The figures on nursing home violations have been increasing annually for the past 25 years, according to a report by the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee. Their research also revealed that 30% of all nursing homes in the United States had been involved in some form of abuse in the last two years.
Evidently, these incidences are common than you think. Knowing the key signs to watch out for is critical in protecting a loved one from further suffering. Additionally, a Little Rock personal injury lawyer can help you seek justice for the person afflicted by such actions.
How Can I Tell When My Patient is Abused?
Most victims of nursing home abuse cannot communicate and tell you that they are suffering abuse, and the perpetrators take advantage of that. But if you are observant and attentive, you might notice certain signs that will tell you that all is not well and your loved one is not okay.
The National Institute on Ageing recommends that you watch out for signs such as:
- Bedsores or other preventable conditions
- Looking messy and disheveled
- Unexplained scars or bruises
- Signs of trauma
- Unexplained weight loss
- Looking depressed or confused
The NCEA says that the signs of physical abuse are more noticeable than others. It goes ahead to classify abuse into the following categories:
- Financial abuse
- Psychological or emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Physical abuse
As soon as you notice that your patient in a nursing home has been abused in any way, it is advisable to use legal means to seek justice for them. Doing this will not only hold the facility accountable for failing to take proper care of your loved one, but it might ensure that other patients do not suffer in the same manner.
How Does the Law Protect Your Loved Ones from Nursing Home Abuse?
The Adult Protective Services law is available in every state. What varies is the specific acts of abuse that are criminalized in the jurisdiction. In Arkansas, it is criminal for caregivers to exploit, neglect, or abuse impaired or endangered persons. Perpetrators risk charged with:
- Class B misdemeanor for causing physical injuries
- Class D felony putting victims at risk of death or causing them serious injuries
- Class A misdemeanor for financial exploitation from $200
- Class B felony for significant financial exploitation from $2,500
Apart from the state laws, there is also federal legislation that forbids nursing home abuse. Statutes such as the Civil Elder Abuse and the Civil Financial Exploitation are available to protect victims across the United States. A seasoned nursing home neglect and abuse lawyer in Little Rock can build up a case using the state or federal provisions, or both.
Families of nursing home abuse victims can report the incidences to the Adult Protective Services (APS) through their hotline number. Upon receiving the complaint, the APS is obligated to begin investigations if the victim is above 18 years and unable to protect themselves.
How Can I Show That My Loved One Was Abused?
Similar to all other cases, evidence is necessary to stamp your credibility. Your nursing home neglect and abuse lawyer in Little Rock can put together all the pieces that can convince the jury that a crime was committed, someone suffered, and they deserve compensation.
Vague explanations on how an injury occurred could signal that your loved one is being physically abused. Evidence of this can be in the form of:
- Signs of restraint, such as rope marks
- Broken frames or glasses
- Trauma or head injury
- Medication overdose
- Pressure sores
- Broken bones
Emotional abuse affects the victim’s ability to love themselves and erodes their self-confidence. This can be shown in the following ways:
- Behavioral changes
- Emotional outbursts
- Frequent crying
- Abuse complaints
Sexual abuse often leaves victims in a state of confusion that makes it hard for them to report. However, evidence of the incident can be seen in:
- Bloody, stained, or torn undergarments
- Anal or vaginal bleeding
- Genital infections
- Venereal disease
- Genital or breast bruising
This kind of abuse involves exploiting someone’s property, assets, or funds. It could be evident in the following forms:
- Making unauthorized withdrawals from a resident’s bank account
- Using a resident’s credit card
- Cashing a resident’s check without permission
- Forging a resident’s signature
How Can an Attorney Help?
Many abuse victims do not seek justice because they are afraid of possible retaliation from the nursing home. Others feel like their case might not hold water because no physical marks show what might have happened.
After reporting the incident to the relevant bodies, victims of emotional trauma and serious injuries are advised to consult with a nursing home neglect and abuse lawyer in Little Rock. Discussing the nitty-gritty of your case with a legal expert provides the ultimate platform for you to explore various legal options available in Arkansas.
While you cannot reverse the actions that were done to them, an individual lawsuit or a nursing home abuse lawsuit can assist the victim recover. Some compensation would help your loved one improve the quality of their lives going forward. The judge can ask them to:
- Pay for new care
- Replace funds and assets
- Cater for mental health costs
- Cater for medical costs
Basically, compensation is classified into the broad category of compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages can be economic or non-economic types of damages. Punitive damages are rarely awarded in nursing home abuse cases, but they can discourage similar abusive behaviors for the greater good of society.
A Lawyer Protecting the Rights of the Elderly
It is easy to know when your loved one is being abused if you are keen on the signs. The same signs are also critical in building a case against the nursing home or the staff responsible for the malpractice against the patient.
Whether the signs are visible or not, you need an experienced attorney who can legally link the abuse with the nursing home. The skills and knowledge of your nursing home neglect and abuse lawyer make the difference between winning and losing the case. Book a FREE case evaluation with us today and let us walk with you.