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Almost all of us will at one point or another have to consider continued care for our aging loved ones. Nursing homes can provide the elderly with a level of services and facilities that their families cannot.
Of course, when you choose a facility for elder care, you expect it to provide appropriate medical and personal attention. This it what makes it even more devastating if/when you discover your loved one has been abused by the very people and/or institution that was supposed to be caring for them.
The truth is that elder care facilities are often understaffed by individuals who are not properly trained for many of their tasks. This leads to abuse and neglect.
Here at WKW, we are the Indianapolis lawyers you need to pursue a case of elder abuse. We have the skillset, knowledge, and experience you need to win your case early on or, when necessary, to bring it all the way to a court of law.
Unfortunately, Indiana nursing facilities tend to align with dispiriting national trends when it comes to abuse in nursing homes. Some nursing homes willfully ignore laws and sanctions against them to pursue profit. This means these facilities are understaffed, the staff is underpaid, and—perhaps worst of all—undertrained.
Studies show that one in ten elders in nursing homes experience some form of abuse. Globally, that number is closer to one in six elders. And a study from the World Health Organization found the abuse that occurred was often “psychological (11.6%), physical (2.6%), financial (6.8%), neglectful (4.2%), and sexual (0.9%)” in nature.
It is the duty of Indiana nursing homes to ensure residents receive proper care, are assessed individually, and have a plan of care in action. This plan should be modified routinely, and failure to do so is considered negligent.
In the state of Indiana, there are over 150 rules and regulations that must be followed. The state oversees nursing homes through the Indiana State Department of Health, Long-Term Care Division. This means that homes are inspected annually and complaints may be filed to that governing body.
Do you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected in an Indianapolis nursing home? If so, you should contact a local personal injury attorney through the Nursing Home Law Center to begin an investigation.
Your loved ones matter to you, but they also matter to our attorneys here at Wilson Kehoe Winingham. No one should be harmed, neglected, or experience negligence. It is our duty to help protect you and your family.
To best ensure that your loved one will be properly looked after with the care they deserve, here are a few things you can do when researching nursing homes.
Elderly people are some of the most vulnerable people out there. They can be targets of financial or identity scams. Reach out to WKW if this appears to have happened to someone you love.
Congress has created several laws to protect elderly patients across the United States. The Nursing Home Reform Act was passed in 1987 to establish nursing home patients’ basic physical, psychological, and social rights. These include the following:
And the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program created a network for nursing home patient advocates to sort out complaints about abuse, neglect, and exploitation of the elderly.
Indiana’s statute of limitations to bring an injury case to court is two years. Some facilities have a tort claim, thus shortening the window to 180 days. Some types of cases that may be pursued include:
Nursing home and elder abuse can take many forms, including:
To help identify elder abuse, it’s important for you to be familiar with the warning signs. These can include unexplained injuries, poor sanitation and hygiene, and malnutrition.
If you suspect an elderly loved one has been the victim of elder abuse, file a report with a state or local agency.
Some more specific types of abuse include:
Many people only perceive nursing home abuse as negligence and fail to understand that neglect is also a form of abuse. If a staff member purposely fails to offer care to a resident, they must be held responsible if harm or wrongful death occurs.
Sometimes nursing home neglect may appear accidental. An example of this could be a caregiver providing the wrong medication time and time again, which could have life-threatening consequences.
Nursing home abuse and elder abuse can be driven by several factors. For example, nursing home abuse or neglect can be a result of administrators or owners who are focused on profit instead of care.
Common causes of nursing home abuse and/or elder abuse include the following:
Some for-profit nursing homes hire unqualified staff as they seek to prioritize profit over meeting their residents’ needs. Low-quality facilities are also a common cause of nursing home neglect or abuse. Failure to provide residents with basic amenities, repairs, and well-trained staff often leads to neglect.
Nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect are slightly different from one another. Nursing home abuse is typically an intentional act, while neglect stems from a lack of care. Although early signs of nursing home abuse or neglect may not be noticeable, it is important for relatives to consider all factors when choosing the right home for their loved one.
Several different types of injuries can result from neglect. These include bruising, welts, lacerations, broken bones, sprains, bleeding, and other physical injuries. Sometimes emotional and mental injuries result as well. Of course, the worst-case scenario of all neglect and abuse is death.
Other injuries are outlined below.
If a patient is bedridden or has limited mobility, neglect can result in open wounds and skin ulcers. Ulcers and sores take time to form and there is no excuse for this happening. If such wounds do occur—and reach Stage 4—the skin and underlying tissue can be permanently damaged. These infections can spread to the muscle and bone and ultimately result in death.
Assistance should always be offered to anyone when they trip, fall, or slip and are unable to recover on their own. Since elderly residents likely have brittle bones, it is not uncommon for a fall to result in fractures or broken bones. The fall location and area of impact can factor into whether a fall leads to more serious injuries, such as spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injury, or even death.
Elderly patients often take many different medications. This increases the chances of a patient experiencing an unexpected drug interaction, being harmed by a staff member’s medication errors, or having their needed medication lazily distributed. Caregivers must always distribute medication at the same time with the same frequency.
These types of mistakes may not always be serious, but catastrophic harm can occur without due diligence. Some medication-related health problems include malnutrition, dehydration, and disorientation.
Signs of abuse and neglect aren’t always obvious. While severe safety issues may even be obvious to those being harmed, there are more subtle signs of abuse to be on the lookout for. If found, they should be reported as soon as possible. These signs include:
If you or someone you love is showing any of these symptoms, it might be a sign that some form of underlying neglect is occurring. It is important to contact the experienced Indianapolis negligence attorneys at WKW as soon as possible to help investigate your concerns.
Nursing home abuse can include physical, emotional, or financial abuse of an elder. If you suspect that you or a loved one are a victim of nursing home or elder abuse, follow the steps below.
Lastly, reach out to the nursing home abuse lawyers at Wilson Kehoe Winingham. With years of experience, we have what it takes to get you the full and fair compensation you deserve.
It is the job—more so, the duty—of every nursing home to care for its residents. Victims always have the law on their side when a nursing home falls short. Victims can be compensated for medical injuries, pain and suffering, emotional damage, and resulting healthcare costs. If negligence and abuse are so severe that death occurs, family members can sue for the wrongful death of their loved one.
Our Indianapolis lawyers at WKW will gather evidence against the nursing home that abused your loved one. This could include a compilation of charts, photographs, medical records and bills, nursing home inspection reports, and more to help prove your claim.
Damages in a nursing home abuse case will be dependent on the victim’s injuries or losses. Depending on the circumstances of the individual case, there are three types of compensation a victim or victim’s loved ones may be awarded:
It’s important to gather supporting evidence to make as strong a case as possible for receiving compensation.
Surviving family members of someone who is wrongfully killed have the right to pursue legal action against the negligent parties. In the state of Indiana, any wrongful death suit must be filed by legal representatives of the deceased. The is often their suppose, children, parents, or siblings.
Each estate representative—known as a personal representative—will be selected by the court. From there, your WKW attorney will prepare the necessary paperwork to file in court.
All damages are awarded to the deceased’s closest kin—or legal representative if the closest kin is also deceased. These individuals will be chosen as the beneficiaries of the estate if the claims are deemed successful. Sometimes, the court will decide how to divide compensation.
In the state of Indiana, you have two years to file a nursing home abuse lawsuit or claim.
Indiana’s Adult Protective Services Program was created to protect its residents’ welfare. The program’s goal is to protect people from exploitation, abuse, and neglect. As such, nursing home workers can protect themselves when reporting abuse they witness on the job. Neglect complaints should be made as soon as possible to protect those who are endangered.
Most nursing homes provide nursing care, 24-hour supervision, three meals a day, and assistance during daily activities. Some even provide rehabilitation services for physical, occupational, and speech therapy.
Occasionally, someone will stay at a nursing home for a short recovery window after being hospitalized, but most people are permanent residents.
You want to find a nursing home with caring staff. Always ask your doctor for recommendations. In addition, you should always:
If you suspect that your elderly loved one is being abused or neglected, contact the Indianapolis nursing home and elder abuse attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham. We can help you get the justice and the full and fair compensation you deserve.
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