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LEXINGTON NURSING HOME ABUSE

Trusting a nursing home to take care of your elderly relative can be a difficult decision to make. When decided, you want the nursing facility to provide the best care possible for your loved one. Sometimes, however, the staff at nursing homes take advantage of their patients, even going so far as physically and emotionally abusing them. This can lead to devastating injuries or even death. If your loved one has suffered a traumatic experience at the hands of nursing home staff, he or she may be eligible for compensation for the nursing home’s wrongful actions. It is critical to obtain representation as soon as possible.

As our loved ones age, many of us grapple with the difficult decision of whether they would be better cared for in a nursing home or assisted living facility. And while none of us look forward to the day when our loved one can no longer live on their own, we take solace in knowing that U.S. nursing facilities are tightly regulated and bound by strict laws.

Unfortunately, these laws are not always enough to stop nursing home abuse from happening. In 2015, the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services received over 30,000 reports of elder abuse. More than 12,000 were severe enough to require government intervention. If you suspect your loved one has been a victim, the Lexington nursing home lawyers at Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers can help.

To schedule a free consultation with a member of our team, call us at 800-800-4600.

Recoverable Damages in a Nursing Home Abuse Case

If you believe your loved one was a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you can recover compensation for the damages they suffered. This might include:

  • Medical bills
  • Physical therapy
  • Attorneys’ fees
  • Refunding of the money you or your loved one spent on their nursing home
  • Mental anguish
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

There are several forms of nursing home abuse, many of which are not obvious or easy to spot. Just because your loved one does not have noticeable bruises or visible injuries is not a guarantee that they have not been a victim. In fact, many forms of nursing home abuse, such as emotional and financial abuse, have no physical signs at all.

Since many elderly nursing home residents find it difficult to speak up or advocate for themselves, often because of age, cognitive decline, or helplessness, their loved ones are their eyes and ears. Common forms of nursing home abuse to be on the lookout for include the following:

Physical Abuse

On occasion, physical contact between caregivers and nursing home residents is necessary (e.g., a caregiver needing to restrain a patient with Alzheimer’s from leaving the premises).

There is a clear line, however, between routine physical contact and abuse. Under no circumstances is it okay for a caregiver to punch, kick, choke, shove, or handle someone more roughly than is necessary for the patient’s safety and well-being. It is also against nursing home regulations to unnecessarily restrain a nursing home resident for any reason.

Emotional Abuse

Not all nursing home abuse is physical. A caregiver who teases, humiliates, or manipulates a nursing home resident is guilty of emotional abuse, which might not leave visible marks but can be as damaging to an older adult’s health as physical abuse. Emotional abuse can also include isolating a resident.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse includes not only physical contact of a sexual nature but also coercion, comments, and even inappropriate jokes.

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse can involve the outright stealing of a nursing home resident’s money, or it can be more subtle, such as convincing the resident to buy the caregiver gifts, to make them an authorized credit card user, or to add them to the resident’s will.

Nursing Home Neglect

Nursing home residents tend to have a long list of needs — that is why they are there. Their caregivers have a duty to provide them with what they need to stay safe, healthy, and comfortable. When a caregiver fails to uphold this duty, they are guilty of nursing home neglect.

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Recognizing the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse in Your Loved One

Nursing home abuse has many tell-tale signs, some more obvious than others. These signs can differ based on the type of abuse. Here is what to watch out for when observing your loved one in a nursing home facility:

Physical Abuse

  • Physical injuries, such as broken bones, lacerations, and bruises, especially if they appear with no explainable cause
  • Bruises on the inner arms or thighs, which can be a sign of excessive physical restraint
  • Unexplained physical illness
  • Pain when touched
  • Loss of control over bodily functions
  • Unexplained changes in medication
  • Fear or nervousness

Emotional Abuse

  • Isolation
  • Sudden and unexplained personality changes (e.g., depression, anxiety, withdrawal)
  • Fear of speaking for oneself
  • Instances of scolding or threatening behavior
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Fear or apprehension around a specific caregiver

Sexual Abuse

  • Injuries to the genital region, breasts, mouth, or anus
  • Presence of an unexplained sexually transmitted disease
  • Aversion to being bathed or changed
  • Elevated fear when a particular caregiver is present
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control

Financial Abuse

  • Unexplained withdrawals from their bank account
  • ATM fees when the resident does not use ATMs or there is not one within walking distance
  • Changes to a will
  • Unpaid bills
  • Missing personal belongings

Neglect

  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Unclean, unkempt appearance
  • Body odor
  • Torn or dirty clothing
  • Missing dentures, eyewear, or hearing aids
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Bedsores
  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Lack of food, or spoiled and moldy food

I Believe My Loved One Is Being Subjected to Abuse or Neglect — Now What?

If you suspect your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you should say something, even if you have no proof or are not yet certain your suspicions are valid.

First, report your suspicions to the direct supervisor of the caregiver you believe is involved. If you do not trust the supervisor, go directly to the manager or owner of the facility; if you suspect this person is involved or complicit, you can skip this step altogether and file a report with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Adult Protection Branch by calling 1-800-752-6200.

Next, speak with a Lexington nursing home abuse attorney. You could have grounds for a lawsuit and substantial compensation. An attorney can sit down with you and determine your options.

What Our Team Can Do for You

Once we decide to work together, we will handle every aspect of your case. We will:

  • Ensure your loved one’s protection
  • Gather all necessary evidence
  • Build a robust case against the nursing home
  • Negotiate with the nursing home or its insurance company to recover the compensation your loved one deserves

Fight for justice for your loved one in court if the nursing home or insurer refuses to offer a fair settlement

Call 800-800-4600 Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With a Lexington Attorney From Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers

The team at Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers serves clients in the Lexington area and wants to meet you. We are located on New Circle Road, next to the Golden Corral buffet. The initial consultation is always free, and we will answer all your questions. To schedule an appointment, call us at 800-800-4600.

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