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FAQs About Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Nursing home abuse and neglect cases are more common than you might think. Elderly residents are particularly vulnerable to abuse and negligence because they are often unable to fight back. Since these vulnerable members of society deserve respect and to be treated fairly, the people or facilities responsible for neglect and abuse of seniors should be held accountable for their mistreatment.

Like many nursing home residents and family members, you may have questions about what rights elderly residents in a nursing facility have. You may also want to know how to report abuse and neglect, what signs and symptoms to look for, and much more. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about nursing home abuse and neglect.

What are the rights of nursing home residents?

People residing in nursing homes have many rights that are guaranteed by the federal Nursing Home Reform Law. The law requires and demands that nursing homes promote and protect the rights of each resident. It stresses individual dignity and self-determination. Many states also include residents’ rights in state laws or regulations.

What are the primary reasons negligence and abuse occur in nursing homes?

Aging adult demographics have created higher patient loads in nursing homes throughout the country. This has led to substantial staffing shortages, which creates conditions that expose residents to numerous hazards. The need for more staffing can mean that nursing homes do not adequately screen their workers. Without those efforts, they may potentially hire staff with criminal backgrounds who are more prone to commit financial, physical, and sexual abuse. 

What are the common signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse or neglect?

There could be several signs that indicate your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home. These may include, but are not limited to:

  • Cuts, bruises, scrapes, and burns
  • Bedsores
  • Infections
  • Falls
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Fractures and broken bones
  • Malnutrition and dehydration
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Medication errors
  • Refusal to take medication
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Emotional outbursts
  • New diagnosis of a sexually transmitted disease
  • Desire to be left alone
  • Wrongful death
  • And other serious and life-threatening injuries

These signs and symptoms may help confirm your suspicions of elder abuse. However, they may also indicate other problems. If the nursing facility staff do not provide straight or substantiated answers about why these issues are present, it may be time to take action.

If I suspect nursing home neglect or abuse, what are my options?

If you or a loved one is being abused or neglected at a nursing home, you have a few options. First of all, you can report it to the Department of Public Health in the state where your loved one resides. ou You may also hire a nursing home law attorney and file a civil lawsuit against the facility. Third, you may file a complaint with local authorities to pursue criminal charges. You are not limited to only one of these options; you may pursue all three if you wish.

How can a nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer help?

In cases involving elder abuse and neglect in nursing homes, it is crucial to have a legal advocate who can stand up for the rights and best interests of the abused. Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer, like a nursing home abuse lawyer in Houston, TX, in your area for a consultation and a review of your case.

Thanks to John K. Zaid & Associates for their insight into the frequently asked questions about nursing home abuse and neglect. 

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