Senior citizens and disabled adults in nursing homes are often entirely dependent on their caregivers. That makes them particularly vulnerable to abuse. The mistreatment of nursing home residents is a serious problem in the United States, according to a report from the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA).
People who live in nursing homes may suffer from severe medical problems, limited mobility, and Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. They may be physically unable to defend themselves or tell anyone what has happened to them. Even if victims can communicate, they may be afraid to do so. The abuser may have threatened them, or they may fear that other people would retaliate or not believe them.
If you suspect that your loved one suffered abuse at their nursing home facility, a Houston nursing home abuse lawyer could help your family seek justice. Ben Crump Law, PLLC, has committed itself to representing people who have suffered due to others’ negligent actions. We can file a personal injury lawsuit to hold the abuser and the facility accountable. Call our office at 800-959-1444 to speak with a staff member about what your loved one experienced and learn how we may be able to help.
Staffing Issues Can Lead to Nursing Home Abuse
Because of the job’s stressful nature and low pay, nursing homes often experience high rates of employee turnover. Facilities struggle to find and retain qualified workers, and they might hire new staff members without taking the time to thoroughly investigate their backgrounds.
In addition, facilities sometimes conduct only statewide background checks and not national. That can allow individuals who have abused nursing home residents to move on to facilities in other states, where managers can hire them without learning of their history of abusive behavior.
Employees who work in nursing homes often feel overwhelmed. They may be responsible for caring for many patients who cannot walk, feed themselves, use the bathroom, and perform other tasks without assistance. Workers who struggle to keep up may not notice signs of possible abuse.
Facilities Often Fail to Address Abuse
People who work in nursing homes should receive training to prepare them for all aspects of the job, including education on how to spot physical and behavioral signs of abuse and when and how to report it. In some cases, well-intentioned employees fail to recognize signs that a resident may have suffered abuse or believe that they need firm evidence of abuse before reporting it.
Sometimes, victims, family members, or employees report their suspicions of abuse to administrators, but they fail to take appropriate action. They may concern themselves more with the ramifications of an abuse investigation—a substantiated allegation could cost the facility a hefty fine to the state and a financial settlement to the victim, and the nursing home could receive bad publicity. Whatever the reason, if they fail to address the abuse, it can continue unchecked.
Abusers May Not Be Staff Members
In cases of nursing home abuse, caregivers are not always the perpetrators. Other residents might abuse your loved one, either deliberately or because seniors with dementia may behave aggressively and not understand that their actions are wrong.
Nursing home patients could also suffer abuse by outside vendors, delivery people, and others who come to the facility in the course of their employment, or by family members and friends of other residents.
A Houston nursing home abuse lawyer can help you investigate what happened to your loved one. Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC, today for a free case review with a team member.
For a free legal consultation with a nursing home abuse lawyer serving Houston, call 800-712-9119
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Senior citizens may suffer several forms of abuse. The Texas Human Resources Code § 48.002 states that elder abuse includes “the negligent or wilful (sic) infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or cruel punishment with resulting physical or emotional harm or pain,” as well as sexual abuse and financial exploitation.
Nursing home residents may suffer physical abuse, such as punching, slapping, pushing, and other forms of mistreatment. For example, staff members may give patients unnecessary psychiatric medications to keep them docile. Employees may withhold food, water, or medical care as punishment. Those forms of abuse can threaten your loved one’s life.
Caregivers who feel overwhelmed and burnt out may shout at residents, call them names, make threatening or intimidating comments, or intentionally humiliate patients in front of other residents or employees.
Sexual abuse of elderly nursing home patients made up seven percent of abuse complaints, according to the NCEA. This type of abuse includes rape, sexual harassment, taking photos or videos of a fully or partially unclothed person, or other actions that may not leave physical signs on the victim’s body but have profound emotional effects. Victims of sexual abuse may become depressed, withdrawn, anxious, and angry. They may lash out at others, stop participating in social activities, or refuse to eat.
Senior citizens in nursing homes who suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia may be unable to handle their finances. If they feel isolated from family members, they may accept an offer of “help” from an employee. That staff member may then use the resident’s funds for their benefit.
Houston Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Near Me 800-712-9119
How a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Can Help
A Houston nursing home abuse lawyer can help you investigate your suspicions that your loved one suffered abuse. The team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC, can find out what happened by speaking with you and your family member (if they can communicate), other facility residents, and employees to learn as much as possible about what happened and who was responsible.
We can investigate whether the facility contributed to the problem or failed to take appropriate action. We can also review personnel records to look for staffing issues and determine if the facility conducted adequate background checks before hiring employees. Our team can learn what training employees received on how to detect and report abuse. If you did report the suspected abuse to nursing home administrators, we could find out what type of action the facility took to investigate and hold the abuser accountable.
Contact a Houston Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
According to the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit is two years. Finding out what happened to your family member may prove challenging, especially if they cannot communicate or are reluctant to talk about it. Resistance from other residents and employees could also complicate an investigation.
You will want as much time as possible to conduct your investigation into your loved one’s abuse. Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC, today at 800-959-1444 for a free case review with a staff member. The sooner you call, the sooner we can begin our investigation and fight for justice and compensation.