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Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

prevent nursing home abuse

All human life is precious and valuable, even the most vulnerable among us. When someone who cannot care for themselves is bullied or neglected by a person in a place of authority, it is hard to bear. The senior population is particularly at risk for this.

Call a Connecticut nursing home abuse & neglect attorney today for free consultation (877)-987-9LAW

Those of us with relatives in nursing homes want to think that the facility is helping our loved ones, keeping them safe, and doing what they can to improve their quality of life.

It’s shocking to learn that sometimes that’s far from the truth. Whether it’s neglect due to poor training, understaffing, or blatant physical abuse, it shouldn’t happen. However, you can fight back and learn how to protect your loved ones in nursing homes.

what are the different types of abuse in a nursing home?

What Is Considered Nursing Home Abuse?

Negligence is a legal term for the failure to behave with the necessary care to prevent foreseeable harm to someone else. A nursing home may be considered negligent if it violates its duties to residents.

The duties of a nursing home in caring for residents are multifaceted. Nursing home residents have a number of legal protections at the federal and state level, including the Nursing Home Reform Act and Connecticut’s general statutes and Department of Public Health regulations on nursing home care.

Violations of state and federal laws and regulations that result in harm to residents may be considered nursing home negligence. Attorneys at The Flood Law Firm will also review the nursing home contract to determine if the facility breached any of its duties to your loved one.

Multiple forms of abuse and neglect may constitute negligence on the part of nursing home staff, caregivers, and the facility itself. Examples include:

  • Physical Abuse
    • Pushing and shoving
    • Slapping
    • Punching
    • Kicking
    • Choking
    • Unnecessary use of physical restraints
    • Over-medication
    • Destruction of personal property
  • Emotional and Verbal Abuse
    • Insults
    • Abusive and derogatory comments about the resident’s age, race, appearance, etc.
    • Threats of violence
    • Yelling and screaming
    • Ignoring the resident’s needs
    • Forced isolation of residents
  • Sexual Abuse
    • Inappropriate sexual comments
    • Groping and unwanted touching
    • Forcing residents to remove their clothes
    • Photographing residents in the nude or in explicit positions
    • Sexual assault and rape
  • Financial Abuse and Exploitation
    • Stealing money and personal belongings from residents
    • Cashing a resident’s checks and keeping the money
    • Manipulating residents into giving access to their bank accounts, changing their will, signing over assets, etc.
    • Stealing a resident’s identity (i.e., signing up for credit cards in the resident’s name, using the resident’s information to open new bank accounts, etc.)
  • Neglect
    • Failure to turn and adjust residents with mobility issues when they are in bed, sitting in a wheelchair, etc.
    • Failure to assist residents when moving
    • Failure to provide residents with food and drink
    • Failure to administer the proper medications
    • Failure to supervise residents, leaving them free to wander the nursing home or leave the premises
    • Failure to assist patients with hygiene activities and bathing
    • Failure to maintain a clean and safe living environment for residents
    • Inadequate care for injuries and illnesses
    • Errors in using medical equipment

All of these issues may be grounds for a nursing home abuse or neglect claim. In addition to the negligence or wrongdoing of individual employees, thorough investigation by the nursing home abuse attorneys at The Flood Law Firm may reveal multiple forms of negligence on the part of the facility, including understaffing, negligent hiring practices, inadequate staff training, failure to supervise employees, dangerous conditions on the premises, and more.

Getting Help for a Senior Loved One

For most people, the decision to place your elderly loved one in assisted care is a difficult one. Even when there is no practical way to provide all he or she needs to live a healthier, more satisfying life, family members are often consumed with guilt for what they are unable to do. Many times, adult children are torn between caring for their own families and tending to an aging parent. Disorders such as dementia, which is highly common in the elderly, can also present unexpected challenges that can include physically aggressive behavior. In other instances, the distance might prevent the family from visiting or helping.

Whatever the reason may be for hiring outside help, it’s important that family members recognize when circumstances are beyond their control. This is especially true when it’s discovered that your elderly loved one has suffered abuse at the hands of a designated caregiver, such as within a nursing home.

Even a well-informed family member couldn’t possibly anticipate how or when neglect occurs. If you have unknowingly placed your senior loved one in a facility where he or she has experienced abuse of any kind, it is not your fault. The most loving thing you can do now is to seek help, which you are likely doing by reading this page. We encourage you to contact our Connecticut nursing home abuse attorneys with any questions you have for a free, private legal consultation.

How to Prevent Nursing Home Abuse | The Flood Law Firm

Startling Statistics

If you know someone who has endured abuse in assisted living, you are not alone. Unfortunately, the problem appears to be worse than we actually know.

While statistics say that one in 10 elders in America has suffered some sort of abuse, those numbers may not reflect the full extent of the problem. Only one in 14 cases of elder abuse are actually reported, so in reality, abuse might be much more prevalent. As the aging population increases in the U.S., the problem is likely to increase as well. The global population of persons aged 60 and up is predicted to reach around 2 billion by 2050.

Only one in 14 cases of elder abuse are actually reported.

While knowledge of other injustices such as domestic violence and child abuse is widespread, experts say that elder abuse is much less understood. Past research is limited, which means there is inadequate data to guide trainers, policymakers, and practitioners. Still, what we do know is startling. Elders who are abused, even modestly, have a 300 percent higher risk of death. Even verbal abuse can lead to physical health issues.

Research in this area is growing. As more studies come to light, elder abuse is being exposed as an important social public health issue. Without knowing the exact statistics for the U.S., it’s obvious that elder nursing home abuse is an epidemic. Sadly, it leads to physical and emotional trauma or even death.

What Is Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect?

Nursing home abuse includes physical, sexual, or emotional harm inflicted upon older citizens or direct neglect of their needs by the people who are supposed to care for them. In the United States alone, there are more than half a million reports of elder abuse made to authorities each year, with millions more going unreported.

As people age, they become more physically frail and may not be able to care for themselves, stand up to bullies, or fight off an attack. Their physical and mental ailments leave them open to unscrupulous people who want to take advantage of them.

Elders in institutional settings like long-term care facilities may face abuse by the people being paid to care for them. If you suspect that your loved one is not being properly cared for, The Flood Law Firm is here to help. We care for our clients and their loved ones. Call us at (877) 987-9LAW. We’ll stand up to abuse when your loved one can’t.

What Are the Risk Factors for Nursing Home Abuse?

abusive caregiver

Older adults are at a higher risk of experiencing abuse than others. The following factors have been listed by the National Center on Elder Abuse as elements that can increase a senior’s risk for abuse:

  • No spouse
  • Poverty
  • Poor physical health
  • Previous experience of traumatic events
  • Lack of social support and isolation
  • Dementia

It’s also important to remember that older adults who don’t fall into these categories are not immune to the problem. Any person can be a victim of abuse.

Sexual and Physical Abuse of Seniors

Sexual and physical abuse of seniors can take place in nursing homes and other care facilities. It’s important for loved ones to understand the signs of sexual and physical abuse so you can protect your elderly friends and relatives.

Sadly, older adults don’t always speak out when they’re being abused, for many of the same reasons that victims of other ages don’t. They may be threatened, unable to explain the abuse, or feel ashamed of it. At times, seniors may even feel they deserve the attacks or worry that there will be no one to care for them if they report it.

Sexual Abuse Signs in Seniors

Victims of sexual abuse often show the following signs:

  • Withdrawn or depressed behavior
  • Difficulty standing or walking
  • Rectal or vaginal bleeding
  • Evidence of venereal disease
  • Bruising around the genital area
  • Bruising around the breasts

You should also look out for behavioral indicators in your loved one’s caregivers such as not allowing you to be alone with the elder, taking the elder to several medical facilities for treatment, or suspicious explanations for new injuries. These can all be red flags for abuse.

Physical Abuse Signs in Seniors

The following are signs that your loved one may be a physical abuse victim:

  • Odd injury explanations, such as “He ran into the doorway.”
  • Pressure marks
  • Abrasions
  • Burns
  • Broken bones
  • Bruises

Keep watch for a history of dislocations, sprains, or broken bones and sudden tooth and hair loss, especially if the explanations don’t fit or the injuries are unexplained. Also, be on the lookout for the same behavioral issues on the part of the caregiver that are signs of sexual abuse.

Staying connected with elder family members can help ward off depression and lower their risk of abuse.

Emotional or Verbal Abuse Signs in Elders

Signs that your elderly loved one may be experiencing emotional or verbal abuse include the following:

  • Forced isolation by the caregiver
  • A caregiver who yells or snaps at the elder
  • Tense or strained relationship between the caregiver and the elder
  • Fearful or nervous behavior, especially around the caregiver
  • Unusual behavior, such as rocking or biting
  • Apathy or withdrawal

Emotional abuse can be anything from verbal insults to aggressive verbal attacks. It may also include isolation or threats of physical harm.

Behavioral Signs of Senior Abuse

Recognizing the signs of nursing home abuse is crucial in providing help for victims. Sometimes professionals can miss the symptoms of abuse because they overlap with signs of deteriorating mental health. Recognizing elder abuse is central to stopping it and reducing its impact on a senior’s physical and psychological well-being. Behavioral signs can be the best way to detect neglect and abuse in elders who have communication challenges. They are often the first indicators of abuse.

Older adults who are being abused may become apathetic or withdrawn. They may dart their eyes and startle easily or avoid eye contact altogether. Physical abuse can lead to depression, nervousness, anxiety, fear, and anger.

Another common indicator of nursing home abuse is psychosomatic complaints, where victims suffer pain without physical cause. Men may complain of stomach aches, and women will sometimes complain of headaches. Both sexes might show changes in showing affection such as a fear of being touched, or inappropriate or unusual displays of affection. Victims of abuse may also have nightmares or difficulty sleeping.

Symptoms May Mimic Other Disorders

Behavioral symptoms of nursing home abuse can overlap with symptoms of mental deterioration such as frailty or dementia, but they shouldn’t be dismissed. Changes in your loved one should be taken seriously as victims all respond differently to neglect or abuse. You know your elder friend or relative best. If you suspect abuse, call the Flood Law Firm at (860) 346-2695.

When assessing a potential victim’s behavior, use their usual actions as a behavioral baseline to determine whether a clear change has taken place since they’ve been under new care. Consider changes in duration and intensity of behavior, as proper assessment and diagnosis can be the difference between neglect and suitable care.

How Do You Protect Older Loved Ones from Abuse?

visit loved ones in nursing homes

Unfortunately, elder abuse is all too common, but you can protect your senior friends and relatives. By staying in touch and paying attention to the situation, you can help prevent verbal, emotional, sexual, and physical abuse in older adults.

Stay connected with elder family members and friends, as it can help ward off depression and lower their risk of abuse. Having someone there to see what might be going on can deter would-be abusers. The best ways to stay connected include:

  • Making regular visits
  • Speaking on the phone regularly
  • If you’re separated by distance, try making video calls
  • Be sure the older adult is settled in a senior community or nursing home near family

You should also encourage socialization and group activities. Seniors with social support may have the confidence to turn to a friend or family member if something seems strange with a caregiver.

Screen caregivers carefully. Ask questions to be sure the person caring for your loved one doesn’t have a history of anger issues, violence, drug problems, or other destructive behaviors that might put an older adult in danger.

You should be encouraging mobility and independence when possible. There are mobility devices and other tools that can promote senior independence and strengthen their memory and ability to move on their own. Elder adults who are independent are less likely to be abused.

Report Elder Abuse

If you believe an elderly relative or friend is in immediate, life-threatening danger by a facility or caregiver, the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) recommends dialing 911 immediately. If you suspect that abuse is occurring or has occurred but the danger is not imminent, you can relay your concerns to the police, a long-term care official, or your local adult protective services agency.

We are available to assist out of state family members who have loved ones in Connecticut nursing homes.

Never confront the abuser yourself. Doing so without an elder’s permission may put them in more danger. Always wait until you can move them to safe, alternative care.

A nursing home abuse attorney’s job is to protect the vulnerable. When abuse happens at nursing homes, legal action against the facility may be the best way to demand accountability and, hopefully, prevent this from happening again to another family. All 50 States now have laws in place to protect against elder abuse.

Nursing Home Abuse: How Much Is My Case Worth?

The value of a nursing home abuse or neglect claim depends on the specific losses you and your family sustain. Often, claims against nursing homes are brought on behalf of an elderly relative by a member of the family. Therefore, it is important to account for the damages sustained by the nursing home resident as well as the family as a whole.

The Connecticut nursing home abuse attorneys at The Flood Law Firm can pursue the full compensation you and your loved ones are entitled to, including:

  • Medical bills, including the cost of ambulance transportation, emergency room treatment, surgery, hospitalization, rehabilitation, therapy, etc.
  • The value of any property and assets that were lost, stolen, or damaged
  • Costs associated with caring for a senior at home, moving him or her to another facility, etc.
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish

Tragically, some victims of nursing home abuse and neglect do not survive the ordeal. If you and your family are facing this worst-case scenario, The Flood Law Firm can pursue compensation on your behalf through a wrongful death claim. You and your family may be entitled to compensation for the following losses if your loved one died as a result of nursing home neglect or abuse:

  • The cost of funeral services
  • Burial or cremation expenses
  • Medical bills for care provided prior to your loved one’s death
  • Other economic damages
  • The pain and suffering your loved one endured prior to death (recoverable by the estate)
  • Loss of consortium (recoverable by the surviving spouse, if applicable)

Losing an elderly family member to the horrors of nursing home abuse or neglect is a devastating experience. Unfortunately, Connecticut law makes no allowance for surviving family members to recover compensation for the grief, anguish, and other emotional impacts of a wrongful death.

Is It Difficult to Sue a Nursing Home?

Nursing home abuse and neglect claims involve a host of unique challenges. Residents are often afraid to tell even their closest loved ones about the mistreatment for fear of retaliation. Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of the potential signs of neglect and abuse and take action if you fear for your loved one’s safety.

Once your loved one is safe, it is in your best interest to speak to a nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible. The Flood Law Firm takes on many cases other personal injury firms in the area avoid, including nursing home abuse and neglect claims.

We perform a complete investigation and collect evidence in support of your claim. This requires time and resources, as abusers and facilities alike will try to cover their tracks. Proving nursing home neglect or abuse typically involves the following:

  • Taking photos of the facility, including the resident’s living quarters, common areas, and the premises
  • Interviewing witnesses to the abuse or neglect, including other residents, members of staff, etc.
  • Closely reviewing your relative’s medical records and consulting their doctors and other medical experts to determine how the injuries occurred
  • Hiring experts to review the evidence and provide testimony concerning the negligence of the nursing home, the cause of your loved one’s injuries, and the damages you and your family have sustained

Once your nursing home abuse lawsuit is filed, the case may settle before going to court. The Flood Law Firm has a reputation for taking cases to trial – and winning. Defendants and insurance companies know our reputation, which frequently enables our attorneys to negotiate higher settlements. In the event that your case does go to trial, we will be prepared to fight for a favorable judgment.

The prospect of suing a nursing home likely seems overwhelming. Although pursuing justice for your loved one and compensation on behalf of your family is challenging in the aftermath of nursing home abuse or neglect, hiring qualified legal counsel is essential for overcoming the difficulties involved and obtaining fair recovery for your losses.

Contact Our Connecticut Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys at The Flood Law Firm Today

If someone you love is being neglected or abused in a nursing care facility, the Flood Law Firm is here to help. We help you protect your loved one and fight back against bullies, so your friend or family member can get the safe and loving care they need. Call us today at (860) 346-2695. We collect no fees unless you win your case.

We also take on cases for those who live out of state and have a loved one in a Connecticut nursing home. Simply dial (877) 987-9529 and speak with a qualified attorney who’s ready to help.

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