Dallas Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
Do you suspect your aging loved one may have experienced abuse or neglect in an elder-care facility? Elderly persons who find themselves in the care of a nursing home facility are often no longer able to look out for their own safety and well-being and may be seen as vulnerable targets when living in a nursing home environment. If you suspect your elderly loved one may be experiencing neglect or abuse, don’t ignore your concerns.
If some aspects of the care provided by the nursing home’s staff or a sudden change in your family member’s behavior raise your suspicions, you should act without delay to protect your loved one from any physical and emotional mistreatment they may have been subjected to.
Our professional team at The Barber Law Firm can appoint an experienced nursing home abuse attorney that can get you the help you need.
NOT SURE IF IT’S ABUSE? LEARN THE COMMON TYPES OF ELDER ABUSE
Since abuse allegations are extremely serious, many families may feel reluctant to contact an attorney about their concerns. For example, if you have never dealt with elder abuse before, you may be unsure what it entails and whether the treatment your family member experienced qualifies as such.
To put it simply, nursing home abuse entails all kinds of actions or negligence on the part of the facility staff that may result in harm, pain, or injury to an elderly resident. Below, you will find a list of the most common kinds of mistreatment often found in nursing home abuse cases. The descriptions can help you decide whether you may have a basis for taking legal action against an elder care facility.
Physical Abuse or Neglect
Physical abuse can include the use of physical force or violence resulting in injury to an elderly person. Physical abuse can be both active – where the abusers actions directly cause pain and injury – or passive, where an elder suffers harm due to negligence on the part of the staff. Examples of neglect include failure to provide adequate medical attention or to attend to a resident’s basic needs such as water, food or personal hygiene.
Mental and Emotional Abuse
Mental and emotional abuse doesn’t leave visible damage and may therefore be more difficult to recognize than physical abuse. Yet, the pain caused by this kind of mistreatment is as real as any wound resulting from physical violence. It can be defined as any action that may cause emotional suffering to an elderly resident.
Emotional abuse may be verbal or non-verbal. Verbal abuse includes shouting or yelling at residents as well as hurling threats or insults. Non-verbal emotional abuse may include intimidation, manipulation or acting in a way that deprives a resident of their sense of self-worth and dignity. Common examples include ignoring the victim, isolating them other residents, taking away personal items, and treating them as if they were a child.
An especially despicable form of nursing home abuse, sexual abuse of an elderly person describes any non-consensual and unwanted sexual or physical contact with a resident. It includes rape, sexual assault, forced nudity, and unwanted touching.
Elder financial abuse involves scams, fraud or exploitation of an elder with an intent to gain access to and take advantage of their valuable personal belongings or financial assets. Common examples of elder financial abuse include identity theft, predatory loans or dubious financial arrangements such as pyramid schemes.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE ELDER ABUSE
To prevent your aging loved one from experiencing any further emotional or physical harm at the hands of nursing home staff, it’s important to recognize symptoms that may indicate your senior loved one has fallen victim to nursing home abuse.
While some signs may be obvious, there are many signs that may be more discreet. Signs that you need a nursing home abuse attorney include:
- Unusual bruising
- Burns or abrasions
- Open wounds/bed sores
- Torn or bloodied clothing
- Hair loss
- Poor hygiene
- Unexplainable sudden change in weight
- Sudden changes in mood or personality
- Detachment and apathy
- Loss of personal items
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU SUSPECT ELDER ABUSE
Even the most pristine and organized nursing home facilities can employ hostile and abusive workers that should not be caring for the elderly. If you have identified signs of abuse or are concerned about the treatment of your loved one, speak with the management of the facility. If the management fails to address your concerns and your elderly loved one continues to show signs of abuse, call a nursing home abuse attorney right away. An experienced abuse attorney can analyze the details of your situation, inform you of your legal options and help you to take appropriate actions to protect your loved one from suffering any further harm.
COMMON FACTORS LEADING TO A CLAIM
While the circumstances involving each nursing home abuse case are different, what follows are some common problems many eldercare facilities struggle with. These problems may directly or indirectly lead to elder abuse and may warrant a personal injury claim and lawsuit. If the elder care facility where your family member resides is struggling with one or more of these issues, you should contact an abuse attorney immediately.
Due to understaffing, nursing home workers often cannot provide adequate care and attention to each resident. This may result in negligence on the part of the nursing home staff and ultimately lead to residents’ injuries and even death. In addition, workers in understaffed facilities tend to be overworked and overwhelmed by their duties which may be conducive to abusive patterns of behavior.
Understaffing is an urgent problem in Texas nursing homes. A report prepared by the Texas Health Care Association (THCA) on the state of the Texas nursing home workforce indicates that only 8% of long term care facilities may have an adequate supply of nursing personnel. Meanwhile, the direct care staff turnover rates in Texas nursing homes are among the highest in the country. The report also predicts that, by 2030, there will be a shortage of all nurse types. Dallas and surrounding North Texas areas will be particularly affected with the predicted deficit amounting to 15,688 nurses short of the demand.
Poor or Absent Screening of Staff
Due to understaffing problems, many eldercare facilities are in desperate need of personnel. To meet the staffing demands, management may feel pressure to cut corners and employ workers with little or no experience in nursing or caretaking. This problem is often aggravated by funding issues resulting in the personnel of some nursing homes to be unqualified and unwilling to provide residents with the needed care.
Medical Care and Medication Errors
When an elder requires special medical attention or specific medication, nursing home staff must take extra care to ensure the resident receives the correct medication on time and has the assistance they need. Sadly, due to problems such as understaffing or poor screening of staff, eldercare facilities sometimes make dangerous mistakes when attending to a resident’s medical needs.
Most common examples of such negligence may include failure to administer medication or administering the wrong type or the wrong dose. Medical care errors and medication errors often lead to serious injuries to an elderly resident which may merit a lawsuit.
WHY YOU NEED A NURSING HOME ABUSE ATTORNEY
Challenging a nursing home facility may be difficult, especially if you are not fully aware of your rights. Our experienced attorneys have successfully represented many clients dealing with similar issues. We are confident that our nursing home abuse attorney can help with your case as well. During a personal consultation, a member of our legal team will put you in touch with a skilled nursing home abuse attorney who can assist you in the following ways:
- Listen to your concerns to understand the scope and seriousness of the abuse.
- Advise you on next steps to ensure your loved one’s safety.
- Discuss ways to receive financial compensation for any harm or injury your loved one may have suffered.
NURSING HOME ABUSE IN TEXAS
Nursing home abuse is a common problem in Texas. In fact, in comparison with similar institutions nationwide, eldercare facilities in the Lone Star state have a poor reputation. For example, according to the Nursing Home Compare website maintained by Medicare, out of about a hundred nursing homes located within 25 miles of the center of Dallas as many as 33, or roughly 30%, have a rating of one or two stars, representing quality of care that is far below average. In addition, a report on long-term care services created by the AARP foundation places Texas in 46th place when it comes to quality of life and quality of care for older adults and people with physical disabilities. This is an alarmingly low position that points to the systemic shortcomings of the eldercare industry in this state.
The same report mentions that as much as 6.4% of nursing home residents in Texas show signs of high-risk neglect such as pressure sores. In 2018, the Dallas Morning News reported that, between 2015 and 2018, the Office of the Attorney General of Texas had resolved at least 67 cases against nursing homes. Other sources indicate that a staggering 25% of the state’s 1,200 nursing homes have been fined for serious deficiencies in the quality of care they provide.
PROTECT YOUR LOVED ONE, FIGHT THE ABUSE, AND OBTAIN COMPENSATION
At The Barber Law Firm, we believe that taking firm legal action against a neglectful or reckless nursing home is the only way to resolve an abuse issue. Elder abuse victims and their families have the right to receive financial compensation for the unjust treatment they have experienced in an elder care facility. By partnering with a reputable nursing home abuse attorney, you can be assured that you are taking advantage of all your legal rights. Call us today at 972-231-5800 and we will be happy to schedule you for a free consultation.