As we get older, it comes time for us to return the care we received from our parents and grandparents. Unfortunately, there are times where we’re unable to provide our loved ones with the care they need to live a high-quality life. When that happens, families often look to long-term care facilities where a dedicated nursing staff can provide round-the-clock care. If the facility or its employees are negligent, however, the residents can suffer. If you think your loved one has been neglected in their care home, a Bowling Green, KY nursing home abuse lawyer can help.
At Thomas Law Offices, we believe senior citizens deserve the best quality care to ensure they live their lives to the fullest. When a nursing home fails to provide that level of care, our attorneys can fight on your loved one’s behalf to hold them accountable by filing a personal injury claim.
Nursing Homes in Bowling Green
If you’re looking to house your loved one in Bowling Green, you’ll find your options may seem limited. According to the Nursing Home Compare tool, provided by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the following six facilities are within city limits:
- Signature Healthcare of Bowling Green
- Bowling Green Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
- Christian Health Center
- Colonial Center
- Magnolia Village
- Greenwood Nursing & Rehabilitation Center
According to Medicare, only two of those facilities, Bowling Green Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and Christian Health Center, have an overall rating of much above average. The other four facilities are considered average or below average.
The Nursing Home Compare tool is an excellent resource to use if you’re just starting the search for a facility for your elderly loved one. The overall ratings are based on health inspections, staffing, and quality measures.
Unfortunately, even facilities with high ratings have been known to have incidents of abuse or neglect. If you suspect your loved one is being mistreated in any way, it’s essential to recognize the signs of abuse or neglect and know what steps to take to protect them.
Abuse and Neglect in Elder Care Facilities
When long-term care facility residents are mistreated, what they experience can often be classified as abuse or neglect. While we sometimes hear these terms used interchangeably, they have very different legal meanings. Abuse implies that a resident was subjected to intentional harm, while neglect refers to situations where caregivers fail to provide a resident with basic life needs. Both present the opportunity for a nursing home injury claim.
Nursing Home Abuse
Abuse in an elder care home is classified in one four ways, including:
- Physical Abuse. Physical abuse in nursing homes may involve slapping, kicking, shoving, or shaking. Restraining residents against their will also fall under this category. Resulting injuries could include broken or dislocated bones, burns, head injuries, bruises or lacerations, and other internal injuries.
- Emotional Abuse. Emotional abuse involves verbal and non-verbal acts that cause psychological pain, anguish, or distress. Staff members could bully, humiliate, coerce, isolate, or intimidate residents. If your loved one is being emotionally abused, they may experience depression, anxiety, fearfulness, withdrawal, or agitation.
- Sexual Abuse. Sexual abuse involves any type of sexual content without the victim’s consent. This type of abuse is often difficult to detect, so be on the lookout for unexplained pelvic pain, recurring urinary tract infections, STDs, bruising, fearfulness, or emotional withdrawal.
- Financial Exploitation. Negligent staff may try to take advantage of loved ones’ advanced age by illegally using their assets, monetary resources, or valuable personal property. Common financial exploitation signs include missing possessions, unexplained purchases, forged checks, and fraudulent billing for services.
Nursing Home Neglect
While nursing home abuse is categorized in four different ways, neglect is only separated into two:
- General Neglect. When residents don’t have access to basic needs like food, water, safety, comfort, and cleaning clothing, they may suffer from dehydration, malnutrition, dirty bedding or clothing, and poor hygiene.
- Medical Neglect. When residents’ medical needs are not attended to, their conditions can rapidly decline. Signs of medical neglect include bedsores, undiagnosed or untreated illnesses, medication errors, and secondary infections.
No matter what type of abuse or neglect your suspect your loved one is suffering from, it’s crucial to get in touch with a Bowling Green attorney. They’ll be able to evaluate the situation and help you determine how best to protect your loved one.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse in Kentucky
Whether your loved one is in a Bowling Green facility or another part of Kentucky, it’s essential to know what steps to take in the event you suspect or know they are being abused. Even if you cannot pinpoint any specific incidents, it’s important to move forward with a report so you can ensure your loved one’s safety.
The first report should be made to the nursing home facility. Let the administrator, director of nursing, floor supervisor, social worker, or other nursing home management staff know what’s going on. The nursing home ombudsman should also be contacted.
If you feel your loved one’s life is in immediate danger, call 911. Local law enforcement can go to the facility and evaluate the situation to determine if your loved one needs to be removed. If they’re not in immediate danger, you have the option of reporting to Adult Protective Services, Office of Inspector General, Office of the Attorney General, or Long Term Care Ombudsman.
When you file your report, include as much information as possible. Follow up with the investigation to determine what action has been taken on your complaint. If you believe the investigation was inadequate or proper measures were not taken to remedy the problem, it’s time to get in touch with a nursing home abuse attorney.
To organize your loved one’s situation in a way that can be pursued legally, you’ll want to keep detailed records of their stay. Record each time and date you make a complaint including the name and position of the person you talk to, bring a camera with you when you visit to photograph anything out of the ordinary, ask friends and other visitors to be alert for problems, and note how many caregivers are on duty when you find a problem.
When you seek legal representation from Thomas Law Offices, we’ll use the information above in conjunction with our own investigation to determine how best to help your loved one. If filing a claim is the way to go, we’ll guide you through the process and fight for full and fair compensation to cover all economic and noneconomic losses.
Protect Your Loved One With Thomas Law Offices
Suspecting or learning your loved one has been abused or neglected in their facility is heart-wrenching. Our Bowling Green, KY nursing home abuse lawyers understand your family’s pain and are ready to take the necessary steps to hold the facility accountable.
While filing a claim or lawsuit against an assisted living facility can seem complicated, we have extensive experience handling cases and fighting for our clients’ rights. The sooner you get in touch with our law firm, the better your chances are of maximizing your loved one’s chance at recovery. Contact us today for more information.