Many people in the United States rely on nursing homes to provide care and support to their elderly loved ones. They expect nursing home employees to treat their loved ones with kindness and respect and provide them with the essentials they need to thrive. Unfortunately, neglect and abuse happen more often in nursing homes than we like to think. In 2020 alone, nursing home ombudsmen received approximately 15,000 complaints concerning neglect or abuse. Learning more about nursing home abuse can help you spot warning signs and help you keep your loved one safe. If you suspect your loved one is being abused in a nursing home, contact a nursing home abuse attorney in Bowling Green at Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC.
Nursing Home Abuse in Kentucky
From July 2019 to June 2020, the Kentucky Office of the Inspector General received 508 complaints alleging abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of property involving residents in long-term care facilities. The Office of the Inspector General substantiated 113, or 22.2%, of those complaints. If your loved one is in a nursing home, you should remain vigilant for the signs of abuse and visit your loved one regularly to make sure they are being well taken care of.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse can take many forms. The most common types of nursing home abuse include:
The different forms of nursing home abuse are detailed further below. If you or a loved one suffered nursing home abuse in Kentucky, contact a Bowling Green nursing home abuse lawyer immediately.
Nursing home neglect occurs when the nursing home staff fails to meet a patient’s needs. Neglect is often less obvious than nursing home abuse and can result in devastating consequences if it is not stopped. Common signs of nursing home neglect include the following:
- Lack of adequate supervision of residents,
- Premises being kept in a dangerous or unhygienic condition,
- Residents lacking proper hygiene,
- Failure to provide residents with medication,
- Negligent hiring practices, and
- Failure to provide adequate or timely medical treatment.
Nursing home neglect may start with relatively minor issues but can spiral out of control if allowed to continue. If you have concerns about the quality of care in your loved one’s nursing home facility, gently raise those concerns with employees of the nursing home. This may help you build a rapport with staff members and resolve issues without filing a formal complaint.
Oftentimes, physical abuse is easier to spot than neglect or other types of abuse. In some cases, you can uncover physical abuse by being vigilant for signs such as bruises, cuts, or burns on your loved one’s body. But, in some cases, the perpetrator may hide their abuse by leaving marks in areas of the body you might not usually see when interacting with your loved one. Examples of nursing home physical abuse include:
- Pulling hair,
- Pushing or pulling residents, and
- Grabbing residents.
If your loved one suffers an injury at their nursing home from physical abuse, contact an attorney immediately for help.
Emotional abuse is often more difficult to discover than other forms of abuse. Signs of emotional abuse might include:
- Sudden changes in behavior,
- Lack of responsiveness,
- Depression, or
- Inability to sleep.
Emotional abuse can be just as harmful to a nursing home resident as physical abuse. If you or a loved one suffered emotional abuse in a nursing home, contact a nursing home abuse attorney in Bowling Green today.
Nursing home sexual abuse occurs when someone commits a non-consensual sexual act on a nursing home resident. Nursing home sexual abuse can range from inappropriate touching to rape.
Financial abuse happens when nursing home staff use their position of authority over vulnerable senior citizens for their own advantage or profit. A nursing home employee may commit financial abuse by:
- Stealing money from a resident’s room,
- Convincing a resident to transfer their property to the employee,
- Using a resident’s credit card,
- Asking a resident to name them as a beneficiary in their will, or
- Coercing a resident to give them money.
Unfortunately, many senior citizens fall victim to theft and financial abuse. If you believe a nursing home resident is being financially abused, contact an attorney today to discuss your options.
What to Do After Nursing Home Abuse Allegations
You should treat any allegations of nursing home abuse seriously. You might want to react angrily and confront the alleged abuser. However, this can hurt your chances of recovering compensation in a civil case. Instead, follow the steps listed below to preserve evidence of the abuse and begin the process of filing your case.
File a Report
Many forms of nursing home abuse constitute some type of crime. For example, someone accused of physical abuse may face charges for assault. Alternatively, someone accused of financial abuse may face theft or forgery charges. You can also file a complaint with the Kentucky Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (KLTCOP) if you suspect your loved one is being abused. The KLTCOP will investigate the complaint and work with the long-term care providers to remedy the issue and end the abuse.
Seek Medical Treatment
A medical evaluation can offer valuable evidence to corroborate nursing home abuse allegations. A doctor can evaluate an individual for current injuries and healed injuries. Specialized medical testing may be necessary depending on the form of abuse alleged. In some cases, a medical expert can offer valuable testimony about the severity, extent, and duration of the abuse.
Contact a Bowling Green Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
A nursing home abuse lawyer in Bowling Green can review the details of your case and determine whether you qualify to file a claim. A qualified attorney can help by:
- Preparing a strategy to prove the abuse,
- Locating individuals who witnessed the abuse,
- Negotiating with the opposing party’s attorney, and
- Answering your questions throughout the process.
The attorneys at Gladstein Law Firm are dedicated to helping our clients seek justice. Our founding attorney Seth Gladstein has over twenty years of experience protecting the rights of injured victims, including victims of nursing home abuse. Seth is well-known among his clients and peers for his passion for fighting hard for those who have suffered injuries at someone else’s hands. If you or a loved one suffered nursing home neglect or abuse, contact a lawyer at Gladstein Law Firm today to schedule a free initial consultation.