Your elderly loved one deserves to live their sunset years with dignity and respect. When your family could no longer provide the care and support your loved one needed, a nursing home was the only option. You had every reason to believe they would be safe and well looked after; that the staff in such homes perform their duties with professionalism and compassion.
The shocking discovery that your loved one has been abused may fill you with indignation and outrage. It is perfectly natural to feel this way, but you can’t stop there. You should take legal action against the perpetrators of the mistreatment. The best place to begin your quest for justice is to contact a lawyer such as the ones found at Emroch & Kilduff, LLP
What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse is any intentional or unintentional act that leads to the harm of a patient. The abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual, or financial.
Your loved one is unlikely to tell you they are being abused. It is up to you to look for the warning signs. If on every visit you notice marks, scratches, and bruises that cannot be explained, it may be a sign that they are being physically abused. This form of mistreatment also includes neglect. Soiled clothing, a persistent stench, the building up of bed sores—these are all indications that your loved one is not being properly cared for.
If your elderly loved one is always withdrawn or has suddenly taken to lashing out at you and other visitors, it may be a sign that they are being emotionally or sexually abused.
Financial exploitation is the most common type of nursing home abuse. Indeed, there is an entire line of criminals who join the nursing home care profession just to get access to vulnerable old people. If you notice a sudden depletion in the savings of your loved one or missing Social Security or pension checks, it may be a sign that they are being robbed by a member of staff.
Why You Should Hire a Lawyer
The first thing you need is confirmation of the abuse. Lawyers who specialize in these cases know the questions to ask to get a senior citizen to speak about their abuse. They may not talk to you—a combination of pride and embarrassment may prevent them—but they may open-up to a stranger skilled enough to handle the matter with delicacy.
You need not sue the nursing home straightaway. Once you have gotten your loved one to admit what goes on in the home, you should speak to the administration with your lawyer present. If you are not satisfied with the settlement they offer and the measures they are willing to take to stop the abuse, then you can file a law suit. At that point, your lawyer will gather even more evidence, including statements from current and former patients and staff, to prove the truth of your claim. This might be enough to compel them to act in a more just and fitting manner.