Many families in Arkansas trust a nursing home to care for an elderly loved one. Most nursing homes provide excellent care, but some do not. If you suspect a loved one is being abused or neglected in an Arkansas nursing home, let a Little Rock nursing home abuse attorney help.
What constitutes nursing home abuse? What are its causes, and how can family members spot it? How does the law in Arkansas address nursing home abuse? And most importantly, how can you put a stop to nursing home abuse and protect a beloved family member?
These questions will be answered in this brief discussion of nursing home abuse in Arkansas, and you will learn more about your family’s legal rights if your loved one has become a nursing home abuse victim in this state.
Even if none of your family members are residents of a nursing home right now, you’ll want to keep reading, because no one can know what tomorrow may bring, but every family needs to be prepared.
What Should Families Know About Nursing Home Abuse?
Elder abuse is a tragedy – and a rising concern – in Arkansas and across the nation. Abuse and neglect are frequently linked to a nursing home resident’s malnutrition, dehydration, or deteriorating medical condition.
And in too many instances, residents at nursing homes in Arkansas have been victims of physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse. Nursing home residents are increasingly also the victims of financial exploitation crimes such as forgery and theft.
At some nursing homes, the staff is overworked, underpaid, and undertrained. When nursing home owners don’t spend enough on hiring, training, and wages, abuse and neglect are a predictable result.
What Is the Root Cause of Most Nursing Home Abuse?
Every business has a right to make profits, but a nursing home’s profits should not be more important than the well-being of the residents. A root cause of neglect and abuse at Arkansas nursing homes is the aversion of some of the owners to paying for adequate training and staffing.
Over time, negligence or abuse at a nursing home may produce the slow decline of a resident’s health or even lead to a case of wrongful death. The law entitles victims to monetary compensation when abuse at a nursing home causes an injury or damages a resident’s health.
If your elderly or disabled family member resides at an Arkansas nursing home, become acquainted with the facility’s staff, make frequent surprise visits, and stay vigilant for any signs of mistreatment, negligence, or abuse.
How Can You Spot Abuse at a Nursing Home?
Your elderly relative may find it hard to talk about neglect or abuse. Shame or embarrassment is often a consequence of abuse. It may also be difficult to discuss abuse if your family member suffers from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, or some other serious psychological condition.
Even at highly-rated nursing homes, family members should always be watchful for signs of abuse or neglect. What are those signs? They include bedsores, cuts, bruises, thirst, hunger, an abrupt weight loss, deficient hygiene, and attitudinal changes like depression or withdrawal.
Bedsores almost always indicate neglect at a nursing home. Bedsores develop when pressure diminishes the blood flow to a location on the skin and the adjacent tissue dies. Simply by regularly turning patients over in their beds, bedsores can be prevented.
Candidly speaking, a failure to provide this basic, routine care is unacceptable. Bedsores can be a sign that negligence is pervasive at a nursing home. A further indication of neglect is poor dental care. If you select a nursing home facility for a loved one, ask what dental care will be provided.
What Constitutes Financial Exploitation?
In some cases, employees at nursing homes have exploited residents for financial gain. Financial exploitation by a nursing home employee might include:
forgery of a resident’s signature
theft of a resident’s jewelry, cash, valuables, or personal items
misleading or bullying a resident into signing a contract, a will, or a check
cashing a resident’s checks without authorization
Should you find a clear sign of abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect, or if you’re convinced that abuse or neglect is occurring at the nursing home where your family member resides, schedule a consultation, without cost or obligation, with a Little Rock personal injury attorney.
Should You Sue the Nursing Home?
Federal and state laws regulate nursing homes in Arkansas, and minimum standards for nursing homes are established by the Federal Medicare Health Insurance Program for the Aged. Nursing home neglect and abuse victims are legally entitled to relief.
Nursing homes in Arkansas have liability – legal responsibility – for the well-being and safety of residents. When residents are isolated, neglected, or placed at risk, those residents and their families may sue the nursing home’s owner and the employees who were negligent or abusive.
Most Arkansas nursing homes are professionally managed and remarkably well-maintained, so there’s no reason residents should ever receive anything but quality care. If you sue a nursing home for abuse, it not only stops the abuse, but it also helps prevent such incidents in the future.
If your elderly family member is a victim of abuse at a nursing home in Arkansas – or should you strongly suspect abuse, but you aren’t sure – take your concerns immediately to a Little Rock nursing home abuse attorney.
How Will the Right Attorney Help You?
If you know or suspect that an elderly loved one is a nursing home abuse victim, a Little Rock nursing home abuse lawyer will explain your loved one’s right to compensation, investigate your concerns, and take the appropriate action on your family’s behalf.
If your family member has been assaulted or robbed, your attorney may involve the police or the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, which investigates and prosecutes violations of state and federal law that involve the abuse or neglect of nursing home residents.
However, a criminal prosecution does not prevent your family from pursuing monetary compensation in civil court. In fact, a nursing home employee’s or owner’s conviction for a nursing home abuse crime only strengthens any civil lawsuit that arises from the same abuse.
What Will It Cost to Begin the Legal Process?
As mentioned above, your first meeting with an Arkansas nursing home abuse lawyer is provided with no cost or obligation. If you proceed with a lawsuit, your family pays no attorney’s fee until and unless your attorney recovers compensation on your loved one’s behalf.
Nothing is more important to protect than vulnerable loved ones, and a personal injury attorney can help you do that. If you discover mistreatment, negligence, or abuse at a nursing home – and if your own loved one is a victim – contact the right Little Rock attorney as quickly as possible.