Westminster Nursing Home Lawyer
With more and more baby boomers heading to our nation's nursing homes and assisted living centers, nursing home abuse and neglect are quickly becoming an unfortunate yet common reality. Even affluent communities or nursing homes that have received a good grade on the Medicare web site may not be exceptions. There are thousands of reported incidents of abuse, exploitation and neglect every year in Orange County.
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There are thousands more that go unreported. If you have a loved one in a Westminster nursing home, it is important that you are able to identify the signs and symptoms of neglect and abuse.
If you find that your loved one has been a victim of these situations, you may want to contact a Westminster nursing home abuse lawyer. The attorneys at Bisnar Chase can help you establish where to go from here and help hold the nursing home accountable for their actions.
Signs of Emotional Abuse
Many elderly residents are in emotional pain or distress because of the way they are treated by their caretakers. Emotional abuse may involve shouting or use of threatening language, ridicule and verbal humiliation or blaming the victim for things that are not his or her fault. Passive emotional abuse can include ignoring the resident or isolating him or her for lengthy periods of time.
There are many potential warning signs of emotional abuse. You should be concerned if your loved one:
- Has become non-communicative or withdrawn
- Is exhibiting strange regressive behavior such as biting, sucking or rocking
- Has recently begun exhibiting signs of low self-esteem or depression
- Has become anxious, is quickly agitated or suffers from mood swings
Signs of Physical Abuse
Physical abuse is the non-accidental use of physical force against an elderly person. Unlike emotional abuse, physical abuse can result in visible physical injuries that should raise red flags for the victim's loved ones. Remember, when a patient suffers an injury in a falling accident or some other type of accident, it is the nursing home's legal obligation to inform the family. Therefore, when there are unexplained injuries, it may be a sign of a cover up. Ask to see the medical records and don't be afraid to ask questions. Observable signs of physical abuse include:
- Unexplained physical injuries
- Broken bones
- Bruises that do not appear to be fall-related
- Unexplained, rapid weight loss
- Trauma to the wrist or elbow that may reflect use of physical restraints
- Frozen joints
- Skull fractures
- Broken eyeglasses
Neglect is also a type of abuse that can sometimes be overlooked. Bedsores and or pressure ulcers are a sign of neglect and can be serious or even fatal if left untreated.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
The despicable act of performing non-consensual sexual contact or interaction with an elderly person can, frighteningly enough, happen anywhere and at any time. It is the obligation of all Westminster nursing homes to perform the proper background checks to ensure that they do not hire an employee with a criminal history. Caregivers are in a position of authority and power. Using that position of dominance to perform sexual acts or to force the elderly person to perform such acts is not only morally reprehensible, but it is also criminal.
Signs of sexual abuse may include:
- Genital infections
- Unexplained venereal disease
- Torn or strained underclothing
- Vaginal or anal bleeding
- Bruising around the inner thighs, upper abdomen or breasts
Actions to Take if Abuse is Suspected
If you suspect that abuse has occurred at a Westminster nursing home, it is critical that you file a report with the appropriate authorities. Gather information from witnesses and from workers who may have information about the incident. You will have to report your suspicions to the nursing home administrator, the department of health and the local police, depending on the nature of the abuse. All forms of elder abuse are illegal and care facilities that allow it to occur on their premises should be held liable for their negligence.
An experienced Westminster nursing home abuse lawyer at Bisnar Chase will fight for your rights and help ensure that the negligent parties are held liable for their wrongdoing. Injured victims and their families can also seek financial compensation for the injuries, losses and emotional trauma caused.
If your loved one has been abused or neglected in a Westminster nursing home, please contact us us for a free and comprehensive consultation.