August 14 , 2023 | Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Moving your loved one into a nursing home is intended to provide better healthcare for their needs as they age. Sadly, nursing home abuse may happen when workers entrusted with residents’ care engage in abusive or negligent behavior. This article highlights several steps you can take to help prevent nursing home abuse. If you suspect your loved one was abused in a nursing home, our Wisconsin nursing home abuse lawyers can assist you.
Sobering Nursing Home Abuse Statistics
Reading nursing home abuse statistics can be upsetting, but it is vital to be aware of this pervasive problem. Some key nursing home abuse numbers to consider:
- As many as 1/3 of older Americans have been abused or neglected in a nursing home.
- 2/3 of nursing home staff members responding to a recent WHO study admitted negligent or abusive behavior.
- About 85% of nursing homes report at least one case of neglect or abuse.
- A National Public Radio report revealed that 97% of abusive incidents go unreported.
Nursing home abuse and neglect occur for many reasons. One of the common causes is there is insufficient staff available to provide needed care. Unfortunately, sometimes the on-duty staff gets frustrated with overwork and may lash out at the residents.
Signs Of Possible Nursing Home Abuse
Recognizing nursing home abuse and neglect signs is vital to protect your loved one and prevent more harm. Some nursing home abuse signs can vary from subtle to apparent, including:
- Fractured bones
- Skin tears, lacerations, and cuts
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Dental and facial damage
- Unexplained bruises and welts
- Infections that turn septic
- Mysterious weight loss
In the worst cases, nursing home abuse can even cause death. If you notice your loved one has unexplained nursing home injuries, Wisconsin nursing home lawyers may be able to help you in a personal injury lawsuit.
Steps To Avoid Nursing Home Abuse Or Neglect
Sadly, some nursing home workers are engaging in resident abuse and neglect. The following steps can help you prevent your loved one from experiencing mistreatment:
Limit Social Isolation
Many nursing home abuse cases involve a resident being socially isolated. A nursing home resident is more likely to be abused or neglected when not interacting as often with staff, family members, and residents. Social isolation exposes the person to employees who might not have the best intentions, potentially leading to abuse.
You should carefully consider how much your loved one is socially isolated in a nursing home or long-term care facility. Choose a facility where there are copious daily activities and plenty of social interaction at mealtimes. Also, encourage your family member to be active by being involved in hobbies, local organizations, or volunteering with groups in the community. These activities can reduce their social isolation and the chances of abuse and neglect.
Check In Often And Irregularly
You should check in with your loved one often in the nursing home. First, visiting your loved one in person, by phone, or via video will improve their mood and outlook. Setting aside time to see how they are faring each week allows you to hear from them and check their mood.
Next, drop in on your loved one randomly during the month. When caregivers do not know when you will visit, there is less chance that neglect and abuse will be covered up. Make sure to take any negative feedback seriously that your loved one reports. If they mention anything concerning, look into it and report it to a supervisor.
Know The Caregivers
When placing someone in a nursing home, spend time there to get to know the staff. Understanding who is working with your loved one daily can make identifying abuse easier. It also helps to develop relationships with workers so they feel more connected to you and your loved one.
Note Changes In Mood Or Appearance
This could be the most critical step to prevent neglect and abuse. But being aware of such changes can be more complex than you think. You might notice that your family member seems tired or irritable suddenly, but it is easy to chalk that up to the aging process.
If you notice a change during a visit, ask your loved one about it and see how they respond. If they seem hesitant to discuss how they feel or appear, they may be afraid to say something for fear of retaliation. Also, review if there have been medication changes that could cause their change in mood or appearance.
How Do You Prove Nursing Home Abuse?
You can file a lawsuit in Wisconsin if you discover nursing home abuse. However, substantial evidence must be demonstrated to have a case. Necessary nursing home abuse elements are:
Duty of Care
You must prove that your loved one was owed a duty of care in the nursing home and there was a violation.. If they do not, the nursing home could be liable.
You have to show that any injuries your loved one suffered were because of abuse or neglect. Causation in a nursing home abuse case can be contested because older people may have preexisting conditions. But there could be a strong case if you can prove that the injury should not have happened absent abuse.
The last element to prove neglect and abuse is that you and your loved one suffered damages. A successful nursing home abuse claim leads to the plaintiff receiving compensation for their losses, including medical costs, = reduced quality of life, and emotional trauma. Non-economic damages can be more challenging to prove, but your attorney will help you.
Contact Our Wisconsin Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Today
If you suspect your loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect, you should act immediately. Report the matter to the nursing home supervisor, then speak to an attorney about legal steps. To file a claim, contact our Wisconsin nursing home abuse lawyers at Martin Law Office, S.C., at (414) 856-4010.