When a loved one has to go into a nursing home, most people believe that the family member will be taken care of. But that isn’t always the case. Sometimes there are a myriad of issues that come up, from small to serious, when an elderly or disabled person is in the care of a nursing home. Sometimes, those problems become harms and would best be handled by either a personal injury or nursing home lawyer. When it comes to nursing homes, several types of legal issues can arise.
Nursing Home Neglect: Residents being neglected in nursing homes is a growing issue affecting thousands of elderly citizens every year all over the country, including Washington DC. Often times, nursing homes fall short and even fail on their caretaking obligation and, as such, should face a nursing home neglect lawsuit.
There are different types of neglect, which is different from abuse. One form of neglect can be in regards to a resident’s personal hygiene. The nursing home is obligated to provide clean laundry and keep the resident hygiene clean, which can often mean bathing them, brushing their teeth, taking them to the bathroom, grooming them, etc. If these tasks are ignored, it becomes neglect. Nursing homes can also neglect a patient in regards to basic needs. The nursing home is required to provide food, water, and a clean environment for the resident. The upkeep of keeping a resident’s environment clean can be a big problem in nursing homes. In 2005, 91.7% of America’s nursing homes were cited by health inspectors for having at least one deficiency in this department. Another type of neglect is medical neglect, like not tending to bedsores, cuts, and infections. If those medical issues are ignored by employees and the resident doesn’t get the adequate attention needed it can become a serious problem, that requires a personal injury or nursing home lawyer. The majority of people residing in nursing homes need some type of medication, however, it was reported that one-third of nursing home residents are being overmedicated with antipsychotic drugs to prevent agitation and combative behavior. If you or someone you love has been neglected while in the care of a nursing home, you may have legal options that can be dealt with by a nursing home lawyer.
Elder abuse: There has been a substantial increase in elder abuse lawsuit actions recently. However, many cases of elder abuse go unreported. Sadly, only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse are ever brought to the attention of authorities. It is estimated that over 2000 nursing homes, assisted living situations and residential homes for the elderly are charged with elder abuse each year.
The numbers for elder abuse are staggering. 6 percent elders in a nursing home likely suffer from some sort of abuse. Thirty-three percent of senior women with disabilities that are living in an institution are likely to experience IPV (interpersonal violence). A study of 342 senior disabled men reported that fifty-five percent experienced some sort of IPV. A study of 200 senior women indicated that 67 percent had been physically abused by staff members/caregivers while at a nursing home.
Some of the underreporting is due to the fact that many family members “trust” the staff of the nursing homes and so do not question the information shared about their loved one.
In addition, seniors and the elderly can suffer from disabilities, dementia and other illnesses many not be able to fully express what is going on to their loved on. If a family member approaches the staff about a question, the question gets shot down and the explanation seems reasonable. Once that happens the inquiry stops—but the abuse may not. Hiring a personal injury lawyer may be your best bet if you or a family member if you need to file a lawsuit against a nursing home.
Securing legal counsel can be one of your biggest assets in helping a loved one. A personal injury attorney can help you file any lawsuit needs, including an elder abuse lawsuit, a wrongful death lawsuit, and any other type of lawsuit that is a result of the lack of care at a nursing home.
If you or someone you know is in the DC area and looking to file a lawsuit against a nursing home, you can reach us at a 24/7 live phone answering. So, if you need a DC lawyer who handles nursing home lawsuits contact Cohen & Cohen, P.C., our DC Law Firm today.