Why Nursing Home Neglect Can Be Deadly in Winter

February 14, 2023by LegalASAP

Nursing home neglect is a serious issue, no matter the time of year. However, winter can turn regular patterns of abuse deadly. This blog explains the dangers of nursing home neglect that arise during the winter, and how nursing home neglect lawyers can help you file a lawsuit.

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What counts as nursing home neglect?

Nursing home neglect is the failure of nursing home authorities to provide a reasonable standard of care to older adults. Common types of elder abuse include:

  • Physical abuse: This type of abuse occurs when an elder experiences physical violence or force (pushing, kicking, hitting, or slapping) that results in illness, pain, injury, or other forms of functional impairment.
  • Emotional abuse: This occurs when someone insults and harasses a resident or uses threats to control them that inflict depression, anxiety, or distress on an older adult.
  • Sexual abuse: This type of abuse occurs when a resident experiences any form of forced and unwanted sexual contact, touching, or groping.
  • Financial abuse: This involves illegal, unauthorized, or improper use of an elder’s money, benefits, belongings, property, or assets for selfish interests.

Winter risks associated with nursing home neglect

Cold winter weather can pose emotional, physical, and environmental issues for residents of long-term care facilities. Below are some of the complications and injuries they are at risk from:

  • Isolation: Many residents feel lonely and depressed during the winter season due to decreased mobility or busy friends and family.
  • Dehydration: Dry heat coming from heating systems exacerbates dehydration for nursing home residents during the cold weather. It leads to weakness, often resulting in falls and fractures. It can also contribute to urinary tract and other infections.
  • Slips and falls: Snow accumulations and Icy conditions make slips and falls more likely, which can be especially dangerous to the vulnerable.
  • Wandering outside: Medically unstable or neglected residents may wander from nursing homes during frigid temperatures, facing increased risks of frostbite and hypothermia. This happens because long-term care facilities fail to supervise residents who wander off amid staff shortages. According to the American Health Care Association, 86 percent of nursing homes in the United States are experiencing moderate to severe staffing shortages and 96 percent are struggling to hire additional staff. 

How to support family members in nursing homes

If your loved one will be spending time in a nursing home this winter season, plan regular visits to check on their physical and emotional health. Ensure that they have warm clothes to avoid cold-related medical emergencies. Learn how to recognize elder abuse. 

Report suspected abuse to local adult protective services, long-term care ombudsman, or the police. Use the National Center on Elder Abuse Listing of State Elder Abuse Hotlines to find your state’s reporting numbers, government agencies, state laws, and other resources. Meanwhile, consider relocating your senior loved one to a safer facility.

When to contact a nursing home neglect lawyer

Even during the cold months, nursing homes should prioritize residents’ health and well-being. Sadly, not all facilities fulfill their duties sufficiently, which negatively affects residents’ quality of life. If you have a loved one in a nursing home who has suffered an injury, mistreatment, or neglect, consider speaking to the administration about your concerns. If they fail to help, consult with a nursing home neglect attorney.

An expert attorney will thoroughly review your case and see if your loved one is eligible to receive compensation for injuries and other losses. They’ll help you understand the legal rights and pursue a claim against responsible parties. The lawyer will  collate evidence that the abuse occurred in the care facility and that the caregiver failed to provide a minimum standard of care. They’ll also prove that the victim suffered from injuries and experienced pain and suffering due to the harm.

If you’re looking for “nursing home neglect lawyers,” LegalASAP can help you and your loved ones by connecting you with a trusted nursing home neglect attorney. Our lawyers will guide you at every stage and help you get justice. If you suspect nursing home neglect or abuse during a recent visit to your elderly loved ones, contact LegalASAP today for a free evaluation of your case.

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