Nursing home abuse statistics are disheartening, with two million cases of elder abuse reported every year. Because most abuse goes unreported, the actual figure is likely much higher. This crime is despicable because most elderly nursing home residents are physically or mentally impaired. They are especially vulnerable, and they have no way to defend themselves. You’re their frontline defense and the best chance of finding justice against the neglectful nursing home.
Once you discover your aging relative is being abused in the nursing home, move quickly to place them in alternate accommodations. After they’re safe, find a lawyer immediately. Nursing home neglect lawyers will guide you through the process of investigating your loved one’s case.
Evidence collection in cases of abuse or neglect is critically time-sensitive. Potential witnesses must be contacted as soon as possible because they’re likely also aged or infirm. They may be relocated by their families, suffer deterioration in health, or even die. Any staff who might have information should be contacted quickly, too, given the high turnover rate at nursing homes.
Relocate your family member
When relocating your loved one, remember that they are old or infirm. Allow extra time for the move, consider your loved one’s mobility level, and ensure their health-care needs, including prescriptions or special therapies, are handled.
Remember, too, that change is hard and might be extremely difficult for your loved one, especially if they’ve suffered abuse. Think about ways to ease the experience by remaining as patient as possible. Take a photograph of the layout and decorations to try and recreate the same feel in the new location. This forethought can ease the anxiety of moving.
Collecting evidence and documenting it
The evidence you collect will form the basis for your loved one’s case. Take the time to photograph or videotape the following proof of neglect or abuse:
- Bruises should be fully documented, bearing in mind that your method of photography will be significant because dark- or light-colored skin shows bruising differently.
- Dirty, filthy, or torn clothing.
- Dirty, neglected bed clothes or bathrooms.
- Unclean food practices or evidence of infestation.
- Bed sores (pressure ulcers) occur when nursing home staff neglect to turn patients with reduced mobility. These sores can occur in many places on the body, but bony parts are more susceptible. Check on elbows and knees, and behind them on the tailbone, hips, shoulder blades, heels, and back of the head. Make sure all of this evidence is documented.
- Restraint injuries like visible marks, cuts, and infections.
People suffering abuse can display abrupt changes in behavior. Your loved one may become withdrawn or angry and no longer participate in activities they previously enjoyed. Make a note of any behavioral changes you see. Interview staff or residents living in the nursing home about your loved one’s behavior. Speak to those who know your loved one from church or clubs to find out if they have noticed any changes.
A visit to the doctor is necessary because some injuries from nursing home neglect or abuse are not outwardly visible and will need treatment. These injuries include but are not limited to sprains and bone fractures. Any X-rays or doctor’s assessments should be recorded as evidence. A doctor will also investigate whether any health deterioration has occurred because the nursing home mismanaged the resident’s medication.
If your elderly relative is non-verbal, watch out for and document (consider recording with video) the following signs:
- agitation or refusal to communicate in the presence of staff;
- unusual or even aggressive changes in behavior, such as rocking or biting;
- rapid changes in weight;
- other symptoms related to malnutrition such as dental issues, mouth sores, and injuries that are slow to heal
If you’re searching for “nursing home neglect lawyers near me,” LegalASAP can help you avoid sifting through dozens of online listings for a lawyer. LegalASAP referral service will connect you with a trusted nursing home neglect attorney to handle any nursing home neglect cases.
Because of their thorough knowledge of the nursing home industry, our lawyers will anticipate and guide you through any challenges with your case. Most importantly, they’ll bring you and your family justice.
Contact LegalASAP today for a free evaluation of your case.