In most cases, the nursing home and elder care facilities that make up the bulk of the assisted living communities across the United States are staffed with well trained, caring and attentive employees who keep the surroundings clean and attend to the patients to the best of their abilities. However, this isn’t the case in a 100% of these type of facilities and in a field like this -anything less than that is not good enough.
Unfortunately, there have been many reported cases in the last several years of nursing home abuse and neglect. Some of these cases come from a facility being grossly understaffed and some from hiring unqualified or unethical employees. They often slip through the cracks and who never have to go through any type of training process and who aren’t watched as closely as they should be while they are caring for the patients and residents.
Nursing home abuse is a tragedy that is one hundred percent preventable – if the offending facilities had better management and more structured rules and policies in place then we would probably see a very large percentage of the abuse that occurs today disappear – add in background checks and stringent hiring policies for all prospective employees and it’s likely that nursing home abuse would dissappear completely.
The abuse in nursing homes comes in all shapes and forms. It isn’t limited to just actual physical abuse, it could include a number of other equally reprehensible offenses including theft of money and property from residents, neglecting the food and medicinal needs of residents and not keeping the residents or their environment as clean as necessary for the best chances of remaining healthy.
If you know someone that has a loved one that resides in a nursing home and have any proof, or even any suspicion of potential abuse, you need to take action immediately. The first step is to speak with the management of the facility to express your concerns – let them know exactly what you’ve seen as well as any suspicions you may have, if the situation is an isolated incident or if the party suspected of the abuse has had any previous complaints or allegations against them then this contact with the management may be enough to end the alleged abuse.
If you’re suspicious or even see evidence of physical abuse like unexplained bruising, cuts and scrapes or broken bones then a meeting with the management won’t be enough. If you feel that a loved one is being physically abused in the nursing home at which they reside you should get in contact with a personal injury lawyer right away.
A personal injury lawyer will already have knowledge of past abuse situations that have gone on in the same facility, they will be able to look at medical records and identify if the injuries listed are consistent with physical abuse and they’ll be able to guide you through the entire process as it comes to light.
Do not listen to promises or excuses from the management of a nursing home. This is not good enough in the event of abuse. Understand that the management will do whatever it takes to protect themselves from appearing in court as a defendant.
If the accusations of abuse are founded and true, something needs to be done so that nothing like that ever happens again in that location. Threat of and follow through with a lawsuit and representation by a reputable personal injury attorney can force those necessary changes.
It is cetainly the case that a widely publicized lawsuit could lead to the necessary staffing changes, for stricter rules and hiring policies put in place by the management and reparations for the damage that has already been done. Though none of these things will take away the pain that was inflicted from the initial abuse, they can help to ensure that it will never happen again.
About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper,Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm is based in Virginia (VA), near the NE North Carolina (NC) border and handles car, truck, railroad, and medical negligence cases and more. Our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service. Lawyers licensed in: VA, NC, SC, WV, DC, KY.