When your loved one moves into a nursing home, you expect their medical care and quality of life to be excellent. After all, these assisted living facilities are subject to government regulatory oversight, including staffing limits. While these regulations give many families comfort in knowing that their loved ones are in the care of professionals who can provide their other relative with the attention and care they need, doing so comes with dangers.
Nursing homes that don’t prioritize residents’ safety and care endanger their wellbeing, putting them at risk of a wrongful death.
An attorney with a legal specialization in elder abuse and neglect law can help you stand up for your relative’s rights. Let a Houston nursing home abuse lawyer from Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm advise you of the rights the Texas legal system affords you and your loved one as a victim. Our attorneys can help you and your family members decide what course of action is best to take in personal injury cases like this.
What Are the Types of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
Every Texas nursing home resident has certain rights. State law affords an elderly person and anyone else residing in these assisted living facilities the right to live in a safe environment without fear of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
Unfortunately, this law’s existence doesn’t always prevent abuse or neglect from happening in Houston, TX nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The following are the different types of abuse that can occur in Texas nursing homes or long-term care facilities:
Disgruntled nursing home caregivers may push, shove, or hit residents like your family member. Even a situation in which a nursing home staff member handles a resident too roughly, including gripping or squeezing their arm tightly, may fall into the category of physical abuse.
Psychological and Emotional Abuse
A nursing home employee who belittles, shouts at, or threatens your family member may be said to have engaged in emotional abuse. Caregivers who speak about residents like they’re not present, ignore, or isolate them from others within the nursing home may also be accused of emotional abuse.
Any scenario where your relative is forced to participate in a nonconsensual sexual activity may constitute sexual abuse. Nonconsensual sexual interactions are unwanted and occur without one or both parties’ consent. There are some situations where a resident may have limitations, such as an illness or disability, that prevents them from providing consent.
Someone may take advantage of nursing home residents by stealing money, forging checks, or trying to obtain their nest egg if they have one.
What To Know About the Use of Restraints in Nursing Homes
Nursing homes may also use physical or chemical restraints to make it easier for staff to control your relative. While the harm these restraints can cause is akin to signs of physical abuse, the use of these can also affect your loved one’s mental state, leaving behind lasting, invisible psychological scars.
While the above examples are types of abuse, there are other ways that a Texas nursing home may harm your relative. Abuse usually involves the willful intent of the person inflicting harm upon your loved one. This is different from nursing home neglect, but it can be just as dangerous as abuse.
Why Would Nursing Home Employees Abuse Residents?
Many Texas nursing homes offer top-notch, attentive care whereby they ensure residents’ needs are attended to in a timely fashion, maintain a clean facility, and integrate lots of checks and balances into their workflows aimed at keeping those who live there both healthy and safe. The latter factor is critically important if a facility serves chronically or critically ill residents, ones with significant mobility issues, or individuals with profound intellectual disabilities or memory care diagnoses, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
A Texas nursing home that doesn’t prioritize residents’ health and safety may be inadequately prepared to provide your loved one with the care they need to stay free of illnesses and injuries. One of the main factors that results in inadequate nursing home care is staffing. Two scenarios in which it becomes a problem include:
Inadequate Staffing Numbers
Most states, Texas included, have bare minimum limits in place for how many staffers must be on the schedule for any given shift. Many long-term living facilities like these will cut staffing short despite having their beds filled with residents in an effort to keep their expenditures on employee wages low.
Assisted living facilities with inadequate staffing run the risk of not:
- Being able to provide timely assistance when a resident desires to move about their room, thus forcing residents to attempt to get up and handle things themselves
- Meeting obligations to residents, such as ensuring they’re properly hydrated, are turned in their beds to prevent pressure sores, or receive medication on time
Having limited staff on any given shift may limit their ability to make regular rounds which could result in them not noticing changes in a resident’s condition, which has the potential of saving their life.
Poorly Trained Staff
Aside from not having adequate enough nursing home staff members to attend to your relative regularly, another concern is that the assisted living facility’s employees may lack the experience or have received poor training to properly care for residents.
Human resources’ inability to find adequately trained staff willing to work the facility’s hours at a specified pay rate may lead them to hire the wrong talent for the role. They may lack expertise regarding how:
- Often to change wound dressings to maintain infection control
- To read doctor’s notes regarding caregiving and dosage instructions
- Frequently a patient needs to be turned to minimize the chances of bed sores emerging
- To handle a memory disorder resident differently to minimize their risk of wandering and elopement
Your relative’s wellbeing is at risk when they’re being cared for by inadequately trained or insufficient staff. Instances in which your relative is being neglected by nursing home staff can lead them to miss meals or medication doses, and spend most of the day by themselves. This can cause their health and quality of life to decline.
One of the first steps in any nursing home neglect or abuse case is determining how your relative was mistreated. This is what any personal injury lawyer should do when presented with a scenario where there are allegations of nursing home negligence.
Who Abuses or Neglects Nursing Home Residents?
When your loved one is in the care of a nursing home, they may come in contact with many medical professionals and other employees. Nursing homes employ various people who are supposed to provide your relative with the care and safe environment they deserve. Some individuals your relative may regularly interact with in their nursing home include:
- Registered Nurses
- Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses
- Nursing Aides
- Home Health Aides
- Cooks or Food Preparation Workers
- Laundry and Dry-Cleaning Workers
You can count on the Houston, TX nursing home abuse lawyer handling your case to request to review a log of anyone with whom your loved one interacted. Your attorney will use this information to try and determine who is responsible for their abuse or neglect.
Red Flags That Could Indicate Elder Abuse in Texas Nursing Homes
Certain factors could prevent your loved one from telling you something is wrong with their care. If your relative has a form of memory loss, they may not be lucid all the time and aren’t able to tell you that they were subjected to nursing home negligence or abuse. Other conditions may also affect a senior’s ability to communicate that someone is hurting them.
Some other reasons why your loved one may not tell you that they’re being abused is because they’re ashamed of what has happened or are afraid they will face retaliation for reporting nursing home negligence. Since they may not be able to tell you, it’s important to keep an eye out for signs that they’re a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, such as:
Injuries and Illnesses
If your loved one has recently fallen, resulting in injuries such as bruises or broken bones, or is consistently ill, this can signify that they’re suffered nursing home abuse or neglect. Any unexplained injuries or the presence of new prescription medication bottles should raise red flags with you that some type of negligence is occurring in the nursing home.
Changes in Demeanor
If you notice changes in your loved one’s behavior, that too may indicate that they’re being subjected to nursing home abuse or some other type of negligence. Any situation in which your family member acts fearful, withdrawn, or otherwise not like their usual self should make you take note as it may also be indicative of nursing home abuse.
If your loved one has developed an injury such as a pressure or bed sore, then this may signify that they are being subjected to neglect. A bed sore is an injury that forms when someone with mobility issues is left alone in the same position for too long.
Regular movement and rotation prevents a person from suffering an injury such as a bed sore. The existence of an injury such as this could point to a problem with what you thought was the right facility not having enough nursing home staff to regularly attend to their elderly residents.
Lack of Personal Hygiene
Your Texas nursing home resident loved one may need help with bathing, brushing hair, dental care, and changing clothes. If you notice their body has an odor or notice any other signs that they’re not being taken care of, this can be another sign that negligence such as nursing home abuse or even neglect is occurring.
Clean bedsheets and a sanitized environment show that the place is being regularly cleaned, which can help prevent the spread of germs and consequently disease. A nursing home that has soiled bed sheets or that is unclean could put your family member’s health and safety at risk.
It is against the law for you or your loved one to face any retaliation from the nursing home simply for complaining about your relative’s care or living conditions. Should the nursing home retaliate, our lawyers are here to protect you family and more specifically your loved one’s legal rights.
Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm Can Fight for Your Loved One
A neglectful or abusive Texas nursing home can cause a lot of harm to your loved one. When you learn that they’ve suffered injuries, you may feel like you don’t know who to turn to for help. After you get your loved one to a safe place, you can start taking steps to get them and your family justice for what you’ve all been through. Any Houston nursing home abuse attorney from our law firm will stand by your side and fight for your loved one.
Going up against an assisted living facility takes experience with and knowledge of nursing home abuse or neglect state laws. Every Texas attorney at our law firm is well-versed in personal injury trial law. Our Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm attorneys will not be intimidated or allow you to agree to a settlement offer for less than your loved one deserves.
Our personal injury trial law attorneys also won’t hesitate in litigating your negligence case in a Texas courtroom if that’s what’s in the best interests of an abuse victim.
What Assistance You Can Expect To Receive From a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer
As our fight for your loved one progresses, our nursing home negligence attorneys may need to escalate medical malpractice cases like these within the court system to get you justice. Our Houston nursing home abuse lawyers have decades of combined experience and have helped clients both inside and outside the courtroom and can do the same for you and your beloved relative. This attentive approach to handling personal injury claims ensures you’ll receive maximum compensation in your nursing home abuse case.
Reach out to our law firm today so a Houston, TX nursing home abuse lawyer can get started on your relative’s nursing home abuse or medical malpractice claim. There’s no risk associated with making contact with a nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss your relative’s injury incident. In fact, we work on a contingency basis, so you don’t owe our nursing home abuse lawyers anything for their legal representation unless your attorney secures compensation for you.
Nursing home malpractice can take on varying forms. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation with a nursing home abuse attorney at Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm. Your lawyer will review what happened and how your relative was treated. Your attorney will then go over what legal options are available to help you and your loved one move forward with your lives.