Whether you are looking for a nursing home, have a loved one in a nursing home, or you are conducting your long-term care planning, selecting a nursing home can be quite the ordeal. Today, new nursing homes appear at what feels like a monthly pace. This adds to the list of choices, but also increasing the risks for residents.
Between 2012 and 2050, the U.S. will see a substantial growth in their elder population. By 2050, it is estimated that the total number of citizens over the age of 65 will hit 83.7 million. Nursing homes open their doors to accommodate the growing demand for out-of-home care. And while many take care of their residents properly, there are others that provide substandard care. Worse, there are a few that neglect or outright abuse their residents.
In 2014, the number of nursing home residents in the country spiked to 1.4 million, and the number of care communities in the country hit 835,200. The National Ombudsman Reporting System (NORS) states that 7.6 percent of complaints they received in 2014 involved allegations of abuse or neglect.
Unfortunately, the National Center on Elder Abuse states that this crime is heavily underreported. Victims are often too scared to report the abuse, or they suffer from chronic conditions that prevent them from reporting it (e.g., dementia).
It is up to families to recognize the signs of abuse and to seek justice against perpetrators. When family members understand the signs of abuse, they must file a complaint and prove that their allegations are true. This burden can be overwhelming for loved ones. But with the assistance of a nursing home abuse attorney, the process can be more straightforward.
7 Ways to Prove Your Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Allegations Are True
Whether it was a one-time event or chronic episodes of abuse, you have the right to hold those parties accountable for their egregious acts.
You can prove your allegations legitimacy by:
1. Watching and Notating the Signs of Abuse
We are at a critical time in our country where senior citizens rely heavily on long-term care. Loved ones must be proactive, not only when picking a nursing home, but when examining that nursing home after their family member begins their stay. Knowing the signs of abuse or neglect is critical to your case. Some indicators your loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect include:
- Unexplained changes in mood
- Bruises, lacerations, cuts, or broken bones
- Frequent injuries without explanation from the staff
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Use of restraints
- Withdrawing from activities they once enjoyed
- Appearing nervous or uneasy around caretakers
2. Obtain Their Nursing Home and Medical Records
If the nursing home participates in Medicare or Medicaid programs, you can receive your loved one’s nursing home records. Review those records and look for inconsistencies, including unnecessary treatments, use of medications, or a lack of explanation for injuries.
Medical records could indicate periods of abuse or neglect, including treatments for injuries, hospitalizations for dehydration and malnutrition, medical treatments for bed sores, and other health complications associated with substandard care.
Photographs are powerful pieces of evidence. These can include pictures of the resident’s living situation – such as soiled bedding or unsafe premises. Pictures of injuries or the condition you found your loved one in can also prove your claims.
4. Ombudsman Complaints
Local ombudsman programs will have a detailed record of any complaints filed against the nursing home and their outcome. Frequent allegations of abuse or neglect can help prove a history of substandard care at that facility.
5. Witness Statements
A nursing home may abuse or neglect patients carelessly and leave behind witnesses. Witnesses might include other residents, family members visiting residents, or employees of the facility.
6. Inspections and Licenses
Past inspections by the state, including citations received, may help prove that the facility has a record of violating state requirements. Also, some nursing homes may advertise their services without being licensed. Pulling these records might require the assistance of an attorney.
7. Hiring an Attorney
Proving negligent or abusive care from a nursing home involves plenty of red tape. You need to obtain records from county and state governments, and you may need to file motions to compel the nursing home to supply documents.
An attorney can help you break through these roadblocks and obtain the evidence you need to prove your case.
Hire a Local Attorney Ready to Fight for Your Loved One’s Rights
Nursing home abuse or neglect is unacceptable and widely underreported. If you suspect that your loved one is the victim of either of these heinous acts, contact your local law enforcement, report the abuse, and remove your loved one from that facility.
Then, contact an advocate. The attorneys at Campbell & Smith, PLLC, have helped families just like yours prove their claims and receive compensation for the horrific conditions their loved ones are exposed to in an abusive or neglectful nursing home.
Contact us now to schedule a free case evaluation. There is no obligation for meeting with us. So call us now at 800-544-1521 or “request more information online.