When your loved one needs around the clock medical care, you may decide that they can get the care and the life they deserve in a nursing home. This way, you know that your loved one has medical professionals attending to their needs and maintaining a high quality of life for them. However, when a staff member is abusive or negligent, your loved one’s health can suffer—and their life can be put at risk. If this has happened to your loved one, you may not know who to turn to. A St. Louis nursing home abuse lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can help you hold the nursing home accountable for their actions and fight for your loved one to get the justice they deserve.
Thomas Law Offices understands how difficult it can be to realize your loved one wasn’t getting the care they deserved in their nursing home. While we cannot undo the harm that was done while they were in that facility, we can help you show the nursing home that their actions were unacceptable. We’ll also seek to maximize your loved one’s compensation so they’re able to go to a safe and responsible nursing home where they can recover and live their lives with proper care and dignity.
Nursing Home Resident Rights in Missouri
It’s important to know that nursing home residents have many rights that protect their independence. Residents make their own decisions and are still in charge of their lives in a nursing home. Let’s take a look at some of the categories of those rights.
- Right to a Dignified Existence. Under this section, it states that residents are supposed to be treated with dignity and respect. They’re protected from abuse, neglect, use of restraints, exploitation, and from others taking their property.
- Right to Self-Determination. Residents can choose their activities, health care and providers, and schedules. This section of rights also covers receiving reasonable accommodations, designating a representative to exercise their rights, and choosing a care plan that includes their individual and cultural preferences.
- Right to Be Informed. Residents have the right to know about their care, and the risks and benefits associated with treatments. They also will know if there are any changes to the plan if their medical or health status changes. Residents will have contact information for the long-term care ombudsman program as well as a written copy of their rights.
- Right to Raise Grievances. Raising a grievance without fear of retaliation or discrimination is an essential right for residents. Their grievances will also receive prompt responses from their nursing home to investigate and resolve those grievances.
- Right of Access. Residents have access to individuals, services, communities, and activities both inside and outside of their facility. They can have visitors at any time and can refuse visitors. Residents have access to their medical records, representatives from the long-term care ombudsman program, and the state survey agency. Residents can also participate in activities for social or religious reasons.
Your loved one has more rights than those listed above. We’re well-versed in the various rights your loved one is entitled to and your St. Louis nursing home abuse attorney will carefully investigate what happened to find out the rights that were violated.
What Are the Different Types of Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing abuse can occur in a number of ways and each type has some common signs to look out for. Make sure to keep an eye out for any red flags when you’re visiting your loved one.
- Physical. This form of abuse is when staff is too rough with your loved one. They may push, shove, or even hit your loved one. Physical abuse can result in bruises or cuts, and sometimes more serious injuries like broken bones.
- Emotional. When staff members call your loved one names, use foul language, or outright ignore them, your loved one’s sense of self-worth can be severely diminished. They may seem more withdrawn than usual.
- Financial. Sometimes, nursing home residents are struggling with memory issues, and staff can take advantage of their state of mind. Stealing money, forging checks, or even convincing your loved one to change important legal documents can occur. It’s important to stay on top of financial matters so your loved one isn’t losing their wealth or other important assets.
- Sexual. When your loved one is a victim of sexual abuse, they may have physical injuries around their pelvic area, seem more withdrawn and fearful, and could have other health issues like contracting an STD. Someone who is a victim of sexual abuse may not speak up, whether it’s out of fear of retaliation or because they have difficulty communicating.
- Resident-On-Resident. It’s possible for other residents to be the perpetrators of abuse. If this occurs, the nursing home needs to take measures to protect your loved one.
Neglect works in a slightly different way. In the examples above, there is intent behind the action. When neglect occurs, it’s typically because the nursing home cannot provide your loved one with the care they need. Neglect can lead to issues resulting from:
- Medication. If your loved one doesn’t receive their medication on time, they may have an ailment that causes pain or will worsen because they aren’t getting the treatment they need.
- Falls. Some residents may be a fall risk and will need assistance when walking to the bathroom or moving around the home. If staff isn’t able to get to them in a timely fashion, residents may try to move by themselves. This can lead to a fall injury, which can be extremely dangerous for seniors. They could break a hip, which could then become infected.
- Bed Sores. Residents may be in their bed or sitting down for most of the day. If they’re left in the same position for too long, pressure sores can form. Some sores may affect the top layer of skin, but they can worsen and become infected. These injuries can be prevented by staff regularly adjusting a resident’s position and using cushions to alleviate pressure.
When you’re seeking justice for your loved one, you may wonder how this abuse or neglect occurred in the first place. Let’s go over the reasons that can contribute to an abusive or negligent nursing home environment.
How Does Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Occur?
Nursing home abuse can occur when they don’t have enough staff to provide care for residents. This can lead to staff rushing through their duties, which can result in a mistake. Some residents may be left alone for hours and won’t get the care they need.
Caring for others is a demanding job that can take a physical and emotional toll. Staff members could turn to unhealthy coping methods, like drinking alcohol or abusing drugs. If they work while they’re intoxicated, they could make a mistake that harms a resident.
Nursing homes are supposed to have protocols in place that protect residents when they come forward with a complaint. If a resident comes forward and the nursing home fails to act or retaliates against the resident, then abuse may continue to occur.
No matter the reasons behind the abuse or neglect your loved one faced, there is never an excuse for the injuries or illnesses your loved one had to suffer through. These should have been prevented. A St. Louis nursing home abuse lawyer from Thomas Law Offices will help you stand up for your loved one.
How Can Thomas Law Offices Help You?
When your loved one has been abused or neglected in their nursing home, the personal injury lawyers at Thomas Law Offices are ready to help you. We’ll find out how your loved one was harmed and who was responsible.
We’ll also fight for full and fair compensation. Your loved one may need significant medical care to recover from the abuse they faced. If you’re trying to find a better placement for your loved one, getting your loved one the care they need, and you’re dealing with a legal matter, it can all be too much. We’re here to help you with the legal process and will fight for compensation so your loved one can get the treatment they need, as well as a new home.
To get started on your case, contact our office today for a free consultation. A St. Louis nursing home abuse lawyer will help you find the best way forward for you and your loved one.