Nursing Home Abuse Injuries: 5 Steps To Take
If you’re looking for a top nursing home lawyer Montgomery County MD has to offer, you may have recently found out that a beloved elderly family member is suffering greatly from various injuries or illnesses.
While many of these ailments occur naturally and cannot be prevented, even under the care of nursing home staff, there are other situations where a nursing home facility fails to provide adequate care to residents. Sometimes this means that residents experience direct abuse at the hands of staff members, and other times it means that staff members are neglectful. Either way, residents might be suffering because of the actions of their paid caretakers — and this isn’t okay, nor is it legal.
If you believe that an elderly relative is being abused or neglected at a nursing home or assisted care facility, your relative may be entitled to financial damages through a personal injury settlement or lawsuit. While it may be in your best interests to speak with a talented nursing home lawyer Montgomery County MD depends on when considering legal action for these offenses, here is a quick look at some of the first steps you might take in this situation.
1. Know the signs of abuse and neglect.
Nursing home abuse and neglect often goes unchecked for a long time simply because residents do not understand what is happening to them. Additionally, family members will likely not be present when the abusive acts occur. As a seasoned nursing home lawyer Montgomery County MD has to offer might attest, it can be very shocking for families to discover that their elderly relative has been the victim of abuse in a nursing home.
Some common signs of abuse in a nursing home may include:
- Unusual or unexplained bruising, bleeding, burns, or lacerations
- Open wounds, undressed wounds, or infected wounds
- Torn, dirty, or bloody clothes
- Sudden increase or decrease in weight
- Loss of hair
- Lack of hygiene
- Listlessness, unresponsiveness, or other sudden personality changes
- Sudden physical, emotional, or social withdrawal
- Development of infantile behaviors
- Disappearance of personal items
Some common signs of neglect in a nursing home may include:
- Sacral ulcers, blisters, or bedsores
- High fever, chills, discoloration of skin, extreme confusion (this may be a sign of sepsis)
- Unclean linens and/or clothing
- Lack of sanitary hygiene products
- Smell of urine or feces
- Sudden increase or decrease in weight
- Social withdrawal
If an elderly resident is seriously injured or if you believe that this person’s life is in danger, it is imperative to seek medical care and/or remove the individual from the dangerous environment. The safety of the victim is the most important thing in this situation.
2. Collect evidence of the abuse if possible.
Another reason why this type of abuse is so common is that it can be hard for families to prove that substantial abuse or neglect is occurring. Older residents — especially those suffering from cognitive degeneration or those with poor memory capacity — might understand that they are being wronged, but completely forget about the transgressions later. Nursing homes might have strict rules regarding when visitors can be present. This further exacerbates the problem of collecting evidence.
Family members of abused relatives might wish to take legal action immediately. However, a top nursing home lawyer Montgomery County MD can provide might suggest that the family attempt to collect evidence before filing a lawsuit. This could increase the chances of making a successful case in court.
3. Research any pertinent legislation or policies of the facility that outline the standard of care residents must receive.
While every state can differ in terms of the legislation it passes on elder abuse, every state does have some form of regulations that protect elderly citizens from abuse and neglect. Nursing homes and assisted care facilities are also typically required to have written policies outlining the care that staff members must provide.
As an experienced nursing home lawyer Montgomery County MD can provide might explain, it’s important to keep in mind that not all of these facilities are required to provide the same amount of care. Assisted living homes, for example, are generally required to provide less care for residents than nursing homes. If a facility has specifically stated in its policy that it will provide certain types of care to residents, and if it fails to provide this care, then it could be held liable for negligence.
4. Report any suspected incidents of abuse or neglect to the nursing home or assisted living facility.
It may be possible to work with the facility in order to determine how the abuse or neglect is occurring. If specific staff members are failing to provide adequate care, the facility may be able to rectify the situation by providing these employees with additional training or by replacing these employees. A situation involving dangerous environmental conditions or living conditions may be fixable as well.
However, serious cases of abuse and neglect might still justify taking legal action. If an incident results in very severe injuries or wrongful death, the family of this resident might wish to file a lawsuit. If abuse is occurring in the nursing home, the resident or his/her family might wish to press charges against the abuser.
5. Speak with a local nursing home lawyer Montgomery County MD residents recommend.
If at any point you aren’t sure whether or not your relative’s situation could legally be considered elder abuse, it may be beneficial to speak with a nursing home lawyer in Montgomery County MD for additional information about these cases.
Contact a Nursing Home Lawyer Montgomery County MD Depends On
At Cohen & Cohen, we know that nursing home negligence can be difficult for victims and their families. Our legal team aims to make this legal process as smooth as possible. We believe that when an individual suffers from abuse or neglect and is injured because of it, this individual deserves exemplary legal counsel from an experienced Montgomery County MD nursing home lawyer.
Our firm has created a strong reputation locally for providing valuable legal counsel to victims of personal injury accidents. If you suspect that one of your relatives has suffered an injury or illness because of abuse or negligence in a nursing home or assisted care facility, our lawyers may be able to help your family recover financial compensation. For more information about our Maryland law firm, or to schedule a free case evaluation with a top nursing home lawyer Montgomery County MD trusts, contact Cohen & Cohen today.