Loved One Hurt by Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
Our Nursing Home Attorneys Fight Elder Abuse in Washington DC
When aging family members can no longer care for themselves, nursing homes and elder care facilities are supposed to be available to provide the care and medical treatment your loved ones need. Unfortunately, elder abuse, medical malpractice, and neglect happen far too often in these long-term care facilities, seriously injuring patients and devastating families. Medication errors, untreated bedsores, inappropriate or ineffective restraint, and failure to treat illnesses or injuries can cause disabling or fatal injuries to residents. Often, victims are frail and vulnerable, often unable to protect themselves or seek the help they need. Thus, it typically falls to family members to remain vigilant and watchful for any signs of abuse or medical negligence.
Mistreatment of the senior members of our communities in nursing homes or anywhere is unacceptable. If negligence or medical malpractice cause your loved one’s injuries, physical or psychological, then you may be able to hold the nursing home staff and owners accountable though a personal injury lawsuit. The nursing home attorneys at Regan Zambri Long PLLC have extensive experience handling nursing home abuse and neglect claims. If you need help getting justice for your loved one, then we are here for you.
What is Considered Elder Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes?
Elder abuse and neglect exist in many forms, some of which may not be evidenced by clear, physical signs. Additionally, elderly victims may be unable or unwilling to inform family members or officials of the facility’s conditions. Common examples of nursing home abuse and neglect include:
- Medical malpractice. Negligence by doctors and nurses in elder care facilities can cause catastrophic injuries or wrongful death. This is especially true when residents require specialized treatment and medical care.
- Assault and battery, including sexual assault and harassment. Signs of this abuse include bruising, lacerations, and unexplained broken bones. A patient’s fear of staff may also indicate physical abuse or sexual assault.
- Dehydration and malnutrition. Sudden weight loss and extreme hunger or thirst can indicate that staff is neglecting residents.
- Bedsores or pressure ulcers. Many residents, especially those who cannot walk or move easily on their own, must be turned regularly to prevent bedsores. These lesions result from constant pressure on one area, indicating lack of movement.
- Falls due to lack of assistance and/or monitoring. Understaffing and other negligence can cause serious slip and falls, as residents may not have the assistance they require.
- Verbal and emotional abuse. Fear, depression, withdrawal and other emotional changes can indicate verbal and/or emotional abuse.
- Financial abuse and fraud. Sudden withdrawals from bank accounts, missing property, or changes to a loved one’s will can indicate financial abuse.
Can I File a Claim for Medical Malpractice in a Nursing Home?
Too often, nursing home neglect goes hand-in-hand with medical malpractice, as negligent doctors, nurses, and other staff may overlook or fail to administer necessary treatments. Many residents live in elder care facilities because they require regular medication, treatment or assistance from a medical worker. Medical negligence can therefore cause a dangerous health condition, allow an illness to progress, or cause wrongful death.
Common examples of medical malpractice in nursing homes include:
- Failure to treat. If a resident develops an illness or sustains an injury, then staff should be prompt in providing or arranging treatment. Failure to do so may constitute medical malpractice. Untreated bedsores are among the most common examples of nursing home negligence and malpractice. Bedsores develop when staff fails to help immobile residents change positions regularly, which can lead to serious and fatal infections.
- Medication errors or missed doses. Nurses and staff must administer medications on time and in the proper amounts. Negligence may result in missed doses or overdose, which can lead to death.
- Improper physical or chemical restraint. A common sign of nursing home negligence and abuse is abuse of restraints. Improper physical restraint can cause bruising and laceration to the wrists and ankles, as well as broken bones. Over-sedation can cause serious health problems or even death.
- Failure to arrange doctor’s visits. Many nursing home residents require frequent check-ups, which staff must perform or arrange. Failure to do so may allow life-threatening illnesses and conditions to progress beyond treatment.
What Should I Do If My Loved One is the Victim of Nursing Home Negligence?
If you notice any of these signs of nursing home negligence, then you should take the following steps to protect your loved one:
- Document all instances or signs of negligence or abuse. Take pictures and write notes on any signs or symptoms of abuse that you notice, including the date and time. Keep copies of any medical reports your loved one may receive as well as any complaints filed.
- Speak to nursing home management. Inform the nursing home owner or operator about your concerns and make notes concerning your conversation. Then, remain watchful to see if the facility addresses the problem.
- Move your loved one to another facility, if possible. Removing your loved one from the negligent home ensures he or she is safe while you move forward with a claim.
- File an official complaint. Each state has its own procedures for filing an official complaint about nursing homes and elder abuse. In Washington DC, you should contact the Office of the Inspector General.
- Call a nursing home abuse lawyer. A lawyer can advise you on what to do about nursing home neglect or abuse at any time. Once an investigation is complete, an attorney can also help you file a personal injury claim against the facility. You may be able to recover compensation for your loved one’s medical bills, relocation costs, financial losses and other damages.
Questions about Elder Abuse? Contact Our Washington DC Nursing Home Attorneys
If your loved one was the victim of nursing home neglect, abuse, or medical malpractice, then it is important that you take legal action. Our attorneys have experience investigating nursing home abuse and helping worried family members hold negligent facilities accountable.
Contact our nursing home lawyers online or by phone at (202) 463-3030 for a free consultation. We serve clients throughout Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, and other states.