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MORE AND MORE SENIORS ARE MOVING INTO NURSING HOMES EACH YEAR

More Americans are moving into nursing home. As the population continues to age, we can expect this trend to continue. Nursing homes provide around-the-clock care to elderly residents who cannot take care of themselves.

When you dropped your loved one off at the facility, you probably imagined that they would receive the best care possible. Unfortunately, abuse and neglect are facts of life at far too many Ohio nursing homes. If you suspect that your loved one is being harmed, you should meet with an experienced Toledo nursing home abuse lawyer for a free consultation.

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Signs of Abuse

Large numbers of seniors are abused each year, but few instances of abuse are ever reported. One explanation is that many residents cannot express what is happening to them. If your loved one has dementia or a critical illness, then they might not be able to communicate, which allows the abuse to go undetected.

However, there are signs of abuse you should be aware of. Abuse can take many forms—physical, chemical, emotional, sexual, and financial. You should be on the lookout for some of the most common signs:

  • Unexplained injuries or bruises. These could be signs of physical abuse.
  • Unresponsiveness. Your loved one might be receiving drugs to make him or her more manageable. This is called “chemical restraint.”
  • Emotional withdrawal or fear. These behaviors are signs that your loved one is being emotionally abused.
  • Sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) or bruising or bleeding around the genitals. These are signs that someone is sexually abusing a loved one.
  • Sudden changes to a will or trust or unexplained purchases on a credit or debit card. These are signs someone is financially exploiting your loved one.

Sometimes, you might not be sure abuse is happening but are suspicious. For example, your loved one might have broken a bone, but the staff has a plausible explanation that your loved one fell. What should you do?

  • First, you should raise concerns with the management of the nursing home. They should investigate and get back to you. If they don’t, then there is a problem at the facility.
  • Second, try to speak to your loved one alone, without staff present. They might disclose that they are being abused.
  • Third, you can show up at the nursing home at odd hours. If you always visit on Saturday afternoon, show up to visit on a Tuesday evening. You might find that the nursing home appears very different.

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Causes for Nursing Home Abuse

ABUSE IS NEVER ACCEPTABLE AND IN NURSING HOMES, IT HAPPENS FAR TOO OFTEN

Abuse is never acceptable. Any nursing home that tolerates abuse of a resident should be reported to the authorities and investigated. Nursing homes and staff members should also be sued and held legally accountable for their conduct.

There are some common reasons that abuse continues to occur in nursing homes:

  • Nursing homes hire dangerous staff members without doing proper background checks that would uncover criminal violations or examples of past misconduct. These staff members can become angry and assault or otherwise abuse a resident.
  • Staff members develop a chemical dependence such as a drug addiction and act out in the workplace.
  • Nursing homes are understaffed and cannot watch all residents. Your loved one might be abused by another resident.

Nursing homes can be responsible for the abuse happening just as much as the individual staff member or resident who slaps, hits, assaults, or steals from your loved one. For example, a nursing home that does not perform proper background checks has been negligent, which could put them on the hook in any lawsuit for any injuries the resident suffers.

Nursing Home Neglect

Neglect is not abuse. Abuse is intentional misconduct, whereas neglect stems from carelessness. But neglect can be every bit as serious as abuse. Neglected residents can suffer malnourishment, illness, physical injury, and even death. Nursing homes are often understaffed or staff makes errors because they are poorly trained. A neglected loved one is at a serious risk of injury.

Here are some of the signs of neglect we advise people to pay attention for:

  • Sudden weight loss
  • Unexplained illness
  • Unkempt rooms
  • Poor hygiene, such as unclipped nails or unwashed hair
  • Residents wandering away from the facility
  • Theft of personal belongings in the facility
  • Pressure sores, particularly advanced or recurring ones

We encourage concerned family members to take neglect just as seriously as they do abuse. Raise issue with nursing home management and don’t rest until you get answers.

Reporting Nursing Home Abuse in Ohio

If one resident is being abused or neglected in a facility, you can be sure they are not alone. Others are probably suffering in silence as well. By reporting the abuse, you can tip off the state to investigate and obtain valuable peace of mind.

You should also report abuse to the Ohio Department of Health, Bureau of Long-Term Care, Complaint Unit. The Bureau will forward your complaint to the appropriate regional office for investigation.

You can also call the state’s Attorney General to report abuse by visiting the website. Your complaint is confidential.

Compensation for Nursing Home Abuse

 

Any loved one being abused can bring a lawsuit for compensation for the injuries they have suffered. Of course, as concerned family members, you might be the one to contact an attorney, which is okay. An experienced Toledo nursing home abuse attorney can swing into action to protect your loved one’s rights.

Any abused resident can receive compensation for the following:

  • Medical care to treat the consequences of the abuse. For example, your loved one might need surgery, prescription drugs, rehabilitation, and therapy to recover.
  • Pain and suffering. Every bodily injury reduces the quality of a person’s life.
  • Emotional distress. Abuse is a traumatic event. Many residents could develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suffer from intense anxiety, depression, or anger. This emotional distress warrants compensation.
  • Burial and funeral expenses, if your loved one died as a result of the abuse.

The amount of compensation depends on several factors, with every case being unique. It is best to meet with an attorney to review the appropriate facts and circumstances.

How a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Toledo Can Help Your Case

Nursing homes are big business in Ohio and elsewhere, and they have top-flight law firms to protect their reputations. Any negative publicity often receives an aggressive response. You and your loved one need seasoned nursing home abuse lawyers in your corner.

Contact Groth & Associates today. We offer a free consultation to those who call (419) 930-3030.

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