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New Jersey Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
How A New Jersey Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Can Help
Nursing home abuse should NEVER happen. It should not be overlooked; it should not be accepted. The people subjected to this type of abuse are vulnerable and cannot “fight back” against their aggressors.
Protect your loved one and speak with a NJ injury attorney at Rosengard Law Group. The initial consultation is FREE, and there is never any obligation.
Accusations of abuse should be thoroughly investigated. If you believe that abuse is happening, we encourage you to document what you know and contact a NJ nursing home abuse attorney at the Rosengard Law Group.
The first thing we will do when we represent your loved one in a nursing home abuse case is to notify the proper authorities that an abuse allegation has occurred. Once the state has been notified and the allegations have been officially documented, we will begin our investigation and build a case.
As we build the case, we will notify the nursing home that we intend to file a lawsuit against them for nursing home neglect. Once these homes are notified, most will want to negotiate a settlement.
Warning Signs That Abuse May Be Taking Place In A Nursing Home
When you have a loved one in a nursing home, you must observe the care that they are receiving. When a patient claims abuse or neglect, it is overlooked by the staff as dementia or being related to old age.
Do not overlook anything that you see, smell, or “feel” when visiting your loved one. Using your senses and your “gut feeling” can help you protect those you love.
Seeing a loved one in a fragile state or suffering from dementia or similar illnesses can be overwhelming. The anguish you feel often overtakes your senses, and you might not notice some signs of abuse.
Some of the more common signs that nursing home abuse or neglect is taking place includes:
- Emotional withdrawal from family
- Broken or fractured bones
- Infections or diseases that can not be accounted for
- Patient grows quiet or withdrawn when an employee enters the room
- Changes in financial status, unpaid bills, empty bank accounts
- Changes to Power of Attorney or Will
Always take the time to observe the physical, emotional, and mental state of your loved one when they are in a nursing home. Even if you do not see something obvious, do not hesitate to investigate further if you suspect something wrong is taking place.
Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Abuse can come in many forms, especially when the target of that abuse is in a fragile state. Understanding the most common forms of nursing home abuse will allow you to spot any forms of abuse taking place at the facility where your loved one is staying.
Physical Neglect and Abuse
Physical abuse can take many forms in a nursing home. For instance, not moving a patient regularly can cause bedsores to form. All patients need to be moved regularly. Another common form of physical abuse is restraining patients.
Some nursing homes will state that they have restrained a patient for their own protection. In reality, they have restrained the patient from keeping them in one place so that they do not have to provide them the attention they need.
Overmedicating or under medicating a person can have serious physical effects on the person. Some nursing homes will use chemical medications to make a patient sleepy all the time, so they will not demand any attention or care.
Forced feeding can occur in a nursing home setting as well. Patients, regardless of age or frailty, still have foods they like and do not like. Forcing them to eat foods that they do not like is abusive, and it is something that should never happen.
It is your right to question ANYTHING that you feel is not normal in the nursing home setting. If, after further investigation, you believe that abuse is taking place, contact a New Jersey nursing home abuse lawyer at Rosengard Law Group.
We have experience in this area of personal injury law and can help access the situation and provide you with the course of action that should be taken.
Verbal abuse is a type of emotional abuse, and sadly it is common in a nursing home setting.
Nursing home personnel who shout at patients, make insults, treat the patient with sarcasm or degrading speech, or use vulgar language are verbally abusive.
Mental abuse can also occur when staff members use tactics to keep a patient isolated from other patients or their family members. This type of “punishment” is often used to make the patient more complacent and less demanding.
Being afraid to ask for help or care when needed can lead to other medical conditions. Patients often become dehydrated or suffer from malnutrition because they are afraid to ask for anything from the staff. Infections can also occur because the patient will not ask for help when necessary.
If your loved one acts strangely, recoils, or tries to change the subject when you ask about their care, this may be a warning sign that emotional abuse occurs.
DO NOT overlook this type of behavior. Start taking notes, do some investigating, and check in with us to see if we need to intervene.
Some nursing homes have employees that help patients pay their bills. If this is the situation that your loved one is in, make sure that their finances are in order.
If you start seeing bills being paid late or not at all, payments being made to strange names or unusual services, or if deposits are missing, make sure that you take action. Contact us and we’ll help you contact the correct authorities.
Additionally, make sure that your loved one has not been coerced into changing their Power of Attorney or the contents of their Will to employees at the nursing home. Sadly, some less than respectable people will try to take over the finances of people in a nursing home to take advantage of their money and credit lines.
It is hard to believe that sexual abuse could occur in a nursing home setting. Sadly it does. The patient may be too weak or too afraid to fight back on the sexual conduct. Even worse, they may feel ashamed of what has happened to them, and they will not tell anyone what has occurred.
Sexual abuse can be physical abuse or can also be emotional. Subjecting the patient to emotional, sexual abuse is just as traumatic to the patient.
Sexual abuse can occur by staff members, other patients, or visitors to the center. Whoever caused the abuse, the nursing home is obligated to protect the patient from all other people who are in the facility.
Neglect is any type of action that is harmful to the patient.
This can include insufficient care, which causes bedsores, not cleaning a patient well enough to prevent infections, or transmitting diseases or infections because of not having good hygiene practices.
Dehydration, malnutrition, and starvation are all forms of neglect. Forced restraints, whether by physical or chemical means, is neglect. Failing to provide medications promptly is neglect.
Some of the things that are happening to your loved one may be hard to distinguish as abuse but if you look closely you will discover the truth. Not everything can be attributed to age or mental condition. There are signs of abuse if you look.
If you believe that your loved one is being abused in a nursing home in New Jersey, call a New Jersey Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer for a free consultation.
Different Grounds For Filing A Nursing Home Abuse Complaint
When a nursing home or one of its employees has been negligent and harmed a patient, the nursing home can be held responsible for those actions.
The nursing home can also be held responsible for additional negligent actions that harmed the patient. Some of the additional claims include:
Understaffing the Facility
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), a nursing home should be staffed at a ratio of one staff member for every two patients. The CDC finds this an acceptable level of care.
When you visit the facility, you should look to see if it is well staffed. An understaffed facility can lead to neglect and abuse. If you continually see a shortage of employees, begin to take notes and watch for other signs of trouble.
This is a very high-demand position. If the staff is being overworked, it will lead to mistakes and heightened emotional states for the employees. This can lead to neglect and abuse.
Nursing homes are required to perform background checks on employees before offering employment. This allows the facility to decline to employ people who may have abusive past employment experiences.
Facilities are also required to make sure that the people they hire have the right educational backgrounds and necessary experience for the position that they will assume. Hiring under-skilled or untrained staff members can lead to neglect.
Once a position is accepted, the care facility should provide any training the employee needs to do their job at that facility. They should also make sure that the employee seeks any additional training or continued training to keep their position.
All nursing homes are required to have a doctor on staff at all times of the day and have access to specialists. This can be overlooked at many facilities that just have a doctor-on-call.
While it is an accepted practice that most care received at a nursing home is through the nursing staff, a doctor must be available at all times.
Improper medications can mean giving a patient the wrong medicine, the wrong dosage, or giving medication at the wrong time. Many medications require that they are administered at a specific time each day or spaced apart from other medications to work properly. Failure to administer these drugs at the prescribed time can lead to harm.
Since many elderly people take several medications each day, as their loved ones, it is important that you track their medications and regularly check with the nursing home to make sure that there are no changes and that each medication is being dispensed regularly.
Breach of Statutory or Regulatory Rights of Patients
Patients have the right to dignity, autonomy, and privacy.
Any violation of these fundamental rights by the staff or through the nursing home’s policies is a form of negligence.
Third Party Responsibility Claims
Nursing homes are responsible for the actions of any person that enters their property. This includes vendors, delivery drivers, sales reps, visiting medical professionals, staff members, family members, or visitors of other patients.
If a visitor’s harm comes to any person in the facility, the nursing home is responsible for those actions.
In addition to these actions, your NJ nursing home neglect lawyer at Rosengard Law Group may find other areas where the nursing home has acted negligently.
Special Note To Family Members
It is not unusual for nursing homes to try to blame the alleged abuse on the patient. They will say their mental health or cognitive skills lead them to believe that they are being abused. Blaming a person with dementia for being abused is just absurd.
We encourage all family members to document everything they see happening at the nursing home with dates and times. This helps us build a solid case on behalf of your loved one.
The only accurate way to describe nursing home abuse is evil—plain and simple evil.
The thought of abusing someone frail and unable to defend themselves is such an atrocity that we find it difficult to even write about this matter.
Nursing home abuse has become so prevalent that families often struggle to find ways to keep their loved ones out of these care facilities on the chance that they may be harmed.
Good nursing homes provide much-needed attention and medical care for our loved ones. But it is hard to know which are good and which are bad.
Nursing home abuse should never happen, and it must be stopped. The best way to stop this abuse is to bring direct attention to the situation by bringing a lawsuit against the aggressors. It is the only way to help protect the frailest members of our society.
Stop nursing home abuse now against your loved one, yourself, or others by speaking with a New Jersey nursing home abuse lawyer at Rosengard Law Group.
We provide FREE consultations and will answer all of your questions about this most disturbing type of situation.