When you choose a nursing home for your loved one, you hope that they will be well cared for. You would think that they are having their needs met by caregivers who treat them well.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Sometimes nursing homes neglect their patients. This is when they fail to care for your loved one, leading to a harmful or painful situation. Neglect is likely to affect both the mental and physical health of a patient.
Neglect vs. Abuse
Neglect and abuse are different. It is considered neglect when a nursing home fails to care for a patient, while abuse is classified as behavior that purposefully causes harm. This includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, rough handling, and purposeful substandard care.
There are many types of nursing home neglect that affect the mental and physical health of residents. Examples include neglecting to help with:
This occurs when nursing home staff does not help a resident get the food or water they need to stay healthy. This can lead to malnutrition, dehydration, and other serious health issues.
This form of neglect creates a hygiene problem and affects the mental health of patients. This often leads to physical health problems as well, like skin irritation or infection.
If a patient is less active or bedridden, body positioning is important. Proper care involves ensuring that the patient is comfortable and that they move around occasionally to avoid medical complications like pressure ulcers, (also called bedsores or decubitus ulcers,) limb problems, and skin issues.
A caregiver who does not properly wash their hands puts patients at risk for infection.
If a resident is not helped to the bathroom when needed or left in soiled clothing after accidents, that is also neglect. It is an indignity for the resident and can lead to more health problems, especially mental health issues.
Someone living in a nursing home has activities to participate in. The caregivers are supposed to help facilitate this, assisting residents who want to participate in hobbies or social activities. Neglecting this need for human interaction is cruel and can be harmful to a resident’s mental health.
Warning Signs of Neglect
People who are being neglected by their nursing homes often show signs of inadequate care. If your loved one is a victim of nursing home neglect, you might notice:
- Changes in personality
- A desire to be isolated
- Apprehension around nursing home staff
- A sudden weight loss or gain
- Injuries that are difficult to explain
The last point is critical. When you find a nursing home for a loved one, you are likely hoping that they will be less likely to suffer harm. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. A study in the Journal of Critical Care showed that, among older patients, nursing home residents are at a far greater risk of developing severe sepsis than non-residents.
Neglect increases these risks and can lead to other injuries, like hip fractures, which are a mortality risk for aging patients. Nursing home neglect cannot be ignored.
Your Legal Options
If neglect from caregivers at a nursing home has caused harm to your loved one, it might be time to pursue legal action. The state of New York allows you to pursue wrongful death and personal injury suits against nursing homes if you believe that they have breached their agreement to properly care for your loved one.
The Statute of Limitations and Building Your Case
It is in your interest to file quickly. A lawyer from our firm can file your case on time and:
- Keep you updated on your case
- Identify the liable parties
- Communicate with all involved parties for you
- Gather evidence needed to make your case
- Determine a value for your case
A nursing home neglect lawyer from our firm can also advocate for you and your family and fight for the best possible legal outcome in your case.
Call for Your Free Consultation with Our Attorneys Today
If you believe that your loved one suffered harm due to nursing home neglect, contact Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. A team member will tell you more about your legal options and how you and your family will be able to seek justice for your loved one.
Call our office at (516) 932-0400 and receive your free consultation today. There is no obligation, and you do not pay a dime until a settlement is reached.