When you suspect that your loved one is being abused in their nursing home, uncertainty is one of your biggest obstacles. Chances are good that you are asking yourself several questions, and the longer you wait to find answers, the longer your loved one sits in a potentially dangerous facility.
As a law firm that helps nursing home abuse victims and their families get justice, one of our priorities is educating the public about the prevalence and threat of nursing home abuse and neglect.
We often hear questions from people who worry about the health and safety of family members in nursing homes. Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about nursing home abuse we’ve heard from clients:
“How common is nursing home abuse?”
The sad truth is that we don’t know how common nursing abuse really is in the U.S.
Studies suggest that one in 10 elderly people are abused every year, but researchers admit that abuse is greatly underreported, so the actual number could be much higher.
The more vulnerable an elderly person is, the more likely they are to be abused. So, the rate of abuse could be higher in nursing homes—where residents are often disabled—than it is for the general elderly population. However, more research is needed to fully understand the scope of the problem.
“Who in the nursing home is abusing my loved one?”
In some cases, staff members abuse elderly residents, but one of the most common sources of abuse in nursing homes is other residents. Abuse can come in many forms, including physical assaults, verbal abuse, and even theft. Regardless of who perpetrates the abuse, the nursing home is responsible for keeping residents safe.
“Is neglect the same thing as abuse?”
Neglect is often considered a form of abuse. The consequences of neglecting an elderly nursing home resident include malnutrition, dehydration, bedsores, falls, poor hygiene, and mental health issues. In other words, the effects of neglect and abuse are very similar.
“Can I file a lawsuit against a nursing home?”
Yes. You can file a lawsuit on behalf of your loved one for the harm they’ve suffered in a nursing home. These lawsuits give you and your loved one the opportunity to get compensation for the costs of their damages, including medical expenses, pain, and suffering.
“Can I file a lawsuit even after signing an arbitration agreement?”
If you signed an arbitration agreement with a nursing home, you still have legal options available. In many cases, a lawsuit is still possible. It’s important to understand that some attorneys turn away cases involving arbitration, but that does not mean you have nowhere to turn.
Sawyer Law Firm is one of the few firms in Alabama that accepts cases involving arbitration. Never give up hope simply because an arbitration agreement was signed with a nursing home.
“What are common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect?”
Signs of physical abuse to nursing home residents include bruises, fractures, and cuts, as well as unexplained or poorly explained “falls” and other injuries.
Warning signs of emotional abuse include personality changes, mood swings, depression, anxiety, and fear of staff or other residents.
Signs of neglect in nursing homes include malnutrition, dehydration, poor hygiene, bedsores, infections, depression, and loss of physical mobility.
“What Should I Do If My Loved One Is Being Abused in Their Nursing Home?”
First, try to communicate with your loved one in private. Ask them if they need help. Often, residents are reluctant or unable to articulate the abuse they’ve suffered. If you have immediate concerns over the safety of your loved one, you can call the local police, the Alabama Department of Public Health, or an attorney to explore legal action.
A lawsuit is one of the best tools available to hold a negligent nursing home accountable for the harm a resident suffers. Through a lawsuit, you demand the compensation your loved one deserves, and you might prevent further abuses to other nursing home residents.
If You Have More Questions, Contact Sawyer Law Firm
We hope the above information answers some of the questions you might have about nursing home abuse and neglect. However, if you’re concerned about the safety of your loved one, you likely have more specific questions you need to be answered quickly.
At Sawyer Law Firm, we’ve built a reputation as one of the leading nursing home abuse law firms in Alabama. We’re one of the few firms known for taking cases involving arbitration. J.P. Sawyer is committed to helping nursing home abuse victims and their loved ones seek justice.
If you’d like to speak to our firm about your case, contact us for a free, confidential consultation. We’ll review your case and help you explore your available options.