When deciding to place your loved one in a nursing home, you made the best possible decision with the information that you had at the time. Unfortunately, some assisted living facilities have become adept at hiding elder abuse and neglect from families, leading them to believe that everything is fine even while their family members are being actively harmed behind closed doors.
If your loved one was harmed by the staff members who were supposed to care for them, we encourage you to reach out to Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm. We’ll match you with an Arlington nursing home abuse lawyer for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.
Texas Nursing Home Abuse Statistics
The outlook for nursing home residents is less than ideal in the Lone Star State. In 2019, Texas was ranked last in the nation for quality of nursing home care for the third time in a row. The Austin-based advocacy group that performed the study found that:
- Approximately 90% of nursing homes hire fewer than the minimum number of required caregivers
- Texas only improved its nursing home staff levels by four minutes of care per day per resident between 2018 and 2019
- 1 of every 5 nursing homes were cited for abuse, mistreatment, or neglect
The above statistics are unacceptable. Our family members deserve better than to suffer psychological harm, physical injuries, and inadequate health care in the one place they’re supposed to be cared for.
The nursing home abuse lawyers from Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm have extensive experience holding residential facilities liable for abusive and negligent care, including intentional acts of abuse committed by staff members as well as by other residents.
Nursing Home Neglect vs. Nursing Home Abuse
The terms “nursing home abuse” and “nursing home negligence” are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to two different types of harm.
Nursing home abuse refers to the intentional harm afflicted on a resident.
Nursing home neglect refers to the failure to provide and meet a resident’s basic needs, including medical care.
Abuse and neglect can go hand-in-hand with one another. If you suspect that your loved one is being harmed in any way while under the care of a residential facility, do not be afraid to speak up. You could be the only person that stands between them and nursing home malpractice.
Identifying Signs of Elder Abuse
Even if your loved one appears to be happy and well cared for, you should never stop monitoring them for signs that they are being abused, neglected, or otherwise harmed. Our elder abuse lawyers recommend dropping by unexpectedly and at different times of the day and week. Do not allow the nursing home to recognize a pattern in your visiting hours, as this can make it easier for them to conceal abuse or neglect.
The majority of elder abuse victims have no one but their loved ones to notice and report signs of abuse. Since many victims are understandably afraid to speak up about their injuries or what is happening to them, you must be prepared to be a strong advocate on behalf of your loved one. Here are the types and signs of abuse that anyone who has a parent or grandparent in a nursing home should be aware of.
The use of intentional force to cause harm falls under the category of physical abuse. Signs that a nursing home patient may be the victim of ongoing physical abuse include:
- Unexplained bruises and injuries
- Broken eyeglasses or frames
- Signs of physical restraint, including lacerations on wrists
A facility that fails to protect residents from abusive staff members or other patients, or that actively encourages the physical mishandling of vulnerable patients, can be held liable in court for any harm it caused.
The National Center on Elder Abuse defines emotional abuse as “the infliction of anguish, pain, or distress through verbal or nonverbal acts.” Any attempt to threaten, intimidate, humiliate, harass, or insult a family member may constitute psychological abuse. Signs to watch for include:
- Extreme withdrawal or refusal to speak
- Physical manifestations of trauma (such as rocking back and forth)
- Emotional upset
- Unexplained agitation
The transition period from living at home to moving into an Arlington, TX nursing home can be challenging. However, do not hesitate to contact a nursing home abuse attorney if you believe your loved one’s change in behavior is attributable to anything other than the challenges associated with this move.
The financial exploitation of our elderly loved ones is a rampant problem, especially in residential living facilities that house patients with memory conditions, including dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other forms of cognitive decline. Contact a nursing home abuse attorney right away if you notice any of the following:
- Sudden or unexpected changes to a loved one’s will
- Abrupt changes in banking practices or unexplained withdrawals
- The presence of a new name on a bank signature card
- Missing items of value from a resident’s room
Any type of non-consensual sexual contact or act with an elderly person falls under the category of sexual abuse. Unwanted touching, fondling, penetration, or forced viewing of sexual acts can lead to lasting physical and emotional injury among victims. Signs that your loved one is being abused include:
- Bruises, especially around the genitals or breasts
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Stained, torn, or bloody undergarments
Always believe your loved one if they report being harmed by a staff member. If you’re not sure how to take actionable steps with the information your loved one gives you, our nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys can support you through the process of seeking justice and compensation on their behalf.
When To Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
Abuse in any form can significantly shorten the expected lifespan of an elderly patient in a nursing home facility, so taking legal action sooner rather than later is almost always the most appropriate course of action. In most cases, it is not advisable to pursue litigation without the guidance of a lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases related to the abuse, neglect, and mistreatment of nursing home residents. If in doubt, we recommend working with an attorney if any of the following apply to your claim:
- Damages for medical bills, pain and suffering, or mental anguish are particularly steep.
- The facility is denying liability or protecting its abusive nursing home staff.
- Your loved one has memory problems that make it difficult to recount exactly what happened.
- The case is particularly complex and may head to court.
- You’re unsure of how to collect evidence that proves injuries were the result of abuse rather than an accident.
Arlington nursing homes and assisted living facilities are supposed to be safe environments in which our loved ones can enjoy their remaining years while receiving top notch care. When these facilities fail to uphold their promises to care for our loved ones, it is up to families and their respective attorneys to hold them accountable for the harm they’ve caused.
An Arlington Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Is Standing By
At Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm, we don’t believe that abusive and neglectful nursing home staff should be allowed to continue engaging in these behaviors without recourse. At our law firm, our lawyers specialize in areas of law pertaining to abuse, neglect, injury, and wrongful death. Our dedication to accident and injury victims in Arlington, Tarrant County, and the greater Texas area is unrivaled.
Anyone who has suffered abuse or neglect within nursing homes is urged to contact us online or by phone to schedule a meeting. We’ll match you with an Arlington nursing home abuse lawyer for a free initial consultation.