Bozeman Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
In the United States, nursing home residents rely on trained and skilled caregivers to provide their basic needs, such as delivering meals, giving medication, attending to daily hygiene, and caring for their medical conditions.
However, not all of these nursing home workers have the resident’s best interests at heart. Some may even prey on an elderly or disabled resident through physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse. Others may even neglect to care for the residents, leaving them without food or water.
If you notice any changes in the health or behavior of a loved one, it could be a sign of nursing home abuse. Many times, the abuse or neglect is perpetrated by an individual, while other times, the facility knew of the abuse and continued to employ the worker. In any case, these parties must be held liable for the suffering caused by their actions.
Concerned family members and loved ones will want to reach out to a Bozeman nursing home abuse lawyer. With their help, you can get the justice and compensation that your loved one deserves.
At Western Justice Associates, PLLC, we have assisted many families in fighting for the rights of their loved ones in a nursing home. We understand the frustration that these cases cause, and our team can offer a legal pathway to hold these abusive parties responsible for their actions.
Nursing Home Abuse Often Goes Unreported
Nursing home abuse is a problem throughout the country and the world. According to a World Health Organization anonymous survey, 2 in 3 nursing home staff members reported committing some type of abuse in the past year.
Another study involved 2,000 nursing homes. The survey disclosed that about 44% of seniors endure nursing home abuse, and a staggering 95% of these abuse cases remain unreported.
These horrendous acts must be reported to the proper agencies. But unfortunately, only 1 in 14 of these instances are reported. This under-reporting promotes a culture of abuse within the industry. When abuse goes unreported and unpunished, it emboldens the perpetrators and creates lasting patterns of harm.
Anyone who has a loved one in a nursing home should be aware of the common signs of abuse.
The Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
One of the first signs that there could be an abuse issue is an unexplained shift in the behavior of your loved one. Often, they may start to show signs of fear or guilt. These residents may seem withdrawn or despondent. They may even refuse to meet with their family members.
Nursing home abuse can occur through physical, sexual, and financial abuse, along with general neglect. Some of these signs can include:
Unfortunately, one of the most prevalent types of nursing home abuse centers around physical harm. Some caregivers might lash out at the residents, hitting or punching them. Other times, they might misuse medical equipment, such as restraints, leaving behind physical signs, such as:
- Unexplained fractures, sprains, or dislocations
- Presence of bruising, scars, or welts
- Rope burns or marks on the wrists
Another type of abuse is emotional abuse. While it may not leave physical scars on the patient, it can affect their behavior and quality of life. These signs include:
- Dementia-like symptoms, such as rocking or mumbling
- Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
- Depression symptoms
In nursing homes, caregivers or even other residents can perpetrate sexual abuse. Often, this happens when the residents cannot defend themselves against the attackers. Some signs of this form of abuse include:
- Bruising or marks near the genitals or breasts
- Stained, bloody, or torn underwear
- Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
- Genital infections
- Vaginal or anal bleeding unrelated to a preexisting medical condition
Nursing home residents can also fall prey to financial abuse, especially if they entrust their financial matters to family and caregivers. Signs of financial abuse include:
- Unexplained changes in their finances
- Unaccounted withdrawals
- Missing cash
- Unusual payments
- Changes in power of attorney, life insurance, property titles, or wills
Many residents can fall victim to neglect. No matter the number of patients in a nursing home, no one should be left unattended in these facilities. These signs of neglect include:
- Leaving your loved one in unsafe, dirty, or substandard conditions
- Not bathed properly or at all
- Developing bed sores
- Experiencing unusual weight loss or dehydration
Why Nursing Home Abuse Happens
At the heart of nursing home abuse, there are usually issues with inadequate training, high staff turnover rates, and chronic understaffing.
Many nursing homes struggle with outdated equipment and antiquated training procedures. For instance, caregivers might not be trained to use new medical devices or to implement the latest care protocols, leading to substandard care and potential harm to residents.
High staff turnover rates can also lead to problems. When staff members constantly leave, and new ones are being hired, it can lead to a lack of continuity of care.
When there aren’t enough caregivers to attend to all residents, that leads to a stressful and overburdened work environment. As a result, caregivers may cut corners and compromise on delivering quality care.
No matter the reason, there is never an excuse for elder abuse. Every person has the right to be treated with dignity, respect, and proper care.
If you suspect that your loved one is in an abusive situation in a nursing home, there are legal steps you will want to take.
Your Legal Options
If you suspect nursing home abuse, you will want to seek legal help. A Bozeman nursing home abuse lawyer can help you understand your options.
Sometimes, the abuse is considered a criminal act. In those cases, the local law enforcement officials will investigate the instances and determine whether they will charge the individual.
While that can bring some justice, what about physical, emotional, and financial damages suffered by your loved one?
You may want to file a civil lawsuit against the nursing home or the specific caregiver suspected of abuse. Many times, you can seek compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Costs for continuing care, including rehabilitation and medication
- Funeral and burial costs if the abuse led to the resident’s passing
Not only can you recover damages, but you can hold the nursing home accountable and prevent future abuse.
We’re Here to Help with Your Case
When you discover that a family member is experiencing abuse in a nursing home, it can be an emotionally distress time for you and your family. Unfortunately, this occurs too frequently within assisted care facilities.
However, once you recognize the signs of abuse, you can take action to prevent further harm and bring these individuals to justice. When you reach out to a Bozeman nursing home abuse lawyer, they can help you determine the next legal steps for your situation.
At Western Justice Associates, PLLC, we understand the sensitive nature of these cases. Throughout the entire legal process, we will make you and your loved one our top priority.
No one should have to suffer with this type of treatment. Contact us today to find out how to bring these perpetrators to justice.