Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in San Antonio

Advocates for Your Loved One in a Nursing Home

Many nursing home residents lack the ability to advocate for themselves.  Their weakened state of health or diminished mental capacity leaves them unable to stand up for themselves when their caregivers do not provide adequate care.  At Brown, Christie & Green, our nursing home abuse lawyer in San Antonio advocates for nursing home residents and their families.

An unfortunate fact is that nursing home abuse occurs frequently in Texas, and in facilities across the U.S.  At Brown, Christie & Green, our nursing home abuse lawyer in San Antonio can help you if you are concerned about your loved one’s care, health, or legal rights.

If you have a loved one who lives in a nursing home, and you are concerned, consider these tips.

  1. Communicate – Forewarned is forearmed.  Make sure your loved one knows you have the name and number of a reputable nursing home abuse lawyer in San Antonio if the worst should happen.  Keep up a dialogue with your loved one about their experience in the nursing home.  Ask them if they feel they have enough to eat, if their living space is clean, and whether they have any new injuries.  Talk to them about the staff, and find out who they like and dislike, and find out why.  Staying tuned-in to your loved one’s experience will help you quickly identify any potential problems.
  1. Know the Warning Signs – Keeping up communication will familiarize you with your loved one’s experience in the nursing home, so it will be easier to notice sudden changes in mood or behavior.  Sudden bouts of crying, frequent complaining, and irritable conversation should all be taken very seriously as a sign of a problem – potentially even an early warning sign of abuse.  Of course, always be vigilant for any new injuries or falls. Keep tabs on your loved one’s overall health.  If the concerns start to pile up, be ready to take action.
  1. Make a Plan – Discuss with your loved one exactly what to expect if you ever suspect they are being abused or neglected.  Make sure they know that you will act swiftly and decisively to get them out of harm’s way.  Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer in San Antonio who will be familiar with the facility and any history of complaints or deficiencies the facility may have.  The attorney will give you detailed instructions on the best ways to gather information to support your accusations and keep your loved one safe in the future.

Looking out for a loved one in a nursing home is serious responsibility. Many nursing home residents will fail to report incidents of abuse because of fear of retaliation or embarrassment.   Don’t hesitate to contact a nursing home abuse attorney in San Antonio if your loved one shows any warning signs of abuse.

Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
  • Unexplained physical injuries
  • Sudden change in mood or behavior
  • Malnutrition or dehydration
  • Sudden change in financial situation
  • Poor hygiene or personal cleanliness

Victims of nursing home abuse need you to advocate for them to separate them from potentially dangerous situations.

What Families Need to Know about Nursing Home Falls

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1,800 nursing home patients die each year from fall-related injuries.  Those who survive may sustain injuries or temporary or permanent disability.

With more than 1.4 million adults age 65 and over in the United States, the concern over abuse or neglect in nursing homes is steadily growing.  About 5 percent of these individuals are living in nursing homes. However, 20 percent of fall-related deaths involve nursing home patients.

What are the most common causes of falls in nursing homes?

  • Muscle Weakness and Difficulty Walking – Most elderly adults who reside in nursing homes may already be experiencing muscle weakness, difficulty walking, joint pain, or other debilitating ailments, diseases, or conditions that may hinder their ability to live on their own, thus requiring assistance.  Muscle weakness and walking difficulties account for 24 percent of nursing home falls.
  • Safety Hazards – Safety or environmental hazards can be attributed to 15-27 percent of nursing home falls.  Putting in grab bars, raising toilet seats, removing debris or hazards, installing handrails, lowering bed heights, and maintaining the facility may help to eliminate hazards that make falls more common.  Some of these hazards include:
    • Wet floors
    • Debris or hazards in stairways and hallways
    • Broken equipment
    • Incorrect bed height
    • Poor lighting
    • Broken fixtures
    • Malfunctioning wheelchairs
  • Improper Transfer In and Out of Bed – Nursing home staff should be properly trained in assessing residents and maintaining safety.  This includes proper training and experience in transferring residents to and from various locations, such as to and from bed, assistance in the restroom, and transferring to different rooms or locations.
  • Understaffing – Unfortunately, many nursing homes are way understaffed and do not have enough help to effectively execute proper procedures and protocols that can ensure resident safety.
  • Improper Training of Staff – It is important that nursing homes train staff on assessing residents for fall risk, in addition to educating staff about fall prevention and response strategies.
  • Forgetting to Lock Wheelchair Wheels – Staff should always lock wheelchair wheels appropriately. The risk of injury or falls related to wheelchairs increases significantly if a nursing home resident is suffering from a cognitive disorder, such as dementia.  It is also important, however, for staff to regularly monitor residents and make sure that independent residents are locking wheelchair wheels.
  • Over-medicating – Fall-related injuries tend to occur more often in residents who are taking sedatives or anti-anxiety medications, as these drugs affect the central nervous system, thus increasing the risk of fall-related injuries.

Many nursing home falls can be prevented if caregivers are properly trained and act in accordance with the standards of care. If your loved one has suffered a fall in a nursing home, and you are concerned that it is due to negligence, abuse, or neglect, contact our nursing home abuse lawyer in San Antonio to take action and ensure your loved one is protected.

Common Frequently Asked Questions

Are nursing homes really safe?

Deciding to place a family member in a nursing home can be a difficult choice to make. We want what is best for our loved ones, and sometimes placing them in a nursing home is our only option. That is why it is important to conduct thorough research on nursing homes and facilities as some provide greater quality of care, supervision, and dedication. Nursing homes are not always unsafe, but you must regularly monitor the treatment of care that your loved one is receiving.

How can I ensure my loved one is properly cared for?

The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care offers the following advice for families and caregivers:

  • Make Unannounced Visits: One of the best ways for you to determine if something is amiss at your loved one’s nursing home residence is by making unannounced visits. Visit at different times of day, different days of the week, and at different intervals.  This will give you a good idea of staffing and will provide a varied look at your loved one’s mental and physical wellbeing.
  • Report Problems Immediately: If you have concerns about your loved one’s care, don’t delay in reporting problems to nursing home staff or administrators. Document your concerns, and if no action is taken, send documentation to supervisors in writing, and request a meeting in person.
  • Get Outside Help: After addressing your concerns to staff and supervisors or administrators, if you feel like nothing is being done, it is time to seek outside help. Contact a local advocacy group, Ombudsman, or Adult Protective Services (APS) and file a report or complaint about your concerns.

What should I do if I believe a loved one is being abused or neglected by a nursing home?

If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected by nursing home staff members, there are several options to open an investigation. First, if there are physical signs of abuse or neglect, you can always call 911. Most jurisdictions also have a specific organization designed to handle elder abuse cases, known as Adult Protective Services (APS). In addition to these actions, it is also recommended that you consult with an attorney who is skilled in elder abuse and nursing home laws.