Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing homes and private care situations are no picnic for the elderly. Elder abuse is on the increase.
“There is nothing that makes people more uncomfortable and angry than to find out their senior relative has been abused in a care facility. Some families are lucky enough to catch it, report it and sue the facility. Others go undetected. In fact, statistics indicate that for every report they receive of elder abuse, there are five not reported. That is shocking,” insisted Michael Smith, an Arkansas injury lawyer and Arkansas accident lawyer, practicing personal injury law in Arkansas.
Abuse is virtually a catch-all term for a variety of types of abuse, ranging from physical to psychological abuse and from mental and emotional abuse to sexual abuse. Our seniors are in nursing care because they are unable to take care of themselves the way they once did, and instead of finding a loving, respectful haven where they are safe, they run into situations that would make anyone blanche with distaste and disgust.
Since when has it become acceptable to treat our elders with such disrespect? Since when has it become acceptable to put them at risk by neglecting them? “If it were not for the seniors who went before us, we would not have what we have today. We owe them a huge thank you, not abuse, neglect and a slow, painful death,” Smith said.
Frighteningly, seniors in care are becoming the de rigueur target of criminals and those who think abusing them is fun or something to fill their long hours at work. “I reported on one case recently in which two teens were sexually abusing Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. It was a joke for them. More recently, there have been reports about several workers at another care facility verbally abusing, pinching and slapping residents. Isolated incidents or the tip of the iceberg?” speculated Smith.
It very much looks like the number of elderly people abused in care is on the rise. “What we are seeing now is just the hint of the much deeper problem that runs rampant in care facilities – silent abuse that goes unreported for fear of the repercussions. Can you imagine living your life in fear of being beaten? Not many of us would put up with that now, but what do you do when you are in your 80s and frail? The options are slim to none,” added Smith.
Much of the abuse that goes unreported happens in the dead of night, when no one else is around to see or hear what is going on. Some very awful things take place behind closed doors at nursing homes and in private care homes. While many think a private care home is more personal and safer, this is not always the case. The fact is the elderly in private care homes are even more vulnerable than they are in a licensed facility.
Deprivation, beatings, medications being withheld, medical symptoms being ignored, chemical restraints and isolation are the stuff of horror movies, but they could be happening to senior relatives in care. No one deserves to live like that.
“Know what rights your loved one has, be up-to-date on the law, question what you do not understand, drop in unannounced, talk to other residents and other visitors while you are there. Get a good sense of the atmosphere in the home, and if your intuition tells you something is not right, do not shrug it off. Contact an experienced lawyer to look into the situation. You may save the life of not only your loved one, but someone else that needed help, but had no voice,” Smith encouraged.
Learn more by visiting http://www.Arkansaslawhelp.com
Michael Smith is an Arkansas injury lawyer and Arkansas accident lawyer, practicing personal injury law in Arkansas. Learn more by visiting
Nursing home abuse is more common than you think. More seniors need care and yet there are fewer resources to provide adequate services.
This is not a good sign of things to come. Nursing home abuse is on the rise across the nation and this is reflected in more abuse lawsuits filed every year. If we do not get a handle on this type of abuse, those of us who are reading about this now may well become victims on the receiving end later in life. That aside, no senior deserves to face abuse.
While it is difficult to get your head around the idea of people abusing an elderly person in their care, it happens. And, it does not just happen in nursing homes. It happens in private care homes and even assisted living complexes. Some signs of abuse are stunningly evident such as bruises, scratches, changes in behavior and bed sores. Other signs of abuse are not so obvious and the biggest one with the highest rates of deaths attached to it is dehydration.
Often, nursing home workers fail to recognize and subsequently treat a patient suffering from dehydration. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to dehydration and its presence often leads to more severe conditions. Mild dehydration is fairly subtle and not always easily identified, but workers are specially trained to detect this. The symptoms of mild dehydration may manifest themselves with headaches and dizziness.
If the patient is not treated at the early signs of dehydration, their body temperature starts to fluctuate, their immune system is not a strong as it should be and their blood pressure may become dangerously low. How do family members spot trouble like this? Take a close look at their eyes. They will appear to be sunken into their head and their usual character may be slightly off. There may also be signs of confusion.
Act immediately to remedy the situation and monitor your loved one after that. It is often a smart thing to keep a log of visits to the home and your observations when you are there in addition to what actions you took to advise the staff there was a problem. If there is no improvement, it is time to call an experienced Arkansas injury lawyer.
Nursing home abuse is often classified as medical malpractice, and an Arkansas injury lawyer can ensure that those who are responsible for the abuse are held accountable. It is a wakeup call for the facility and may help your elder receive the respectful and thoughtful care they deserve.
Michael G. Smith is anArkansas personal injury lawyer and Arkansas business dispute lawyer, practicing personal injury law and veteran’s benefits in Arkansas. Learn more by visiting Arkansaslawhelp.com
Abuse is not always evident to the families of those in nursing homes. It pays to be alert and monitor any family members in care.
“Nursing home abuse isn’t always something that family members see right away. It may be subtle things that aren’t immediately detected like pinching, slapping, shoving or hair pulling. In some cases, it may even involve punching residents in locations the family does not see on a regular basis,” said Michael Smith, an Arkansas injury lawyer.
Even though nursing homes are supposed to be places where a family member in need of care is treated with respect and dignity and provided with superior care, the reverse is often true. Nursing homes are jammed to the gunwales, short staffed, overworked, underpaid and overwhelmed with the demands of elderly people unable to care for themselves.
“Unfortunately, along with getting older, you sometimes get cognitive deficits, dementia, Alzheimer’s and other diseases that affect the mind, memory and coordination of your loved one. While you would hope they would get the care they deserve, they don’t always. These days, you pretty much need to be a detective and check on your senior in care very carefully. If at any time you suspect there is something going on, come straight to my office and discuss the matter. There is something we can do about it,” Smith said.
“If you are faced with placing a relative in care, check the home out yourself. Check their reputation. Have they been reported for violations? Have they been sued? Check to see if you can find anyone with a relative there and ask them about any experiences they may have had. Watch how the staff treats the residents. This isn’t a fun thing to do and chances are placing a relative is going to one of the hardest things you will ever do,” Smith said.
Nursing home abuse is a silent and often ugly problem that people want to tuck away out of the light of day. No one wants to know about it. No one wants to see it. No one wants to take responsibility for it and no one wants to admit to abusing another.
It is time that abuse like this was exposed. The way to do that is to discuss any suspicions about abuse with a competent and dedicated Arkansas injury lawyer. “If you want to get to the bottom of a matter relating to a relative you suspect is being abused, I am here to talk to you about your rights and about what we can do to stop it,” Smith said.
Learn more by visiting http://www.Arkansaslawhelp.com
Nursing homes are meant to be places of safety. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
“If you’re in the situation where you need to place a loved one in a nursing home, you want to know they will be safe, treated with respect and dignity and will be well cared for. The last thing you want to find out is that they are being abused. While you might not want to think about that, this does happen in a great number of nursing homes. Your loved one may be facing physical or emotional abuse on a daily basis. Are you aware of what is going on in the nursing home?” asked Michael Smith, an Arkansas injury lawyer.
Those who aren’t certain what is going on in a nursing home and whether or not their relative is indeed safe should watch for the sometimes-subtle warning signs. This is actually a very significant responsibility for those with family members in a home, as seniors are not throwaway people to be ignored and treated badly. They are people who deserve respect and protection. If they are not getting what they deserve, it’s crucial to consult with an Arkansas injury lawyer to put a stop to the abuse.
Physical abuse tops the list of atrocities that seniors may face every day; abuse that inflicts physical harm. This may involve slapping, hitting, pinching, shoving or other forms of direct physical contact. There is also a more subtle form of indirect abuse that may involve food deprivation or withholding needed medications. This kind of abuse virtually ensures long-term trauma for seniors who have to rely on the help of others while in the home.
“While it might seem obvious to say look for bruises, I don’t necessarily mean bruises on their hands and arms, although that is a common location. There may be bruising and welts in other locations as well. Be aware of their physical condition at all times, as any change may signal they are being abused. For instance, inner leg bruising may indicate sexual abuse. If you don’t know, don’t waste time arguing with management, contact a skilled personal injury lawyer and find out what can be done,” Smith said.
In some cases, abuse manifests itself as broken bones, sprains and dislocations in the hip area; usually a result of being shoved and pushed about by a caregiver. This causes hip dislocation and a possible fall. Shoulder injuries may also arise from rough handling.
“Look for broken glasses that may be a result of someone applying force to their face. Also be alert for rope marks on wrists, a sign of illegal restraint. The bottom line is, if the nursing home isn’t happy to have you visit your mom or dad or grandparents alone, be wary and alert,” Smith said.
Learn more by visiting http://www.Arkansaslawhelp.com
This type of abuse is not acceptable in any way, shape or form. Unfortunately, it happens far more often than we think.
Recent statistics dealing with nursing home abuse indicate that virtually 90 percent of all nursing homes in the U.S. – that bears repeating, 90 percent of ALL nursing homes in the U.S. – have been taken to task for violating federal safety and health standards. Think about that for a minute. What on earth are they thinking?
They are caring for our most precious loved ones in conditions that are unhealthy and unsafe. This should make you ask yourself whether or not it’s a good idea to admit your senior family members to a nursing home. It’s a fair enough question, and one that many people ask an Arkansas injury lawyer before their loved one is placed; largely to check if the home has been sued in the past for abuse and/or negligence.
At one time, privately owned nursing community homes were a great alternative. Today, 94 percent of them have been called on the carpet for the same violations as nursing homes. There is an epidemic of abuse and neglect, largely done in the name of the almighty dollar. It’s not that residents in these homes don’t have rights; they do, under the federal Nursing Home Reform Law (1987). It mandates that these facilities must promote and protect every resident’s rights. This obviously isn’t being done if you consider those awful statistics. Nursing home abuse is a crime – period.
Did you know that there were at least 14,000 nursing home deaths, due to neglect, from 1999 to 2002? You would have every right to think those numbers are even higher now. There are other numbers from the National Center on Elder Abuse that also show at least one resident in 20 becomes the target of abuse or negligence. Frankly, those numbers are probably higher. What is very disheartening is the further evidence that roughly 57 percent of nurses’ aides in long-term nursing homes either witnessed or took part in abusing a senior.
Right now, there are over 1.5 million people in our nation’s 15,000 nursing homes; statistics Arkansas injury lawyers work with when preparing a case of this nature. This is not just a number to be digested and tut-tutted over. This is a warning for those who will come next, that those facilities need to meet federal health and safety standards to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid.
This is important because those two health care programs cover at least two-thirds of nursing home patients and rack up a cost of $75 billion a year. Furthermore, if the basic health and safety standards are not being met, what does that portend for the residents regarding other personal care issues?
Nursing home abuse stalks the corridors of many long-term care homes and private facilities in the form of neglect, which may include the presence of bedsores, stiff joints, over medication to keep the patients quiet, disgusting personal hygiene, dramatic patient weight loss, physical abuse, withholding medical care and sexual abuse – yes, sexual abuse by staff and other patients. Approximately 10 percent or more of physical abuse cases involves sexual abuse.
Your loved one may not speak out for fear of retaliation, or may not be able to say anything due to physical or cognitive difficulties. Many seniors are unable to fend off sexual assaults. Watch for the following signs if you suspect sexual abuse: bruising in the breast area, upper abdomen or inner thighs, vaginal or anal bleeding, trouble walking or sitting, irritation or itching in the genital area or a sexually transmitted disease. If you see this, don’t think twice, head for the nearest Arkansas injury lawyer and discuss filing a lawsuit.
Nursing home abuse may be silent, but it does send out subtle signals. Be on the lookout for those signs.
Nursing home abuse is an abhorrent blight on society, and as a nation, we need to do something about it. If we don’t want to find ourselves in the same situation further down the road when we age, we need to take this bull by the horns.
“For those who have loved ones in nursing homes right now, you may want to keep your eyes open for signs that abuse is taking place. Often the signals are silent, because the family member is afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation, but if you spend time quietly observing what is going on, you will see a clear pattern of abuse if it is present,” explained Michael Smith, an Arkansas personal injury lawyer.
Things to be on the lookout for are bed sores, bruises and wounds, weight loss, verbal abuse, malnutrition, excessive medication and unsanitary conditions. Bed sores are caused because the patient has been lying in bed for too long without having any exercise. Wounds or unexplained bruises may be the result of inadequate assistance from the nursing staff. If the wounds are infected, that should immediately raise a red flag.
Any type of weight loss is usually associated with neglect or the onset of depression as a result of neglect. It may also indicate malnutrition. If the rooms and bathrooms at the home are not clean or are barely passable, this may indicate the home is understaffed and the patients are not getting the care they need. “If at any time you overhear insults or harmful comments, you will know there is a problem with the level of care your loved one may be receiving,” remarked Smith.
If there are a significant number of residents in the home that are over medicated so the staff’s job is easier, run to the nearest phone and call an Arkansas personal injury lawyer. This is called chemical restraint and it must not be allowed to happen.
“While it would help if you could ask your family member precisely what is going on, that isn’t always possible if they have dementia or don’t understand what you are asking them. Basically, your intuition is a good indicator of something being wrong. After all, you ‘know’ your family member, and if something changes for the worse, you know something isn’t right. This is the time to give me a call and we will discuss what is happening,” added Smith.
Learn more by visiting http://www.Arkansaslawhelp.com
Nursing home abuse takes on many forms, and in this case, caused a resident to lose a finger.
They say that truth is stranger than fiction, and that seems to be the case in this nursing home abuse story that took place recently in New York. The incident started when an elderly gentleman fell while he was in the nursing home. Over the course of 12 days, the right ring finger developed gangrene and was amputated.
The disturbing thing about this case is that he fell in the first place, as he was assessed at high risk for falls when he was admitted. Evidently he was not monitored that well. The second thing is that it took 12 days for the nursing staff to notice that anything was wrong with his hand. Add to that oversight the fact no one on the nursing staff even wrote his accident in his patient chart. Wait, there’s more. As an Arkansas personal injury lawyer, this case really disturbed me.
Even when his swollen finger had been noticed, the nurse’s “still” didn’t enter that information in his chart. The man had to have it amputated when the staff finally figured out the finger tissue was dead. This is just a horrendous example of neglect and negligence. Did the family file a lawsuit? You bet they did.
The complaint said the nursing home failed to give proper or adequate supervision for the man and failed to notice or treat his finger injury in a timely manner. The bottom line here is that when a nursing home doesn’t provide proper supervision, especially for high risk fall patients, this can and does often lead to abuse and other instances of neglect. The nursing home’s job is to monitor its residents, treat injuries, and provide adequate care and supervision. If this man’s initial injury had been taken care of right away, he would not have lost his finger.
When we place our elders in a nursing home, we don’t expect they will be neglected or abused. We expect they would get the proper care and attention they need and deserve. Over the last few years, nursing home abuse has become a national concern. None of the things our elders are subjected to in some nursing homes is acceptable under any circumstances.
If you suspect nursing home abuse, call a skilled Arkansas personal injury lawyer and get to the bottom of the situation. Someone has to put a stop to this kind of despicable behavior. Stopping elder abuse in its tracks starts with us.
Michael G. Smith is anArkansas personal injury lawyer and Arkansas accident lawyer, practicing personal injury law in Arkansas. Learn more by visiting Arkansaslawhelp.com
If a senior isn’t able to speak, their chances for being abused increase dramatically. Elder abuse has many ugly faces.
Elder abuse is rampant these days and the reasons are totally inexplicable. What possible reason could anyone have to harm a senior, especially one who is disabled mentally or physically? So few seniors these days have “nest eggs” like they once did, that it defies all logic to think that by harming an elderly person, someone will make a profit from their misdeeds. That leaves abuse for the pure sake of abuse; a blood curdling thought in a society that supposedly prides itself on being civilized, up-to-date and abhors violence.
One recent case we heard about brought home a very ugly new twist to the kinds of abuse senior’s face. The victim was a 71-year-old woman who had suffered a stroke and could not talk. Her family made it a regular habit to always visit their mom every week. They took turns going with their families and taking the grandkids. For the first while, even though their mom could not talk, things seemed to be going fairly well. The kids were happy with their choice of nursing home.
“Over time, something dark and ugly started to creep into the picture. The children began to notice their mother had unexplained bruises on her body. They saw this too often to not begin to suspect there was something nasty afoot in the nursing home,” said Michael G. Smith an Arkansas injury lawyer. They complained to management who said they would look into it, but never did. Things seemed to go well for another period of time until the bruises were far to frequent to ignore.
“The family took the initiative to set up a hidden video camera on their mom’s side table in her room. The camera filmed an employee slapping their mom around, pulling her by the hair, bending her neck, fingers and wrists and violently handling her while she was in a shower chair,” outline Smith. “The worker was criminally charged and pleaded no contest. The courts awarded the family $7.75 million: $2.75 million in actual damages and $5 million in punitive damages,” he added.
If elder abuse is suspected, do not wait to speak to an Arkansas personal injury lawyer and find out what can be done to stop the violence. Elder abuse is a crime that needs to be stamped out so that it is not perpetuated in nursing homes in our nation. There is no rhyme or reason for this kind of behavior, no excuse, no good reason.
Violence is not acceptable when it comes to dealing with elderly people in nursing homes, whether they are able to speak or not. The fact that abuse is perpetrated on stroke victims is sickening. Only an experienced Arkansas personal injury lawyer will be able to file a case that will get justice for the senior whose life is a prison of blows and other rough treatment.
Learn more by visiting http://www.Arkansaslawhelp.com
Abuse of the elderly is unfortunately all too common in this day and age. There is nothing that sparks such outrage than stories in the media of seniors being financially, emotionally, mentally or physically abused.
While it may be inevitable that your elders will need to spend time in a nursing home, you are placing them there for their care and safety. You are not taking them out of their familiar environment and much loved routines to be abused, neglected and taken advantage of in some of the worst ways we could possibly imagine. Sadly, this kind of abuse takes place more often than we’d like to think. It is horrendous, defies description and is just plain wrong. If you think your senior loved one is being subjected to abuse, immediately call a Little Rock personal injury lawyer.
Our seniors are entitled to be treated with dignity, respect and deference. Many of our seniors fought in wars that gave us what we so blindly take for granted today – the freedom to be who we are and do what we do. These people were injured on our behalf, lost family members fighting to give us this precious freedom, and are now in need of our help and care in a nursing home.
Nursing home abuse is way too common and it has to stop. People must speak up and out about it. Every senior in a nursing home has family that loves and cares for them and only wants to ensure they are safe. If the family suspects something is wrong, that their elderly family member is being abused, hit, shoved, kicked, shaken, pinched or burned, they need to speak to a skilled Little Rock personal injury lawyer. While these examples mostly deal with physical abuse, there are other insidious forms of abuse that are known to stalk the halls of nursing homes.
Some of the other forms of abuse that attorneys tend to see and hear about are the inappropriate use of chemicals/drugs as a form of restraint or retribution; the use of tie downs or straightjackets; and other monitoring devices being used as punishment. In some cases, seniors have been left for long periods of time physically restrained and unable to move until someone came to free them. Force feeding someone who is unable to eat without assistance is abominable and definitely a form of abuse, as is pushing elderly patients to perform bodily functions that are difficult for them.
Perhaps the most despicable form of abuse in a nursing home is sexual abuse. While it sounds awful, unfortunately there have been cases of this happening. It’s very difficult for elderly people to be able to effectively resist someone forcing themselves on them. Very plainly, without putting a fine point on it, this is “wrong.” Non-consensual sexual contact is abuse and so is having sex with someone who isn’t able to give their consent to the act. Sexual abuse can take the form of assault, sodomy, rape, improper touching, nudity and even the resident being harassed into posing for sexual or nude pictures.
If sexual abuse isn’t enough, there have also been cases of mental and emotional abuse. Consider how hard it is for seniors to have to rely solely on others for assistance performing their daily living tasks. This causes a great deal of embarrassment for many seniors who used to be independent. The shame they feel at not being able to do basic tasks is something that some nursing home workers will exploit to their own advantage.
The list of other abuses is too long to cover in this article, so we highly recommend that if you feel your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse, do the right thing and contact a Little Rock personal injury lawyer immediately. The longer the abuse is ignored, the more people who will be affected by it. Speaking up on behalf of your senior will make a big difference in how the other residents in a nursing home are treated. Know your rights and what to do about nursing home abuse.
Michael G. Smith is a Little Rock injury lawyer and Little Rock accident lawyer, practicing personal injury law in Little Rock Arkansas. To learn more about Little Rock injury lawyer, Little Rock accident lawyer, Little Rock person injury lawyer, Little Rock malpractice lawyer, Little Rock injury attorney, Little Rock wrongful death attorney, visit Arkansaslawhelp.com.
Knowing that we live longer now thanks to the marvels of modern science, we should be made aware that if we do go into a nursing home, there may be problems.
It’s a well-known fact that we are now living longer lives. In fact there are now at least 1.7 million Americans in long-term care. In some cases, this is a real joy and a much-appreciated event. In others, especially if we or a loved one is placed into a long-term care home or nursing home, this is not always the experience that we anticipated it to be.
To say that nursing homes and long-term care facilities experienced an enormous boom in business is a serious understatement. Think about this as well when the future of our lives is being contemplated. “Virtually one quarter of the population today, and that may include those who are reading this release, may need to receive long-term care in a facility,” said Arkansas super lawyer Michael G. Smith of Little Rock.
Just because medical science has advanced and allows us to live longer does not mean that nursing homes and long-term care facilities have kept pace with the prevailing opinion on how people, particularly our elders, should be treated. One would think with the advent of more nursing homes being built that the new facilities would be a significant step up in care for our seniors. Such is not always the case. “Nursing home abuse and negligence is far more prevalent than we would like to believe,” added Smith.
“The most disturbing thing about this type of abuse is that while the government is aware of it, thanks to studies they have conducted in this area, nothing much seems to be done to resolve the issue. This state of affairs is not only shocking; it is discouraging, because our seniors should be treated with dignity and respect,” added Smith.
Those federal government studies actually came to the conclusion that roughly 30% of all nursing home facilities perpetrate some from of medical malpractice and that includes mental and physical abuse and other forms of psychological harm. “Cited in those studies were the most common forms of abuse. Some of them were patient dehydration, malnutrition, infections left untreated, pressure sores, bedsores, medication errors, slip and fall accidents, and untreated pain,” explained Arkansas super lawyer Michael G. Smith of Little Rock.
If a loved one is being mistreated while in care, it needs to be reported immediately to the administrator. File a complaint with the department in your state that regulates nursing homes and immediately call a qualified nursing home abuse attorney.
To learn more about Little Rock injury lawyer, Little Rock accident lawyer, Little Rock person injury lawyer,Little Rock malpractice lawyer, Little Rock injury attorney, Little Rock wrongful death attorney, visitArkansaslawhelp.com.
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