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Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys

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For many of our elderly loved ones, the idea of having to leave their home to enter a nursing home facility is met with anxiety and sadness. We hope that once they get there, they see the opportunities for socialization and around-the-clockNursing Home Abuse Attorneys care they may not otherwise get at home.

Unfortunately, for many, that fear is warranted, with nursing home neglect occurring far more often than it should. Nursing home residents need someone they can depend on to advocate when they feel voiceless. This is where Munley Law comes in. Our nursing home negligence lawyers have represented personal injury victims for over 60 years and will put that experience to work for your loved one.

Call today for a no-obligation, free consultation.

What is Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing home abuse occurs when nursing home staff or other employees of a long-term care facility mistreat residents, causing them harm.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) one in six people 60 years and older have been abused in a community care setting over the last year, with two out of three living facility staff admitting to elder abuse.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, elder abuse rates have been on the rise, and as our population continues to age, placing more of these individuals into a nursing facility, those numbers are only expected to increase.

The Types of Nursing Home Abuse

Common forms of nursing home neglect and abuse include physical abuse, mental and emotional abuse, sexual abuse, inadequate medical care, malnutrition and dehydration, restraint abuse, wandering and elopement, and financial abuse.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse occurs when a caretaker uses intentional force to harm an individual. Physical violence against the elderly is one of the most common forms of negligence in nursing home facilities. Examples of physical harm include:

  • Hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, shaking, kicking or punching a resident
  • Buring a resident
  • Forcing food or liquids into a resident
  • Utilizing unnecessary restraints, either physical or medication
  • Hurrying the residents by showing or shoving them along
  • Pulling a victim's hair or scratching them

Elderly victims of physical violence are more likely to suffer serious injury due to their fragile state and inability to recover as quickly.

Mental and Emotional Abuse

Nursing Home Abuse AttorneysFor many elderly, the idea of no longer being able to care for oneself can feel degrading. But when we place our elderly loved ones in an assisted living facility, we hope they'll be treated with the kindness, compassion, and dignity they deserve. Unfortunately, many nursing home residents face mental and emotional abuse at the hands of their caretakers.

Mental abuse is also known as emotional abuse or psychological abuse and is any intentional act meant to instill mental anguish, fear, or humiliation.

Mental abuse can include verbal abuse like degrading comments and threats where the resident is made to feel less than about their situation and, in turn, is threatened with punishment.

Mental abuse also includes emotional threats and manipulation. In these scenarios, the resident may feel unable to ask for help or is placed in a position where they cannot speak out about the harm they are enduring.

Lastly, some residents may face isolation. This occurs when a caretaker ignores a resident or purposely isolates them from others, including family members.

Sexual Abuse

Unfortunately, nursing home sexual abuse is a common occurrence as the physical fragility and compromised mental capacity of some residents make them easy targets for predators. Sexual abuse is any unwanted sexual activity or conduct by a caretaker, another resident, someone visiting the facility, or a family member.

Sexual abuse or sexual assault by a caretaker often occurs due to inadequate background checks by the assisted living facility.

Any form of non-consensual sexual conduct is considered sex abuse.

Inadequate Medical Care

When nursing home facilities are understaffed and overpopulated, residents suffer. And these residents are not getting the medical attention they need. Inadequate training to recognize these common ailments would save residents from preventable pain and suffering. Common injuries faced in care facilities include:

  • Bedsores: Pressure sores, pressure ulcers, or decubitus ulcers can be very serious if left untreated. They often result from excess moisture on the skin from soiled diapers and wet sheets. They can also occur due to immobility and not being moved around enough. In some cases, malnutrition and dehydration can increase the likelihood of bedsores.
  • Medication errors: Staff members are entrusted to provide residents with the correct medication. However, when caregivers fail to provide the medications these residents need, the results can be fatal.
  • Poor hygiene: Regular baths, showers, etc., are critical to the well-being of any person, but especially our elderly. But these tasks can go undone when they depend on health care workers to aid them in their hygiene practices. Poor hygiene can lead to skin infections and mental anguish for the resident.

Malnutrition and Dehydration

Malnutrition and dehydration may occur in conjunction with another form of abuse or on its own. Malnutrition occursNursing Home Abuse Attorneys when residents are not given enough to eat due to a lack of staffing to help residents eat, not paying attention to who needs assistance eating, or relying on supplements instead of providing nutritious meals.

Dehydration occurs when a person's fluid output is greater than their input. This can occur for similar reasons as malnutrition and can quickly become life-threatening. Dehydration is one of the leading causes of emergency room visits for the elderly.

Restraint Use Abuse

In Pennsylvania, a physician must order physical or chemical restraints on a patient in skilled nursing facilities. However, the use must be warranted, such as for the protection of the resident or for a worker if the resident is at risk to themselves and others.

However, when drugs are administered to sedate a patient without cause or a patient is restrained to a bed, this can be a sign of mistreatment.

Wandering and Elopement

Under the law, nursing home facilities must have safeguards to stop residents from wandering out of the facility or eloping. While you cannot necessarily stop a resident from being a wandering and elopement risk, it becomes neglect when the resident is left unsupervised and wanders away.

There is a difference between wandering and elopement, though. Wandering involves moving about the care facility with the potential of being in harm's way. Elopement occurs when the resident has left the premises without anyone knowing and does not have the cognitive ability to recognize the harm they may face.

According to the American Assisted Living Nursing Association, roughly 80 percent of elopements occur among persistent wanderers, and 45 percent occur within 48 hours of being admitted into a new residence or facility.

Financial Abuse

Nursing home financial abuse occurs when the resident's money, belongings, assets, etc., are used for someone else's gain. This can occur with or without the resident's knowledge. Financial abuse is more likely to be done by someone close to the elderly person, which can be a family member, friend, or caretaker who is aware of the resident's financial status.

Financial abuse can start as emotional manipulation.

What are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?

Physical signs of abuse in nursing homes can vary depending on the types of abuse taking place. Common signs of neglect include:

  • Unexplained injuries like broken bones, bruises, etc.
  • Emotional distress
  • Lack of personal hygiene, including dirty clothes, unkept appearance, etc.
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Bedsores
  • Severe distress
  • Disinterest in daily activities
  • Fear
  • Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
  • Bleeding, burns, cuts, lacerations, etc.
  • Frequent slips and falls
  • Unexpected death

While some elderly individuals may be more susceptible to illness and injury, it can quickly become apparent when something or someone is harming your loved one intentionally. If you suspect nursing home abuse, call a lawyer immediately.

What To Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

If you believe your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, there are steps you must take to preserve their health and protect them from future harm.

The first is to call 911 if the person is in immediate danger. Further, if sexual abuse is occurring, contact the authorities to report the assault and abuse. Contact the nursing home administrator or management if the danger is not immediate. Be sure to mention what you've observed to make you believe neglect is occurring and ask for an investigation to begin.

You can also directly file a with your local Ombudsman's office.

Lastly, contact a nursing home negligence attorney. A nursing home attorney can guide you through filing a complaint and taking legal action to protect your loved one.

Why Choose Munley Law Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers?

Finding the right nursing home abuse attorney for your case can be a challenge. Not all personal injury law firms are equipped to handle elder abuse and nursing home abuse cases.

However, the Munley Law firm is. Our legal team has experience in recognizing the signs of nursing home negligence and has helped victims and their families file nursing home abuse lawsuits and wrongful death cases.

With an experienced attorney from Munley Law, you can rest assured knowing your case is being handled with the dedication, care, and compassion it requires.

With our elder abuse attorneys, we will:

Investigate your and determine what types of nursing home neglect are occurring.

Collect evidence yo show that the negligent facility has caused your loved one harm and is not a safe environment.

Calculate the value of your nursing home abuse lawsuit, ensuring you get the compensation needed for medical bills, stolen property, pain and suffering, etc. If the abuse causes your loved one to pass, we can also put forth a wrongful death claim for your losses.

Handle negotiations. The nursing home has its own legal counsel and insurance agents who will be ready to settle your claim quickly to keep the allegations under wraps. But that doesn't mean they'll offer you a fair settlement. Our lawyers will negotiate to get the compensation your loved one needs.

Represent you and your loved one in court. Chances are, you are handling the lawsuit for your elderly victim of abuse. This may mean you don't have the time to put into litigation–but we do. We'll stand up for you and beside you to bring justice to your family.

Abuse in nursing homes is an unfortunate reality, especially in today's world. But that doesn't mean your loved one has to be defenseless. Our dedicated lawyers will take legal action against the facility to ensure your loved one is protected and cared for in the way they deserve.

For a no-obligation, free consultation, contact the personal injury attorneys of Munley Law.

What federal laws protect nursing home residents' rights?

The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law guarantees residents' rights and requires nursing homes to “promote and protect the rights of each resident.”

Long-term care facilities must meet the federal requirements under the law to participate in Medicare and Medicaid.

The following are the rights recognized under the law:

  • Guarantee Quality of Life
  • Right to be Fully Informed
  • Right to Complain
  • Right to Participate in One's Own Care
  • Right to Privacy and Confidentiality
  • Rights During Transfers and Discharges
  • Right to Dignity, Respect, and Freedom
  • Right to Visits
  • Right to Make Independent Choices

Further, residents have a right to:

  • Be free from discrimination
  • Participate in activities
  • Be free from abuse and neglect
  • Have a representative notified
  • Manage your own finances
  • Get social services

Each state may also have additional resident rights to protect an elderly person from harm while in the care of a facility.

What is an ombudsman in a nursing home abuse case?

An ombudsman is an individual who works to resolve the complaints and issues residents experience in assisted living facilities. These individuals are trained to handle common types of nursing home abuse complaints and are there to support victims of nursing home negligence as they determine the next steps to take.

Is nursing home abuse a crime?

Elder abuse is a crime, and in turn, abuse within a care facility enacted by nursing home employees, family members, etc., is also a crime.

Who can file a nursing home abuse lawsuit?

Elderly residents who are victims of abuse can file a lawsuit on their own behalf should they be cognitively able to do so. However, most nursing home lawsuits are brought forth by family members or their power of attorney.

If you want to take legal action on behalf of a loved one, contact Munley Law.

Contact an Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

Nursing Home Abuse AttorneysIf you suspect a loved one is being abused in a long-term care facility, the Munley Law personal injury attorneys are here for you. We have handled some of the most common types of nursing home negligence and have secured thousands of dollars in settlements and verdicts for medical bills, mental anguish, and pain and suffering for elderly victims who did not receive the standard of care they deserve.

When you see your loved one with unexplained physical injuries or a change in their mental status, you need answers. Munley Law can help.

Call today for a no-obligation, free consultation.

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