The decision to place an elderly loved one in a nursing home is one of the most difficult choices you may ever need to make, but it is also one of the most important. A nursing home with a well-trained staff can provide your loved one with proper care and treatment, and can give you peace of mind between visits. Unfortunately, this is not the case with all nursing homes.
At Marasco & Nesselbush, we provide our clients with compassionate and effective legal representation when faced with complex legal matters relating to nursing home abuse or neglect. We are here to hold negligent nursing homes accountable for the harm they have caused to your loved ones.
Types of Elder Abuse
The Rhode Island Department of Health defines elder abuse as harm done to adults 60 years of age or older. There are seven categories of elder abuse, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA). These include:
- Physical Abuse – Use of force to threaten or physically injure a vulnerable elder;
- Emotional Abuse - Threats, isolation, verbal attacks, rejection, or other belittling actions that could cause distress, pain, or mental anguish to an older adult;
- Sexual Abuse – Tricked, threatened, forced, or otherwise coerced sexual contact on a vulnerable older adult, including any who are not able to consent;
- Exploitation – Fraud, theft, neglect, or misuse of authority or use of undue influence to gain control over an elder’s money or property;
- Neglect - A caregiver’s failure or refusal to provide for the physical/medical or emotional needs and/or safety of a vulnerable older adult;
- Abandonment – A caregiver’s desertion of a frail or vulnerable older adult;
- Self-Neglect – Being unable to understand the consequences of one’s own actions or inaction (and a caregiver’s failure to recognize such circumstances), which could lead to harm or endangerment.
Causes of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Any combination of the above forms of elder abuse may occur at a nursing home facility and can threaten the health and safety of an elder. There are a variety of factors that may lead to such unlawful and harmful actions, including:
- improperly trained staff;
- staff member fatigue, miscommunication, and/or drug/alcohol use;
- poor hiring practices; and/or
- insufficient administrative oversight.
Nursing homes often receive funding from the state and federal governments, as well as the families or estates of residents. However, some negligent nursing home administrators and executives cut corners to maximize their own profits. Instead of ensuring that their facility and its employees provide residents with the quality of care and attention they deserve, these negligent nursing homes may hire fewer people, employ poorly trained or unqualified people, fail to properly supervise their employees, or even hire workers with dangerous criminal backgrounds. Negligent nursing homes may fail to properly maintain and/or clean their facility; they may overmedicate their residents to limit activity; or they may fail to provide enough food, proper sanitation, or other basic care.
Signs of Elder Abuse and Neglect
It is important to be aware of the potential signs of abuse and neglect in order to protect your loved ones. Many elders never report abuse or neglect out of fear that a caregiver will retaliate. The following warning signs may point to nursing home abuse, neglect, and/or negligent facility management:
- Dirty or messy rooms;
- Facility in disrepair;
- Very few medical personnel, or lack of medical or dental care;
- Malnutrition, constant hunger, or begging for food;
- Slap or restraint marks;
- Unexplained bruises or other injuries;
- Bed sores;
- Poor personal hygiene, or dirty or torn clothes;
- Sudden change/alterations in accounts/finances/will;
- Fearfulness, listlessness, depression, and/or fatigue, or dramatic change in affect;
- Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases, or bruises around the genital area or breasts;
- Residents left unattended for long periods of time;
- Wrongful death after unusual and unexpected circumstances.
Committed to Obtaining Justice
Our elders deserve to be given the best quality of care and to be treated with the utmost respect. At Marasco & Nesselbush, our experienced Providence RI personal injury attorneys are dedicated to holding negligent nursing homes and staff accountable for the wrongs they have committed against the elders in their care. We are committed to providing every client with the personal attention and skilled legal representation they deserve. To learn more, please contact us today at one of our four conveniently located offices for a free, confidential consultation.
Providence (401) 274-7400
Wakefield (401) 783-0000
Warwick (401) 738-7700
Woonsocket (401) 762-9800