Many older adults in nursing home facilities suffer from injuries and illnesses caused by abuse. The physical, emotional, and psychological toll abuse can take is devastating to both nursing home residents and their families. Abuse in any form should never be tolerated, especially when the victims are among the most vulnerable members of our society.
There are more than 1.5 million people living in nursing homes in the United States. These individuals are more at risk of being abused or neglected than elderly adults who live at home, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Even worse, many nursing home residents are targeted by abusers because of physical and mental health conditions that make them less able to defend themselves or ask for help.
If you believe your family member was the victim of nursing home abuse, a Raleigh nursing home abuse lawyer may be able to help. Your loved one has rights, and no one should be allowed to get away with elder abuse. Call 800-712-9119 to speak to our team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC about taking legal action.
How to Spot Nursing Home Abuse
Abuse can be life-threatening. For many seniors already in fragile health, the physical consequences of abuse could be the start of a decline that could result in death. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), older adults who are abused have a 300 percent higher risk of death than those who have not been. It is important to know the signs of abuse so you can protect your family member from harm.
For a free legal consultation with a nursing home abuses lawyer serving Raleigh, call 800-959-1444
Physical abuse may be the easiest to spot because of the injuries it causes and the marks it can leave on the body. Physical abuse is any type of violence or bodily harm. Your family member might be suffering from physical abuse if they have bruises, cuts, burns, or other marks, especially if they occur frequently or your loved cannot explain how they got them. Abuse can also cause more serious injuries, like fractures, soft tissue injuries, and head injuries.
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Emotional abuse happens when seniors are threatened, belittled, and humiliated. Emotional abuse is sometimes called psychological abuse. It can also consist of behaviors like ignoring a resident or socially isolating them. If your loved one is experiencing emotional abuse, they may exhibit changes in behavior, like becoming withdrawn or depressed.
Sexual abuse may include inappropriate touching, but can also involve verbal sexual harassment. Any type of unwanted sexual contact or coercion is abuse. If your loved one is being sexually abused, you may notice physical signs, as well as behavioral changes.
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If your family member’s belongings are missing, their bills are suddenly not being paid, or money is gone without explanation, they could be a victim of financial exploitation. Other examples of financial abuse may include forging checks in your loved one’s name, stealing from their Social Security benefits, or changing their will or life insurance policy.
Neglect is another form of abuse. Nursing home residents may be intentionally neglected in order to cause harm, or neglect could be the result of an understaffed, poorly run facility. Signs of neglect may include bedsores, poor physical hygiene, dirty clothing, and malnourishment or dehydration.
Above all, if you get a bad feeling about your family member’s nursing home, trust your gut. When you visit your loved one, the staff should be friendly and welcoming, the facility should be clean and well maintained, and there should be enough employees to meet each resident’s needs. If this is not the case, you may want to investigate further into the quality of care.
Elder Abuse Is Against the Law
According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), the state’s Bill of Rights for Nursing Home Residents protects older adults. This law guarantees access to appropriate, respectful care and freedom from abuse. The law also:
- Bans the use of chemical or physical restraints
- Promises freedom from retaliation when filing a complaint
- Guarantees a right to privacy
- Guarantees access to private communications on the telephone and through the mail
- Gives residents the right to manage their own finances unless they or their family has made other arrangements
- Promises access to healthcare as ordered by a resident’s physician
- Gives residents the right to retain and use their own clothing and personal property
If you suspect your family member’s rights have been violated, you can file a complaint with the NCDHSS. You may also want to contact local law enforcement to begin a criminal investigation of abuse.
Another way you can stand up for your loved one’s rights is by seeking awards in a civil lawsuit. If your loved one was abused, the nursing home should pay for the suffering they have endured. A Raleigh nursing home abuse lawyer may be able to help you seek justice. You could be awarded a settlement for your loved one’s medical care and for their pain and suffering. If nursing home abuse or neglect caused your family member’s death, you can sue on their behalf.
North Carolina law allows three years to sue for personal injury, according to General Statutes (GS) § 1-52. You have two years to file a wrongful death suit under GS § 1-53. If your loved one’s abusers deliberately concealed their injuries, an attorney may be able to help you seek an extension of the statute of limitations.
Get Started on Your Case Today
No one should be allowed to get away with abusing the elderly. You can take action, and a Raleigh nursing home abuse lawyer may be able to help. The team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC may be able to assist you in standing up to the people who hurt your loved one. We have experience helping thousands of victims, and we can handle your case with the compassion and care that you deserve. Call us at 800-712-9119 to get started with a no-cost consultation.