Indianapolis Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
When you leave your loved one in the care of a nursing home, you expect that they will be well-cared for and treated with respect. While plenty of facilities have staff that will give your loved one the care they need, abuse in nursing homes happens more often than you might think.
If you suspect a loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home or other assisted care facility, you must act right away to get them the help that they need. You should not be left feeling powerless. A nursing home abuse law firm can help.
At Crossen Law Firm, our nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers are dedicated to advocating for those suffering in nursing homes. We understand how devastating and traumatic these situations can be and are here to help you and your loved one hold the right parties accountable and get the compensation you deserve for your suffering.
If you suspect your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse, contact a skilled nursing home abuse lawyer right away at (317) 401-8626.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
The government defines elder abuse as “any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.” And according to the World Health Organization, around 1 in 6 elders experience some form of abuse in community settings.
Often, elder abuse occurs in group care or nursing home facilities where it is much easier to take advantage of weak, easily confused, and even ill elderly adults. Staff at these facilities abuse their positions of power over the elderly residents, which can lead to long-term emotional, psychological, and physical harm.
In some cases, abuse and neglect happen when facilities are understaffed or when staff are under-trained. It could also be the result of poor management and improper facility supervision. However, it can also happen when facilities hire people they don’t realize have bad or malicious intentions.
No matter what leads to or causes the abuse and neglect, however, there are no excuses. These facilities have a duty to protect and care for your loved one, and if they fail to uphold that duty, they can be held accountable. If you suspect something is wrong, contact a nursing home neglect lawyer right away.
What are Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Depending on what kind of abuse is occurring, the signs might not always be immediately apparent. As such, it’s important to understand what to look for to help you determine whether or not your loved one is being well-cared for.
The following are some common signs that a loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home facility:
- An increase in the appearance of bruises
- Injuries, such as cuts, broken bones, and even burns that have gone unreported by the nursing home
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Unexplained STIs
- Poor personal hygiene
- Dirty bedding and clothes or a generally messy room
- Unusual changes in behavior
- Aggressive or violent outbursts
- Being more quiet or withdrawn than usual
- Suicidal actions or thoughts
- Changes to financial documents or other personal estate documents
- Unexplained charges or missing money in their account
- Increased anxious behaviors
- Unexplained weight loss
- Lack of appetite
- Showing fear or anxiety around certain staff members
- Bed sores
- Missing personal belongings
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
While the term “abuse” is most often associated with physical injury, there are many different kinds of abuse that a person can experience in a nursing home.
Physical nursing home abuse is typically the most obvious because it can lead to more physically obvious signs, such as bruising, cuts, burns, fractures, and other injuries. This kind of abuse occurs when staff is physically aggressive with residents, such as hitting or punching them. It can also include staff being rougher when providing care, such as pulling too hard on arms, hands, legs, wrists, or feet.
Emotional or Psychological
Emotional abuse is non-physical and verbal. Though this type of abuse might not always leave behind physical evidence, it can be even more damaging to a person’s mental health and well-being than physical abuse. Emotional abuse in nursing homes can include yelling, making crude remarks, bullying, belittling, harassment, making threats, and even purposely isolating residents and not communicating with them or allowing them to socialize.
Unfortunately, sexual abuse does occur in nursing home settings. As many nursing home residents are weak and vulnerable, they are often sexually abused by staff members. This includes any form of non-consensual sexual contact, such as unwanted touching, groping, or fondling, but it can include penetrating sexual abuse as well.
Neglect occurs in nursing homes when residents are not provided the basic care they need, which can lead to numerous health issues such as bedsores, infections, malnutrition, and dehydration. Examples of nursing home neglect can include withholding food, drink, and medication, not changing bed sheets or clothes, purposely neglecting to check on residents, leaving them isolated, and generally not administering the care needed.
Another form of nursing home abuse that is harder to detect is financial abuse or exploitation. It’s not uncommon for people to purposely seek out jobs at these kinds of facilities, knowing it is easier to take advantage of elderly individuals and their finances. Some staff might not intend to financially exploit residents but might end up deciding to do so because they aren’t being paid well enough. Financial exploitation can include stealing money or personal belongings from residents, stealing their identity, coercing residents into giving up money, or even coercing residents into changing their will or power of attorney.
What Rights Do Nursing Home Residents Have?
In 1987, the Nursing Home Reform Law was enacted, which requires nursing home facilities to care for residents in a manner that promotes quality of life, and ensures each resident is respected.
At a minimum, Federal Law specifies that nursing home residents have the following rights:
- To be treated with respect
- To participate in activities
- To be free from discrimination
- To be free from abuse and neglect
- To be free from restraints
- Free to make complaints
- The right to proper medical care
- The right to manage their own money
- The right to have representatives notified of certain situations, such as notifying a doctor or family member of medical issues
- The right to have proper privacy, property, and living arrangements
- The right to spend time with visitors
- Access to social services
- Protection against unfair transfer or discharge
- The right to leave the nursing home (visits, moving out, etc.)
- The right to form or participate in resident groups
What Steps You Can Take If You Suspect Someone is Experiencing Nursing Home Abuse
If you suspect a loved one is being abused or neglected in an Indiana nursing home, it is crucial that you take certain steps to ensure their safety and well-being. These steps include:
- Informing nursing home management: The moment you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected, you should inform the nursing home in writing of your concerns.
- Contacting a local ombudsman: The Indiana Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is dedicated to advocating for the rights of nursing home residents. If you suspect an issue, you can contact the program, and a local ombudsman can review and investigate your complaints.
- Reporting suspected abuse to local law enforcement: Anyone who suspects abuse or neglect is legally required to report such information to local law enforcement. You can also report your concerns to Indiana Adult Protective Services.
- Contacting a local nursing home abuse lawyer: Discovering that a loved one is being abused and knowing what to do about it can be overwhelming. At Crossen Law Firm, we can help you navigate this trying time and walk you through all the steps you need to take to ensure the safety of your loved one. Our nursing home abuse lawyers can also help you file an official claim and ensure you and your loved one are fairly compensated for the pain and suffering you have experienced.
Proving Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Nursing home abuse and neglect cases fall into the category of negligence. Thus, to legally prove and win your case, you must be able to show that the nursing home or its staff acted negligently.
To do this, you must be able to prove the following four things:
- That the nursing home had a legal obligation to care for your loved one, otherwise known as a duty of care.
- That the nursing home violated its duty of care in some way by acting negligently.
- That the nursing home’s negligence was the direct cause of the injuries or harm suffered by your loved one.
- That your loved one suffered damages as a result of the negligence.
How an Indiana Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Can Help
Nursing home abuse lawyers do more than simply represent clients in court. When you first suspect that your loved one is being abused, there are several things you will need to do to ensure the best possible outcome and a lawyer can help you with these steps.
Services that a nursing home abuse lawyer can provide include:
- Advocating for your rights and the rights of your abused loved one.
- Conducting an investigation to gather evidence and determine who or what was causing the neglect and/or abuse.
- Filing a civil claim to help you seek compensation for the damages suffered, such as physical pain, emotional distress, financial exploitation, medical expenses, and more.
- Help you file a wrongful death lawsuit if the nursing home abuse or neglect leads to the death of your loved one.
Explore Your Legal Options With an Indianapolis Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Discussing your case with an experienced Indiana nursing home abuse lawyer can help you during this trying time. At Crossen Law Firm, our team will fight tirelessly on your behalf and the behalf of your loved one to help you get what you are owed. You will not owe us anything unless we win your case.
Make the right call. Call Crossen Law Firm at (317) 401-8626 or contact our firm online.