result of nursing home neglect or abuse, you, your family and your loved one have rights. The Albuquerque Attorneys of Collins & Collins, P.C. are here to help. Give us a call or contact us online.
In the meantime, we hope that you find some information that is helpful here to help guide you through this very difficult and stressful time.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect is a Growing Problem
Nursing home abuse and neglect has become one of the nation‘s largest growing problems. It is estimated that one in three nursing homes has been reported for abuse. This number may significantly understate the true problem,
This statistic is troubling in light of the fact that nursing home abuse potentially affects 1.6 million nursing home residents. The problem is likely to grow much worse with the nursing home population growing rapidly with the aging of the baby boom generation.
Many Types of Abuse: Family Should be Aware of Signs
There are numerous varieties of nursing home abuse including physical abuse or neglect, psychological abuse and neglect, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse. It is important for family members to watch for signs of nursing home abuse.
Residents are often afraid to report abuse on their own for numerous reasons. They may not want to burden their family. They may simply be passive or unaware of the fact that the treatment constitutes abuse and not simply business as usual. In some cases, they may even fear retaliation and even worse mistreatment in the case of a report.
Causes of Nursing Home Abuse
The causes for nursing home abuse are many. One main contributing factor is the fact that many nursing home personnel are underpaid, under qualified and under trained. This is astonishing in light of the profits generated by the industry as a whole.
These issues reflect in part negligent hiring of unqualified staff. A much more serious problem is the hiring of employees with a history of abuse and neglect. It is not unusual for an abusive employee to have a history of abusive or negligent conduct in prior jobs.
The hiring processes are often the root of the problem. No amount of training will rehabilitate some of these folks and there is no excuse for putting incompetent or worse yet abusive staff in charge of the care of our innocent and vulnerable loved ones.
Right to Recovery for Injuries and Damages
The recovery for victims of nursing home abuse is dependent upon the circumstances of abuse and neglect, and the resultant injuries. These will include all the elements of damages in a personal injury or wrongful death claim.
Other circumstances may also affect recovery such as the history of the facility as well as the history of the perpetrator(s) of the abuse. There are some facilities that simply do not learn from mistakes and continue the same abusive and neglectful practices despite complaints and claims piling up.
In addition, an abusive staff member typically does not come with a clean slate. He or she often has a history. Unfortunately, employee screening of nursing home employees is often negligent in itself. A history of abuse on the part of the perpetrator as well as the failure to screen by the employer is important factors in a nursing home abuse claim.
The injuries can cover a spectrum of damages including serious physical injuries, medical expenses, mental anguish, wrongful death and everything in between. Proof of damages will often involve extensive attorney time and significant expert witness assistance and costs. In fact, the expert witnesses who will be a medical professional, nursing home professional, staffing professional or the like are critical to these claims.
Do Not Delay
Nursing home claims carry the same deadlines as other personal injury claims. You should understand these deadlines and make sure that you do not miss one. Missing a deadline will bar your claims completely.
Keep in mind that deadlines vary depending on the type of defendant. In other words, the deadlines on claims against government run facilities are much shorter than the deadlines on claims against private entities.
However, first and foremost, if you loved one is being abused or neglected; you should take steps to protect your loved one. This above all should be the focus of your efforts.