Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Arlington
There is never an excuse for elder abuse
When placing a cherished family member in a nursing home, we do so with the expectation that the staff in the facility will care for our loved one with the same level of care and diligence as we would do ourselves. We expect professionalism, respectful treatment, competent medical care, and clean cheerful living conditions.
Unfortunately, efforts to maximize profit by understaffing, employing under-qualified staff, or cutting corners results in dirty, neglectful conditions in which residents don’t receive the care they need. At Brown, Christie & Green, we know all too well that many facilities focus far more on profits than they do the care of their residents. In these facilities, abuse and neglect is not uncommon.
If you have any questions or concerns about the care your loved one is receiving in a nursing home, contact our nursing home abuse lawyer in Arlington.
It can be very easy to miss nursing home abuse because of the expectation of trust for the nursing home to look after and care for their residents.
No one wants to assume the worst of elderly caregivers. However, some profit-seeking facilities set up their staff to fail, and when this happens, neglect and abuse can occur.
Most nursing home and assisted living facilities are for-profit institutions, and though there is nothing wrong with running a for-profit business, an unwavering focus on the bottom line in these institutions is often the cause of unsuitable living conditions for nursing home residents.
Spot a potentially dangerous situation for your loved one by paying close attention to the staff.
- Do they seem stressed out or overworked?
- Does it seem as though there are too few caregivers to adequately meet the needs of the residents?
- Have you found the conditions in the nursing home to be unsanitary or cluttered?
Talk with your loved one about their experiences with the staff.
- Do they have ready access to a caregiver throughout the day?
- Do they wait long if they call for help?
- If your loved one is immobile, is a staff member available to turn them regularly?
- Does your loved one have bedsores?
Very often we consider nursing home care specifically for the purpose of meeting the medical needs of a loved one which we don’t feel qualified to provide.
- Does the staff at your loved one’s nursing home seem qualified to perform the medical procedures and dispense the medication or therapy your loved needs?
- Does your loved one complain about rough or inept treatment from under-qualified staff?
- Has your loved one’s overall health declined since they became a resident in the nursing home?
- Have they mentioned missing medication?
Some underpaid and overworked nursing home staff will feel entitled to take advantage or your elderly loved one financially as well. It is an awful shame and a horrifying crime, but it is a shockingly common one.
- Has your loved one complained of missing cash or jewelry?
- Have you noticed any suspicious activity on their credit report?
- Have any of your loved ones regular bills gone unpaid?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, suspect neglect or abuse. Contact a nursing home lawyer in Arlington with your concerns and observations.
- Resident room is unclean
- Public areas are dark, empty, or unclean
- Cannot easily locate staff for help
- Resident is not properly repositioned
- Resident does not receive help with care and hygiene
Nursing homes have a responsibility to ensure that their facilities are properly staffed, and that staff is properly trained.
Significance of the Problem of Nursing Home Neglect
The significance of nursing home abuse and neglect is tremendous. The population of Americans over 85 is expected to grow to more than 14-million by 2050. That is a tremendous number of Americans needing long-term care, such as that provided by nursing homes.
Unfortunately, the number of Americans suffering abuse or neglect in nursing homes is even more striking. Nursing homes should be places of comfort, care, and rest, but unfortunately, statistics show that across the U.S., there are millions of cases of abuse or neglect every year. Many of the reports of abuse or neglect are very similar in nature to the ones identified in the investigation discussed above.
According to The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center, the most common deficiencies in nursing homes that factor into abuse or neglect include:
- Infection control
- Accident environment
- Food sanitation
- Quality of care
- Unnecessary drugs
- Pharmacy consultation
- Comprehensive care plans
- Clinical records
- Qualified personnel
In addition to these noted deficiencies, it was further noted in 2014 that 20.5 percent, or one in five, facilities had reported deficiencies causing actual harm or jeopardy to residents.
Protecting Your Loved Ones from Abuse and Negligence
In 2014, there were 1.6 million certified beds in nursing homes across the U.S. There are more than 1,200 such facilities in Texas alone. With so many choices, and so many concerns, it can be overwhelming deciding what the best options are for your family. How do you know that you are choosing a stable, safe facility? What about all the ratings and reviews online?
Keeping the most common deficiencies, and your biggest concerns, in mind, here are a few tips that can help you choose a nursing home that will provide your loved one with the quality care that he or she deserves. When visiting prospective nursing homes, consider the following:
- What do you see? Is the facility clean, well maintained, and free from obvious hazards or defects?
- What do you smell? Sometimes there are unavoidable smells in nursing home facilities and an occasional whiff of something unpleasant may not indicate a problem. You should be cautious, however, if there is an overwhelming or persistent smell of urine, feces, or chemicals.
- What do you hear? What sort of interactions do you hear between residents, staff, and nurses? Do you hear yelling, moaning, or other noises that suggest a resident is in pain or not being answered by staff? Are staff members behaving appropriately?
- What are residents doing? Take notice of resident behavior on your visit. It is common to see small groups of residents sitting in public, dining, or activity areas. Are they engaged? Do they seem content? Are staff members keeping an eye on them?
- What is the food like? No one wants to eat food that is tasteless or colorless. Eat a meal while you are there and sample what the facility has to offer. Ask about dietary plans and options for your loved one.
- Are your questions being answered? While touring a prospective nursing home, your questions should be a priority for the staff. Ask questions that are direct and open-ended so you can assess whether the staff is knowledgeable about caring for residents. If your questions are not being answered appropriately, or to your satisfaction, ask to speak to a supervisor or administrator.
Whether you are preparing for you or a loved one to move into a nursing home, or you have concerns about the care currently being provided in a facility, Brown, Christie & Green can help. Contact our nursing home abuse lawyer in Arlington to learn more.