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Nursing Home Abuse

Notice Signs of Elder Abuse?

Oak Creek Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Fights for Victims

A civil society is often judged by the level of care it provides — or does not provide —to its citizens, particularly to the elderly. After all, it is largely because of our elders that our world is what it is today. Most of them worked their entire lives, paying their dues to society along the way, and they deserve proper care. While American society subsidizes health care for the elderly and makes it readily available, we still have not established a system that ensures that every patient receives the best respectful care possible. Thus, it often falls to family members to notice signs of substandard conditions or abuse in nursing homes.

Martin Law Office, S.C. believes that a nursing home abuse lawyer from our office can make a difference in an elder abuse case. By upholding the dignity of individual patients and forcing institutional changes to eliminate mistreatment, our professional legal team has a reputation for success in elder abuse cases in Wisconsin. We serve residents of Oak Creek as well as Franklin, South Milwaukee, Greenfield and throughout Wisconsin. If you believe that an elderly loved one has suffered nursing home abuse or neglect, then we can help.

Who Is Most at Risk for Elder Abuse?

It is hard to imagine taking advantage of an elder, especially one who has impaired cognitive functions as a result of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, elder abuse occurs all the time; “1 in 6 older people experienced abuse in the past year”, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Even more unfortunate, WHO further reports that “Only 1 in 24 cases of elder abuse is reported” at all. This is largely due to both the elderly patient being scared of further abuse as a consequence of telling someone and the fact that elder abuse is often hard to prove.

While all nursing home patients are susceptible to receive abuse from a caretaker, the following elders are more at risk:

  • No support network. Elderly patients without any friends or family to visit them are more at risk of being abused in various ways as no one is around to hold caretakers responsible for their actions.
  • Impaired cognitive ability. Those suffering from debilitating illnesses which impair cognition (such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s) are often victims in elderly abuse cases. Abusive caretakers take advantage of a patient’s brain damage, relying on the effects of their illness, such as memory loss, to cover the caretaker’s tracks.
  • Women. Unfortunately, people take advantage of women of all ages. According to a study from the University of Chicago, elderly women are more likely to suffer verbal abuse from a caretaker. However, they are also more likely to report this abuse as well.

These and other elderly nursing home patients are at a higher risk than others to receive maltreatment. If you suspect that a nursing home caretaker abused your loved one, then know that there are legal rights and options in place that will offer aid and protection.

What Are Common Signs of Elder Abuse?

No one wants to think about the horrifying possibility that their loved one could be the victim of abuse in a place that exists solely to take care of them. However, being aware of your loved one’s situation could save his or her life. While elder neglect and abuse can be hard to identify, there are certain things that family members can watch out for that can help identify if abuse is occurring. If you suspect that your loved one is the victim of abuse in a nursing home, then we highly recommend that you seek the counsel of an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer.

The following are some of the most common signs of elderly abuse:

  • Dehydration/Malnutrition. It is the responsibility of nursing home caretakers to ensure elderly residents are fed and hydrated. It can be hard to tell if a loved one is not being given food and water. However, since dehydration and malnutrition can cause health complications, there are visual cues that you can look for to help validate your concerns. For example, if your loved one has been losing weight consistently, suffering infections and/or confusion, then you might have cause for concern.
  • Bedsores. Bedsores occur because a patient has not been moved in a while. They most frequently break out on the person’s hips, lower back and/or tailbone and are a result of constant pressure from sitting or lying down too long without moving. It is imperative that nursing home caretakers consistently turn and move bedridden and otherwise immobile patients so as to prevent these sores from occurring. If you notice these types of sores, then seek legal advice.
  • Unexplained bruises. Recurring bruising is an indication of physical abuse. One of the ways you can tell if bruises are re-occurring is to pay attention to coloration. For example, if you notice consistent blue or purple bruises in different places — or even the same place — then it might be a sign of elder abuse.
  • Unjustified use of restraints. Unreasonable restraint can take many forms including a caregiver tucking the sheets extremely tight over an otherwise immobile elderly patient and/or putting an immovable food tray in front of him or her to prevent movement. If you suspect that this is happening, then reach out to a professional nursing home abuse lawyer who can investigate.
  • Falls. Unnecessary falls occur when a nursing home resident is not properly assessed for fall prevention and when an appropriate fall prevention care plan is not put in place. These can occur once or multiple times, have minor injuries or severe injuries. If your loved one fell and was injured in a nursing home, contact a nursing home abuse attorney at Martin Law Office, S.C. for your free consultation.

What Are Some Common Causes of Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse may result from negligence on the part of the staff or by the institution itself. Some common causes of elder injuries in nursing homes include:

  • Medication errors. Many, if not most, elderly people rely on medication(s) to maximize their quality of life. Those in nursing homes are dependent on caretakers to administer their medications properly. Failure to do so can result in serious health complications and even wrongful death.
  • Failure to monitor. Nursing home caregivers who fail to properly monitor elderly patients risk exacerbating the patient’s current health condition(s). Otherwise, negligent monitoring can allow new injuries or illnesses to occur. Further, failing to monitor a patient can lead to that patient living in unhygienic conditions, which is also elder abuse. Bedsores, dirty clothing and bedding, frequent falls and other injuries are sins of negligent monitoring. You can visit the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center website for more details about how you can check for failure to monitor.
  • Acts of extortion. It is a despicable act to try and extort the hard-earned money of an elder. It is even more despicable to extort him or her while simultaneously continuing inflicting abuse. According to the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA), “only one in 44 cases of financial abuse is ever reported” and that patients with impaired cognitive ability are more susceptible to acts of extortion. Further, and even more alarming, NAPSA reports that 90% of extortionists “are family members or trusted others”.

These are only some of the horrific instances that nursing home abuse cases may involve. Perhaps you suspect — or know — that any of the above (or another form of elder abuse) is occurring. If so, it is imperative that you seek the legal counsel of an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer.

Can You Hold Institutions Liable for Employee Misconduct?

Nursing homes are responsible for any negligence on the part of employees which harms patients. Additionally, a nursing home can be held liable for the hiring, training and supervising of workers who prove to be abusive and/or neglectful. However, unless the facility is found to be liable in an elder abuse case, it is difficult to ensure that the necessary changes are made and/or win appropriate compensation for your loved one’s injury.

At our law firm, we firmly believe that where there is smoke there is fire. If a nursing home employee has mistreated your elderly loved one, he or she has probably mistreated other elders. Evidence of a pattern of bad behavior that went uncorrected can make a case for liability against the facility. A nursing home abuse lawyer from Martin Law Office, S.C. can help build a strong case against all responsible parties.

Suspect Elderly Abuse? Contact Us Today

Our Wisconsin law office is guided by sensitivity to suffering and an advocate’s hunger for justice. You can trust our firm to offer a sympathetic ear and focused attention to your elder abuse case. We understand the stress that many children of the elderly endure; it is difficult to oversee the institutional care their parent receives while juggling all of life’s other stressors. A nursing home abuse lawyer from Martin Law Office, S.C. can work tirelessly to ease that burden.

As a former nurse, attorney Kevin Martin knows health care procedures and protocols. As a result, he can tell when something is amiss. When you come to us for help, our firm thoroughly investigates your complaint. We utilize our abundant resources and build a case can force corrective action and compensate your loved one. To help take the stress off your shoulders even further, our attorneys take injury cases on a contingency basis. This means that there are no upfront fees for you to pay out of pocket; you only pay us if you win your case.

To see how we can help, call our Oak Creek office at 414-856-4010 or contact us online today to schedule your free consultation.





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