When we take our loved ones to a nursing home, we trust that they will receive the care and dignity they deserve. This may be in an assisted living center, intermediate care facility, adult daycare center, or any other long-term care facility. Unfortunately, these facilities do not always provide adequate care and there might be cases of neglect. Most of the time, victims of abuse are too vulnerable to speak up, prompting families and loved ones to be proactive in looking out for their well-being. Under certain circumstances, filing a lawsuit against a nursing home may be appropriate.
Understanding Patients’ Rights
Before filing a lawsuit, you should ensure that the facility has violated the state’s Patient Rights. These rights protect against neglect and ensure that the patient is treated with dignity. They account for both physical and emotional needs and outline the duties of the nursing home staff. It’s important to note that abuse is not limited to come from nursing home staff or caregivers but can also come from other residents or visitors to the facility. The same should be noted about the ‘extent’ of abuse or neglect, as even small instances of mistreatment (such as being pinched or name-calling) can be enough to warrant a lawsuit.
Types of Abuse or Neglect
Several forms of mistreatment may be present, such as physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and financial exploitation. Unless they’re visibly injured, it may be difficult to determine if physical abuse has occurred. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the signs, such as sudden changes in behavior, bedsores, and signs of malnourishment. In the event of emotional or sexual abuse, victims may also exhibit signs of depression or anxiety.
Additionally, to be able to ascertain the cause of the mistreatment, it is important to gather evidence such as medical records, photographs, and witness statements (such as from other residents or staff). This evidence will be critical when filing a lawsuit and pursuing justice for the victim. However, it is not always easy, as nursing homes may be reluctant to admit wrongdoing and could even try to cover up the abuse.
Filing a Lawsuit
Start with identifying whether the elderly person is in immediate danger, in which case you’ll need to contact the local police. Generally, Adult Protective Services (APS) is your best bet when filing a lawsuit. They provide aid, resources, and guidance to victims of abuse and neglect in nursing homes and can help you understand your legal options. Additionally, teaming up with a nursing home abuse lawyer can also be beneficial. They will be able to provide insight into the specific laws and regulations that apply to your situation, as well as help you navigate the legal system.
No one should suffer from neglect in a nursing care home, a place where they are supposed to be taken care of. Taking legal action is often the best way to secure justice for victims. By understanding your loved one’s rights, identifying the type of mistreatment, and obtaining evidence, you may be able to successfully file a lawsuit. However, it is important to remember that the process may be difficult and time-consuming. Make sure to team up with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney.
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