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Financial abuse of the elderly in nursing homes

Though most cases of financial abuse of the elderly occur within the family, sometimes a nursing home caretaker will attempt to exploit a resident. Elderly people are easily taken advantage of financially because they often do not understand how to handle their finances, especially if they suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s. Many older people who are very sick or dying simply do not prioritize their financial health over their physical health, and might not notice suspicious withdrawals or forged checks.

Understanding the nature of financial abuse, the warning signs, and the consequences can better equip you to fight against it. This article will outline what you need to know about this type of elder abuse.

Nursing home caretakers often forge close relationships with their residents, but sometimes this closeness is only an avenue to exploitation. The elderly people who are most at risk of being taken advantage of are often:

  • Lonely or isolated
  • Grieving the recent loss of a loved one
  • Not well-versed in the specifics of handling money
  • Suffering from a mental or physical disability

There are countless ways the perpetrators can take advantage of their elderly targets, such as:

  • Forging the victim’s signature on checks and depositing them in their own account
  • Deceiving the elderly person into trusting them with their financial assets
  • Convincing the victim to sign a will or deed listing the perpetrator as the one who will be responsible for handling the victim’s assets later on
  • Outright stealing money or possessions

Keeping in touch with your loved one and being vigilant of their bank account activities will do a great amount to prevent this type of exploitation. But if you notice that your loved one seems uncertain of their financial assets, suspicious withdrawals from their accounts, or that some of their property is missing, you might want to begin investigating. Call an attorney for help as soon as you highly suspect that your loved one is being exploited.

Contact a New York nursing home abuse lawyer

If your loved one was taken advantage of financially, the attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP can help you put an end to this mistreatment. We have a long history of handling nursing home abuse cases and understand the emotional stress that comes along with them. We’ll do the legal legwork so your family can focus on healing. Call our office at (212) 779-0057 to discuss your options today.

 


Broken bones in nursing homes

As people get older, their bones naturally become more brittle, especially in those who suffer from osteoporosis. Additionally, older people gradually lose muscle mass, which negatively affects their balance and mobility. These two factors make the elderly more susceptible to falls and more at risk of breaking bones.

Broken bones can usually be avoided in nursing homes if the caretakers are properly trained and acting with care. But too often, caretakers or facilities fail to adequately evaluate residents for the risk of falling when they enter the facility, or they may fail to provide the correct support or assistance the resident needs.

The most common types of broken bones in the elderly are hip, thigh, pelvis, back or vertebrae, arm, hand, ankle or leg fractures. Any one of these injuries could be debilitating or greatly affect a person’s ability to move independently. A broken hip is the most common injury after a fall, so if your loved one suffers from any other type of broken bone, you should probably dig a little deeper into the cause. It might have been a simple accident, or it might have been the result of negligence.

Negligent caretakers might make any of the following mistakes, which could result in a resident’s injury:

  • Leaving clutter and random objects on the floor of the patient’s room where they might trip or slip on them
  • Misdiagnose or ignore the warning signs of osteoporosis
  • Failing to help a resident out of their chair or bed, forcing the patient to attempt to stand on their own
  • Failing to keep the resident’s feet out of harm’s way of wheelchair wheels
  • Improperly lifting the patient into or out of the bed

If your loved one broke a bone while in a nursing home, it is important to first acquire a copy of the medical report made about the injury, then to call a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Contact a New York nursing home abuse lawyer

If your loved one broke a bone while in a nursing home due to abuse or neglect, the New York nursing home abuse lawyers at Hach & Rose, LLP can help.  We understand that nursing home abuse cases are extremely emotionally stressful, so we’ll handle the technicalities while your family focuses on healing. Call us at (212) 779-0057 for a no-obligation consultation today.


Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse in nursing homes

According to the National Council on Aging, about 1 in 10 nursing home residents over the age of 60 have experienced some form of abuse in nursing homes. It is essential to be aware of the various types of abuse older adults experience in nursing homes to protect vulnerable residents better.

Of the seven basic types of elder abuse that, unfortunately, are common in American nursing homes, physical, sexual, and emotional or psychological abuse, is the most prevalent. Neglect, abandonment, financial exploitation, and self-neglect are the other four types.

Thousands of elderly Americans are psychologically and physically abused by their caretakers each year, but knowing the signs of these abuses can prevent it and protect your loved ones.

Physical abuse is one common form of mistreatment that the elderly experience at the hands of their trusted caretakers. They might get physically injured either by intentional or unintentional methods; sometimes, a caretaker is negligent in the way they interact with their patients, sometimes leaving them with bruises or broken bones. Other times, a caretaker will intentionally cause harm to the older adult by kicking, punching, or pushing them. Signs of physical abuse can be easy to spot if the resident has cuts, bruises, broken bones, etc.

Sexual abuse of the elderly, as with anyone else, occurs when they are forced or coerced into a sexual interaction without giving consent. Telltale signs of sexual abuse are bruising and bleeding around the inner thighs and genital area, social withdrawal, bloody undergarments, and problems walking or sitting. It should be noted that people with dementia or Alzheimer’s may not be able to communicate that they have been abused.

Psychological or emotional abuse might manifest as name-calling, humiliation, blocking access to resources, forcing isolation, or making threats. An older adult who is being abused in this way might avoid eye contact, appear withdrawn or scared, exhibit mood swings, or isolate themselves from their friends and family.

Contact a New York nursing home abuse lawyer

If a nursing home caretaker has abused your loved one, turn to a New York nursing home abuse lawyer for assistance in putting an end to this mistreatment. We believe that when you put your elderly loved one in a residential facility, they should receive the highest quality of care. When caretakers breach this boundary of trust, care, and respect, the employee and the facility should face the consequences. Call our office at Hach & Rose, LLP to discuss your options today.


Common nursing home infections

A 2004 National Nursing Home Survey found that nearly 1.5 million elderly Americans live in about 16,000 nursing homes. With crowded nursing homes comes an increased potential of harmful infections spreading. Because the elderly generally have diminished immune systems and because surgery can sometimes cause more harm than good, the spread of an infection could be disastrous in a nursing home. This article outlines the most common infections found in nursing homes and the ways to prevent and treat them.

Often, residents who are moved from one home to another or who were just transferred from a hospital are carriers of diseases unknown to their new nursing home. The most common nursing home infections are:

  • Respiratory infections like pneumonia and influenza
    • Pneumonia is the leading cause of death in nursing home residents, with residents using feeding tubes being at the highest risk of developing it. Elderly patients may manifest symptoms of pneumonia differently than younger patients, so blood tests and x-rays should definitively diagnose it.
  • Soft-tissue and skin infections
    • Infected pressure ulcers, vascular ulcers, and diabetic wound infections are common in nursing home residents, as well as less severe conditions such as skin dryness, redness, and peeling. Pressure ulcers, or bedsores, are unfortunately common in patients who are confined to a bed or wheelchair.
  • Gastroenteritis
    • Norovirus causes dehydration and diarrhea in nursing home patients, which could be fatal if it goes untreated. It can be passed from person to person and through food and water, making it difficult to detect an origin and to prevent it.
  • Urinary tract infections
    • UTIs are incredibly common in nursing home residents with indwelling catheters. The risk of developing a UTI increases each day the catheter remains inserted. Within a month, it is likely that there will be bacteria in the patient’s urine.

Contact a New York nursing home abuse lawyer

If your loved one has developed an infection due to neglect in a nursing home, contact an attorney right away. The New York nursing home abuse attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP are ready to investigate and help put an immediate end to this neglect and dangerous mistreatment. Call our office at (212) 779-0057 or reach out online to schedule your free consultation today.


How to prevent bedsores

Bedsores are alarmingly common in American nursing homes. According to a National Nursing Home Survey performed by the CDC, about 11% of nursing home residents had a pressure ulcer or bedsore. Bedsores occur when a patient is immobile for an extended period and are therefore more common in people with a physical disability, the elderly, and those who use a wheelchair or are confined to bed for most of the day.

Bedsores can be classified into four categories, ranging from least to most severe. The most common type of bedsore is a level two pressure ulcer. These injuries occur on bony parts of the body that experience the most pressure from sitting or lying down, such as your heels, shoulder blades, ankles, hips, and tailbone.

The four stages of pressure ulcers

Level 1: Persistent skin redness

Level 2: Appearance of a blister or abrasion on the skin, indicating deeper tissue damage

Level 3: A deep crater in the skin resulting from a loss of tissue

Level 4: A total loss of skin thickness, revealing muscle or bone

How to prevent bedsores

Many people must stay in bed or a wheelchair for extended periods due to illness, disability, or other reasons. But there are ways to reposition your body to prevent bedsores.

  • If you are in a wheelchair, try distributing your weight differently every 15 minutes, and completely reposition your body every hour. Get help with repositioning if you need it.
  • Using your arms to lift yourself out of your wheelchair every once in a while will reduce your risk of developing bedsores on your tailbone.
  • Select special cushions and mattresses that better distribute your weight and relieve pressure.

Contact a New York nursing home abuse lawyer

If you or a loved one suffered from bedsores as a result of improper nursing home treatment, you might be entitled to compensation for this painful condition. The New York nursing home abuse lawyers at Hach & Rose, LLP represent nursing home residents and families across the state, so call our office at (347) 318-9604 to schedule your no-obligation consultation today.


How can nursing homes predict and prevent falls?

When we send a loved one to a nursing home, we expect that they will receive the highest quality of care and attention from their nurses and caretakers. This includes being vigilant of fall-risk residents and taking preventative measures to reduce the risk of residents falling and injuring themselves. A fall could be debilitating to an elderly resident, leaving them disabled or heavily dependent on others to perform daily tasks.

According to research from the University of Montana, between 50-75% of nursing home residents fall at least once per year, and people who fall usually fall at least twice a year.

The university’s research shows that there are two types of risk factors when it comes to falls in nursing homes: internal and external. Internal risks refer to a resident’s existing health condition, medications they are taking, mental state, etc. External factors are more physical, such as cluttered hallways.

Internal Risk Factors

Nursing home patients are more likely to fall if they exhibit any of these conditions:

  • A history of falls, specifically if they fell in the past couple of months
  • Increased age generally equals increased risk of falling
  • The use of many different prescription drugs to treat one condition
  • Tethers (oxygen machines, IVs, catheters) that could get caught on railing, bed posts, doorknobs, etc.
  • Diminished strength due to loss of muscle mass
  • Osteoporosis (decreased bone density) that could result in serious injury after a fall

How can nursing homes prevent falls?

Nursing homes can choose from a variety of fall-risk tools to assess their residents’ likelihood of falling at some point. These tools can be helpful, especially when used in combination with an individual health assessment of each resident and a familiarity with their history of falls.

The two most effective tools for identifying a resident’s fall risk are the Morse Fall Scale and the Mobility Interaction Fall Chart. The Morse Fall Scale rates a number of items such as a patient’s history of falling, use of aids like a wheelchair, mental status, and gait, then assigns that patient a risk level. The risk level determines what action the staff needs to take to prevent a fall.

The Mobility Interaction Fall Chart includes a medical assessment, rating for cognition and depression, and observation of daily activities.

Contact a New York Nursing Home Attorney

If you or a loved one sustained a fall while living in a nursing home, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP are ready to help you navigate what can be a difficult and stressful litigation process. Call our office at (347) 318-9604 to discuss your rights today.


Why are hip fractures so devastating for elderly people?

We often hear of older relatives or family friends falling and injuring their hips, but many people are not aware that this injury is often devastating for the victim. This article explores the reasons why elderly people are more susceptible to these types of injuries, what complications are associated with hip fractures, and what symptoms to look for. Additionally, you should know that pursuing legal action is an option if you or a loved one sustained a hip injury due to someone else’s carelessness.

Why are the elderly more susceptible to hip fractures?

According to Science Daily, about 300,000 elderly Americans undergo surgery to repair a fractured hip each year. Older people are at a higher risk of falling and breaking their hip because of two factors: brittle bones and lower muscle mass. At least 44 million Americans have low bone density, and 10 million more have osteoporosis. Elderly people also have lower muscle mass, which impairs their mobility and balance, making a fall more likely than in young people.

What health complications are associated with hip fractures?

When someone suffers a hip fracture, they are often left immobile for a long time following surgery due to a long recovery period. This increases their risk of developing blood clots, UTIs, bedsores, and a greater decrease in muscle mass. Additionally, because elderly people have a harder time recovering from serious accidents, the victim will likely become more dependent upon caretakers. They may need to use a walker for an extended period of time and participate in physical therapy to walk again.

Symptoms of Hip Fractures

Seek medical attention immediately if you spot one of these signs on yourself or a loved one:

  • Swelling and stiffness around the hip
  • Inability to put weight on one leg
  • Inability to move one leg
  • One leg looks shorter than the other

Contact a New York hip injury attorney

If you or a loved one sustained a hip injury in a nursing home or another care facility and negligence is to blame, the experienced injury attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP are ready to help you. Call our office at (212) 779-0057 to discuss your options today.


Nursing home abuse and neglect: How to prove negligence

Nursing home abuse cases are especially emotional ones because we expect nursing home employees, managers, and owners to provide our loved ones the best care and attention possible. But when this trust is broken, or if an elderly loved one was injured because of the negligence of a nursing home caretaker, you have the right to file a claim for damages. A personal injury attorney can help you prove harm in a nursing home abuse case and win you the compensation your family deserves.

Taking Legal Action

Should you decide to sue the nursing home at which your loved one was injured, filing a civil lawsuit will be the best route to take. In this case, your lawyer can help you file a complaint with the county or state court clerk. The nursing home will respond to the complaint, and the two parties will enter into the discovery period, during which evidence and witness testimony will be evaluated by each side. Generally, the parties can reach an agreement out of court, but if not, they will go to court to resolve the dispute. Your attorney can represent you in court and present your evidence and argument against the nursing home.

Proving Nursing Home Abuse or Negligence

Proving a nursing home abuse or negligence claim requires demonstrating that the facility’s owners, supervisors, or employees were negligent in some way, and as a result, your loved one suffered harm. The elements that must be present:

  • The nursing home had a responsibility to provide care to the resident
  • The nursing home failed to uphold this responsibility (either by directly abusing the resident or indirectly harming them through negligence)
  • As a result of the home’s breach, the resident suffered lasting harm

Proving these elements is usually an easy hurdle to jump since the home’s duty to care is spelled out in their contract. Your attorney can prove that the resident was harmed by showing medical documents and the injury incident report which should have been made by the nursing home staff.

Additionally, if a resident is being emotionally or physically abused, it is recommended that they document the abuse through diary entries and photographs, which can be used as proof in court.

Contact a New York Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

The experienced nursing home abuse attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP will be ready to help you put an immediate stop to any abuse or neglect suffered by a loved one in a nursing home. Call our office at (212) 779-0057 or reach out to us online to schedule your free consultation today.


New York Nursing Home Impedes Sexual Assault Investigation, Fined $10,000

The New York State Health Department recently fined a Buffalo-area nursing home $10,000 for destroying evidence of an alleged sexual assault that took place at the nursing home. Officials claim that nursing home staff also waited hours before reporting the assault. 

According to a report from The Buffalo News, staff from the Gowanda Rehabilitation and Nursing Center waited more than six hours before reporting the May 29 assault to the police. A 73-year-old male resident sexually assaulted an 88-year-old female resident around 4:30 a.m. on May 29. According to the article, both residents suffer from dementia and the female resident cannot leave her bed without the help of a mechanical lift. 

Nursing home staff members checked in on the female resident after hearing her shout “No” to the man, but decided they didn’t find evidence of a sexual assault. Later, a staff member cleaned the woman and changed her underwear, destroying any evidence that could have been examined by the police. 

The alleged victim’s daughter filed a civil suit against the nursing home’s owners in September, though on Nov. 4 the owners denied responsibility. 

Unfortunately, abuse in nursing homes is relatively common and is generally underreported. According to a study by the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, for every report filed by a victim of nursing home abuse, there are five cases that go unreported. Whether you or a loved one has been the victim of abuse from a nursing home staff member or a fellow resident, there are professional nursing home abuse attorneys who will fight for you, such as the ones at Hach & Rose, LLP. 

Contact a New York Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one have been victimized in a nursing home, contact the experienced nursing home abuse lawyers of Hach & Rose, LLP at (212) 779-0057. We are here to support you through this challenging time, so call us or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation today. We’ll help you understand your rights and legal options, and will help you get the justice you deserve.


Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

In nursing homes, elders deserve to be treated with as much care and respect as any other person in a long-term care facility. Unfortunately, there are too many instances where this is not the case. According to research from the National Institute on Aging, “hundreds of thousands of adults over the age of 60 are abused, neglected, or financially exploited [per year].”

Researchers have estimated that every year, approximately 5 million elders are abused in nursing homes or long-term care facilities. This is particularly true for elders who are made especially vulnerable by disabilities, Alzheimer’s, or dementia. Often times, these elders are seen as “easy targets” for abusive behavior.

Signs of Elder Abuse

Often times, preventing abuse can be as simple as recognizing the signs. Here are some of the most common signs that an elder is being abused in a nursing home or other long-term care facility. An elder may be experiencing abuse if they:

  • Have unexplained bruises, burns, cuts, or scars
  • Develop bedsores or other preventable conditions
  • Have poor hygiene, like unwashed hair or dirty clothing
  • Become depressed and withdrawn
  • Have unexplained weight loss
  • Are afraid to speak in front of an attendant
  • Exhibit signs of trauma, such as rocking back and forth
  • Become violent or agitated easily
  • Stop participating in activities they once enjoyed

Types of Elder Abuse 

There are several different types of abuse that elders can be subject to, including:

  • Physical abuse – a caregiver striking, hitting, pushing, slapping, or otherwise causing bodily harm
  • Emotional or verbal abuse – a caregiver yelling, threatening, repeatedly ignoring, or otherwise harming psychological health
  • Medical neglect or abandonment – a caregiver failing to provide the proper level of care needed in maintaining a patient’s health
  • Sexual abuse – a caregiver forcing or manipulating a patient to participate in unwanted sexual acts
  • Financial abuse – a caregiver stealing from or taking financial advantage of a patient
  • Healthcare Fraud – a caregiver falsifying medical claims or charging for care that was not provided

Contact a New York Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer 

If your loved one has been the victim of abuse within a nursing home or other long-term care facility, you are undoubtedly going through an emotionally difficult and confusing time. You trust these care facilities to provide your loved one with the care and respect they deserve. However, once that trust has been broken, it can be difficult to understand how to move forward.

At Hach & Rose, LLP, our experienced team of nursing home negligence attorneys will support you and guide you through the legal process in obtaining justice on behalf of your loved one.

 


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