Nursing homes provide care to some of the most vulnerable people in our society. We expect them to treat the individuals entrusted to their care with compassion and respect for the patient’s dignity.
Tragically, some nursing homes fail in their duty. Chronic staff shortages could lead to facilities hiring people who do not have the qualifications or the temperament for the job. The result could be neglect or abuse of nursing home residents.
If you believe your loved one is suffering mistreatment in a residential care facility, contact a Kootenai County nursing home abuse lawyer immediately. With help from a compassionate attorney, you can craft a legal strategy to ensure safety for your loved one and hold the facility accountable for its failures.
Loved ones should be vigilant about checking on the resident frequently to ensure they are receiving proper care. Nursing home abuse could take many forms, and friends and family members should be familiar with the signs of mistreatment.
Physical abuse of nursing home residents is shockingly common, but also the easiest to detect. Unexplained bruising or cuts, fractures, sprains, bloody clothing or bedding, frequent or increased falls without medical explanation are signs of possible physical abuse.
In addition, using restraints to confine a patient, depriving them of medical care, withholding medication or overmedicating them, are also indicators of neglect or abuse. Dehydration, lack of adequate wholesome food, infrequent opportunities for appropriate exercise, and failure to prevent a patient who wanders from escaping suggest neglect. Bedsores always indicate insufficient care.
Mocking, teasing, or embarrassing a patient might seem benign, but it can have devastating consequences for a patient’s wellbeing. Ridiculing a patient or inducing shame is always inappropriate conduct that a concerned loved one should report to the facility administrator.
Keeping a patient isolated from other residents or limiting access to family and friends without a reasonable explanation could be emotional abuse. Loved ones should question any unexplained changes in a patient’s mental state, signs of increased anxiety or agitation, emotional withdrawal, fearfulness, weepiness, or other behaviors that seem out of character.
It is shocking and deeply uncomfortable to consider, but sexual abuse of elderly people confined to care facilities happens with alarming frequency. If a resident claims someone sexually abused them, take their claim seriously.
Many elderly people are ashamed to report sexual abuse or might lack the capacity to do so. If a nursing home resident has cuts or bruises on their buttocks, breasts, or around their sex organs, or develops a sexually transmitted disease, an immediate report to the facility administrator and a consultation with a Kootenai County elder abuse lawyer is in order.
The elderly are often the targets of financial exploitation, and nursing home residents could be especially vulnerable. Signs of financial exploitation include unexplained cash withdrawals or electronic transfers, determination to change a will in favor of someone new in the resident’s life, or a resident complaining of inability to access their money.
The first step to stopping suspected nursing home abuse is to file a report with the Department of Health. Idaho Code §74-106 requires the agency to keep such reports confidential. The facility will not know who made the report, which might relieve any anxiety that a resident could face retaliation.
After making the official report, a Kootenai County attorney could approach the facility with the details of the nursing home abuse complaint. The legal representative could ask for immediate action to address the concern, which might mean firing one or more employees, changing procedures, requiring additional training for staff, or other remedies as appropriate.
Discussions could also include negotiations for financial compensation. The resident could be entitled to reimbursement of nursing home fees and the cost of medical care. An abused or neglected patient also might receive funds to acknowledge their embarrassment, humiliation, physical pain, emotional turmoil, and diminished quality of life due to the nursing home’s poor care.
Combatting mistreatment of the elderly in residential care facilities requires compassion and tenacity. A Kootenai County nursing home lawyer could bring both qualities to bear on behalf of your elderly loved one.
Do not delay taking steps to protect a vulnerable elderly person. Reach out now to schedule a consultation if you suspect neglect or abuse is occurring in a nursing home.
Owens, McCrea & Linscott, PLLC