New York Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
Choosing to place a loved one in the care of a nursing home is often a long and difficult decision. You will do your best to find a location that will provide an enriching environment and quality care that you are unable to provide on your own. A nursing home is often that best way to ensure that your loved ones have the help they need with daily tasks, receive appropriate medical care, and are as safe as possible in their living environment. With the numerous nursing home reforms put into place over the last decade, these locations have become an increasingly positive and helpful environment that is the right choices for many people and their family.
Unfortunately, however, many nursing homes across the country still face significant problems regarding nursing home abuse and neglect, as these locations still create environments that leave the elderly vulnerable to their caretakers. At Hach & Rose, LLP, we take nursing home abuse seriously. We consider it to be one of the most reprehensible and preventable failings of our elder care system. The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is one of the most daunting decisions a family has to make. The primary concern is to make sure the needs of your loved one are attended to with care, skill, and respect. While there are many outstanding facilities, the risk of deficient care is very real.
The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates at least one in 20 nursing home patients has been the victim of negligence and/or abuse, though it concedes that the number is probably higher. A New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence study found that, for every known case of elder abuse, another 24 cases occurred, but were not reported. According to the NCEA study, 57 percent of nurses’ aides in long-term care facilities admitted to having witnessed or participated in acts of negligence and abuse. Even when the consequences are not fatal, nursing home negligence robs victims of their dignity and sense of security. If your loved one has suffered abuse or other indignities in a nursing home, contact the New York nursing home abuse lawyers of Hach & Rose, LLP, at (212) 779-0057 today.
Our attorneys have achieved the following results:
- $6 million Jury Verdict for woman injured in a long term care facility
- $2 million bed sore verdict
- $350,000 bed sore settlement
Understanding Nursing Home Abuse
If you have chosen to utilize the benefits of a nursing home, you should be aware of signs of abuse. Common signs of nursing home abuse include the following:
- Physical neglect, including bedsores, may indicate the nursing home staff fails to provide residents with the necessities of daily living
- Residents who suffer from frequent falls, which can indicate that they may not be receiving adequate oversight from the nursing home staff, or they may be victims of poorly maintained equipment or facilities
- Withdrawal or isolation can be a sign that staff is failing to provide a nursing home resident with adequate assistance or attention.
- Frequent infections could mean that nursing home staff is failing to follow proper hand washing techniques.
- Unexplained weight changes
- Poor hygiene
- Frequent infections or illnesses
- Sudden changes in mood or increased irritation
- Staff members refusing to leave the room during visitation
Abuse often goes unnoticed as many victims are unwilling come forward on their own, either out of fear of the abuser or embarrassment. Additionally, the abuser may take great care to hide their behavior around family or friends. These signs are often subtle and may be difficult to determine definitively as abuse. An experienced attorney may be able to help you understand if the signs you have noticed indicate abuse, and if you are able to make a legal case against the nursing home or staff member responsible. The sooner you identify a potential problem with a nursing home, the earlier you can file a compelling lawsuit that may help put an end to unlawful actions by the nursing home staff.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse can manifest through a wide variety of abuses or outright neglectful behavior from doctors and staff. Nursing home residents’ concerns and requests need to be taken seriously, but there are times when nursing home staff are unwilling or unable to address their needs. This can tragically lead to the nursing home resident suffering injuries when they should be well taken care of. Some of the common forms that nursing home abuse takes include the following:
Bedsores, also known as pressure sores, are a surprisingly common result of nursing home neglect. When a patient is bedridden and unable to move, they will need a member of the nursing home’s staff to roll them over every few hours according to medical guidelines and regulations. If they are not moved for extended periods of time, patients can develop painful bedsores. These sores can lead to serious consequences, including bruising, blisters, nerve damage, tissue death, and, in the most extreme cases, sepsis, and bone infections.
Bedsores are solely a result of nursing home neglect. Patients who are attended to well simply do not develop this condition. If your loved one has bedsores, it is important to bring it to the nursing home’s attention. You may also want to seriously consider taking legal action, as it can help combat the pattern of allowing bedsores to occur.
Nursing homes exist so that their residents receive the attention they need in their old age. Their entire reason for existing is to provide care and living assistance to the residents who can no longer do it all on their own. This is why negligence in nursing homes is utterly inexcusable. Negligence can take many forms and may lead to malnutrition, dehydration, bedsores, and missed medication.
Separate from neglect, where a resident’s needs are ignored, abuse is characterized by the active mistreatment of nursing home residents. This, of course, runs counter to a nursing facility’s mission and cannot be allowed to stand. Some of the more common forms of abuse include:
- Physical Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Psychological Abuse
- Financial Abuse
If your loved one has shown signs of being abused, you should take action as soon as possible. The New York City nursing home abuse attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP can help you determine who is at fault and whether or not they can be held accountable for your loved one’s suffering.
Cases of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse is an umbrella term that may be used to describe physical and emotional abuse, or simply neglect. It may be difficult for someone without a background knowledge about nursing home abuse to understand the full extent of the abuse an individual is facing. For an example of several different types of abuse, imagine a man in his late 70’s with severe dementia experiencing recognizable neglect and abuse from his caretakers. They leave him in his room, with the doors locked, for hours at a time. When they do not return in time to help him relieve himself, they humiliate and taunt him for being covered in urine. These caretakers also prevent him from receiving social contact with other residents, which has caused the man to become severely depressed. Because of his dementia, he is unable to remember or relate all the details of what happened to him.
In a case such as this, family members may be able to immediately recognize the caretaker’s unacceptable neglect due to their previously-cheerful loved one’s depressed demeanor; however, elderly patients who cannot speak, remember, or move may not exhibit any obvious signs of abuse. Identifying a variety of abuses that your loved one has faced not only ensures that all abusive behavior is put to an end, but it can also help them receive additional compensation for the further suffering they have endured. An experienced nursing home abuse lawyer at Hach & Rose, LLP is prepared to recognize the signs of abuse in even the most complex scenarios.
Contact a New York Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Nursing home abuse is a complex and emotional topic that is devastating for any family to face, but you do not have to do it alone. Our tough attorneys are dedicated to ensuring that the victims of nursing home abuse receive justice and appropriate compensation for their suffering. Hach & Rose, LLP have over 100 years of combined legal experience, which will allow us to provide you with the professional legal advice you need. You do not have to suffer from nursing home abuse any longer. Contact us at (212) 779-0057 today.
John Blyth interviewed about nursing home abuse on Today’s Verdict
Nursing Home Abuse FAQs
How can I tell for sure if abuse is occurring?
It can often be a difficult task to determine if abuse is affecting physically- or emotionally-injured elderly nursing home residents. This difficulty is a reason many abusers target them in the first place. The elderly are more susceptible to bruises, cuts, and other small injuries that may occur from everyday activity. However, these wounds can also be signs of abuse. To better determine when abuse is occurring, make note of the severity and frequency with which these injuries occur. Also look for other signs that might appear in conjunction with bruises and scrapes. Other signs of abuse include bedsores, a retreat from social activities, symptoms of depression, and other sudden or strange changes of behavior. Looking at all of these signs of abuse over time will help you better determine if abuse is occurring.
In what ways do caretakers take advantage of the elderly?
Caretakers are unfortunately some of the most common abusers of the elderly in nursing homes. In many situations, the people that you and your loved one trust the most are the very ones taking advantage of their charges. Many caretakers abuse their position of authority, the fact that their patients are often at a physical or mental disadvantage, and their access to patient’s personal and valuable belongings. In a lot of cases, victims of elder abuse in nursing homes avoid incriminating their caretakers due to fear of disbelief or retaliation. Some victims who experience memory loss may not be able to identify their abuser. Those that take advantage of the elderly in these situations are committing serious crimes and should be brought to justice for their actions.
What should I do if I suspect abuse is occurring?
If you suspect that abuse is occurring, you should first talk to your loved one about it. They may be reluctant or unwilling to disclose facts about their abuse, so you may not always get the true, definitive answer you are looking for. Unless you believe there is immediate danger, you should discuss the situation with the nursing home supervisor. If action is not taken and you believe abuse is continuing to occur, you should contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney and file an official complaint with the appropriate state agency. Your attorney can advise you of what steps to take next, which may involve removing your loved one from that home, collecting evidence, and going to court.
Why Should I Seek Legal Help?
When facing an abuser of any kind, it can be very difficult for the victim or their loved ones to make an impact on the situation. This is particularly true of nursing homes, which often aim to protect their reputation more than their residents. The lawyers at Hach & Rose, LLP know the underhanded tactics that nursing homes use to get out of lawsuits, and we are prepared to make sure they face the consequences of their actions. We will help you gather the necessary information to prove the nursing home’s abusive behaviors and will then build a case in your favor. The advice and assistance of a lawyer will not only make creating your case a simpler process, but it will also increase your chances of winning your case and bringing an end to this injustice.
What is My Case Worth?
You may question whether it is worthwhile to take your case of nursing home abuse to court if you were able to stop the abuse. However, in many cases, you or your loved one may be able to receive compensation for the suffering you have endured. This may be able to reduce any financial burden caused by an abusive situation. Additionally, it may help relocate the elderly individual involved to a better facility or pay for a different form of care. Damages that are most commonly recoverable in cases of elder abuse include:
- Loss of quality of life
- Past and future medical expenses
- Wrongful death
- Punitive damages against the facility or staff member at fault
In past cases, victims of nursing home abuse have received thousands of dollars in compensation, depending on the severity and extent of the case. This money can help begin the healing process of recovering from an abusive environment.
How can I find the right nursing home?
When selecting a nursing home, it is important to find a facility that suits the health needs of you or your family member. Some of the things you may want to consider when choosing a nursing home include:
- Compile a list of potential nursing homes within traveling distance.
- Speak to friends, neighbors, senior groups, and social groups about potential facilities
- Check the Medicare and Medicaid website for a list of certified nursing facilities
- Determine the facility’s proximity to family members and friends so that visits can be as frequent as possible
- Make an unannounced visit to the facility to determine the general feel of the place. Ask questions:
- Is the atmosphere friendly?
- How does the staff treat residents?
- Is the facility clean?
- How is the temperature?
- How is the food?
- What steps are taken in the event of a medical emergency?
- Are there trained medical professionals on staff?
- Where is the nearest hospital to the facility?
- After the unscheduled walk-through, set up an appointment with the facility’s administrator to ask questions regarding visitation, meals, hiring practices, and staff requirements.
- Finally, try to determine the overall quality of life of the residents. Does the facility provide social events? Opportunities to interact with friends and other residents?