Many of us that choose to place our loved one into a nursing home facility naturally assume that the management and workers have the residents’ well being in mind. After all, nursing homes are supposed to provide professional care for those that can’t care for themselves, right? As much as we hope Aunt Agnes will be properly cared for, too often we are let down and in some cases our worst fears are realized. Loved ones are being subjected to abuse and neglect, and it’s happening everywhere.
Nursing home staff members have been caught in the act of inflicting verbal abuse on elderly residents. Physical abuse and emotional abuse is just as widespread in American nursing homes today. Any form of nursing home abuse is inexcusable because it produces harmful effects to the nursing home resident as well as family members of the victim.
There are many signs that could show if your loved one is a victim of physical or emotional abuse at a nursing home: bumps or bruises on the body, cuts and scrapes, lacerations, burns, broken bones, changes in behavior, and mood swings.
If you observe things such as bed sores, poor hygiene and unclean conditions in the nursing home, be aware that these could be additional signs of neglect.
Nursing homes are ordered by the federal and state governments to meet specific requirements regarding the care they provide. This includes making sure an adequate number of professional employees are on hand to care for residents of the nursing home.
Unfortunately, many nursing homes will jeopardize the welfare of their elderly residents by not maintaining enough employees to provide care.
There are attorneys who can offer legal solutions if you or a loved one has experienced abuse or neglect. It is imperative that you speak with an experienced lawyer if you have questions concerning what can be done with your abuse claim. You or your loved one may be entitled to compensation for your damages or suffering.
Recognizing And Reporting Cases of Nursing Home Abuse:
Filing a complaint can be one of those propositions that tend to make people a bit nervous. Most people are not interested in getting people in trouble needlessly, and self doubt can make filing a complaint emotionally difficult if you just suspect abuse.
Abuse is unfortunately prevalent throughout the United States, and even the suspicion of abuse justifies filing a complaint. When filing a complaint in the state of Texas, there are a few requirements that are easy to follow that will make filing a complaint a smoother process and receive better attention.
The organization that receives complaints is known as D.A.D.S. This stands for the Department of Aging and Disability Services. One of their main purposes is to investigate abuse and neglect reports. It is better to report any suspected abuse, neglect, or any form of suspected mistreatment of the elderly rather than to wait until there is absolutely no doubt.
They are the professionals. Allowing them to investigate can often prove abuse or neglect of the elderly much faster, often preventing the tragedies associated with the abuse and the neglect.
The Department of Aging and Disability Services is going to require as much specific information about the suspected nursing home which you are reporting as possible, including the day, time, the specifics of the incident or incidents, and how you are aware of the suspected abuse.
They will require you to give your contact information and your name, however, this information is kept confidential by law. Once you have reported the suspect abuse or neglect to the Department of Aging and Disability Services, they will then investigate the situation to its entirety. This will include a surprise, unannounced visit to the nursing home facility.
If you have evidence of abuse, turning it over to the Department of Aging and Disability Services is in your best interest as well as the best interest of the victim. Investigating abuse or neglect on your own is not recommended.
Investigations are best handled by those with ample experience. Investigating any suspected abuse or neglect on your own is likely to simply alert those involved that you are suspicious and alter their behavior long enough to avoid a thorough investigation.
There are obvious signs of abuse that can be confusing, especially bruising. Bruising of an elderly person may be the result of abuse, but it also may be the result of normal activity, especially if the patient takes certain medications. Some medications cause easy bruising. Thus, the bruised hand print around the arm could be evidence of abuse or it may be evidence of someone simply assisting an unstable elderly person out of bed or into a wheelchair. This can be very confusing.
The Department of Aging and Disabilities Services recommend reporting your suspicions. It can often take numerous reports of abuse and neglect before any evidence is found. It is better to report an innocent situation than to ignore the potential violation. The safety and quality of life of the elderly depends on people who are willing to stand up and take a risk every now and then. There is no excuse for abuse or neglect. Those who are truly innocent of any wrongdoing will be able to prove their innocence.
When reporting suspected abuse or neglect, stay in contact with the Department of Aging and Disabilities Services to receive updates on the investigation. They may wish to speak with you on numerous occasions to validate their findings or to clarify your suspicions as the investigation continues.
In the event of abuse or neglect, it is advisable to retain a lawyer to protect the rights and interests of the victim. In most cases of abuse, there is grounds for a lawsuit. Filing lawsuits are a pertinent part of the process in bringing the perpetrators to justice as well as hold the nursing home responsible for the actions of its employees.
Nick Johnson is lead counsel with Johnson Law Group. Johnson represents plaintiffs in many states and focuses on injury cases involving Nursing Home Abuse. Call 1-888-311-5522 today or visit http://www.johnsonlawgroup.com for a free case evaluation.
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