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Physical Abuse in Nursing Homes

How a nursing home abuse lawyer can help break the cycle of elder abuse

It is a sad fact of life that the nursing homes many families rely upon to provide care for their elderly family members have been known to commit acts of elder abuse against those who have been placed under their care. On this page the nursing home abuse attorney at the Doan Law Firm will review your legal options if you suspect that a family member may have been the victim of such abuse.

Signs of possible nursing home physical abuse

Physical abuse of nursing home residents can be difficult to detect because residents are prone to accidents that result in falls and/or bruising without any abuse occurring. However, there are certain physical signs that, lacking a reasonable explanation, are suggestive that abuse may have occurred.

These signs include, but are not limited to:

  • behavioral changes that are only observed when certain staff members, or even other residents, are present
  • use of physical restraints without good reasons
  • use of medications to “chemically restrain” a resident
  • unusual bruising on body surfaces that would not be injured during falls
  • unexplained burns
  • falls that are only witnessed by certain employees

There are many other reasons to suspect physical abuse in nursing home residents than the few listed here. If the explanations provided by members of the nursing home staff seem too simplistic, or are not otherwise satisfactory, it may be necessary to have an independent investigator make an unannounced visit to the nursing home to evaluate a family member’s concerns.

How to stop physical abuse in nursing homes

Those responsible for the physical abuse of nursing home residents have mastered the dubious art of excuse-making. In fact, many nursing home abuse investigators have stated that they have never met an abuser who admitted that they had no reason to abuse those under their care other than the fact that the “old so and so had it coming.” These abusers honestly seem to believe that nursing home residents exist solely for the abuser’s entertainment rather than as human beings that have the same needs as any other members of society.

If you have reason to suspect that a family member who is a resident of a nursing home may be the victim of abuse, or any type of mistreatment at the hand of a nursing home staff member, you have both the moral and the legal duty to act on your suspicions. In fact, your duty to act is no different than your duty to act if you have reason to suspect that is child is being abused!

When you suspect that a nursing home resident has been the victim of physical abuse, your first action must be to remove the elderly from danger. If the nursing facility seems reluctant to take such measures, request that they place you in touch with your state’s Department of Adult Protective Services. By law, a nursing home must comply with this request lest it find itself in danger of losing its eligibility to receiver federal funding through the Medicare program.

If your elderly family member has been a victim of abuse from a nursing home staff member, or even from another resident, you also have the legal right to file a lawsuit against the nursing home operator. It does not matter if the nursing home operator was aware, or was not aware, that abuse was taking place. The common law is quite clear on this matter: the nursing home should have been aware of the abuse if it was monitoring the resident’s well-being.

When it has been proven that a nursing home resident has been abused the victim, or the victim’s legally-appointed guardian, should contact the nursing home abuse lawyer at the Doan Law Firm to arrange a free, no obligation, review of the circumstances of their loved one’s case to arrive at a decision as to what legal options should be pursued against the abuser and the nursing home.

At the Doan Law Firm, your first consultation with our nursing home abuse lawyer is always free and does not obligate you to use our firm should you decide to file a lawsuit against the nursing home. If you should decide that a lawsuit is in order, we will accept responsibility for all fees and expenses that are necessary for us to prosecute your case in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of the final settlement that we will win for you.

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