NURSING HOME INJURY

You may have a family member or a loved one currently in a nursing home. These men and women who used to be self-sufficient are now totally dependent on the nursing home staff and administration for their daily living. Nursing home patients deserve the best care, but often this is not the case.

These are some of the early warning signs of nursing home abuse. Many cases are thought to go unreported because the nursing home resident fears disclosing information about their treatment or many simply may not have the physical and/or mental capabilities to do so.

If you witness any of these warning signs you should contact the law firm of Goldstein & Goldstein, Esqs. We specialize in nursing home neglect have the resources needed to conduct an independent research to determine if, in fact, your loved one is being abused.

Remember it’s up to you to look for signs because the nursing home resident may not be able to for many reasons!

Warning Signs

Physical abuse such as, bed sores, rapid weight gain or loss, frequent or unusual fractures and breaks, malnutrition or dehydration, over medicated, arks on the wrists (restraints?), lack of activity, untrained staff, isolated in their room, and/or bruises or other marks on the body.

Other signs may come from the abusers themselves. They (the abusers) may not call when your loved one is taken to the hospital for treatments. The staff may not be keeping you informed of what is going on with your loved on. They can’t explain odd marks or bruises on the elder. Frequent emergency room visits, and not contacting you when the latter occurs.

Signs of Abuse

  1. Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, sprains, or fractures in various stages of healing
  2. Bedsores or “frozen” joints
  3. Malnutrition or dehydration
  4. Elopement or wandering
  5. Falls
  6. Mental or Physical Abuse
  7. Sexual abuse
  8. Sudden changes in behavior

 

Signs of Abusers

  1. Staff refusing to allow visitors to see resident or delays in allowing visitors to see resident
  2. Staff not allowing resident to be alone with visitor
  3. Resident being kept in an over-medicated state
  4. Loss of resident’s possessions
  5. Sudden large withdrawals from bank accounts or changes in banking practices
  6. Abrupt changes in will or other financial documents problem

 

If you suspect elder abuse, investigate at once. Begin collecting facts. The nursing home will not cooperate in this process. Gather all the material you can so that documents cannot be changed.

A potential claimant should always seek the attorney’s advice without delay. There are deadlines to meet, claims against governmental entities may require that the entity be put on notice much earlier than the statute of limitations period. A medical and legal analysis must be done prior to filing a lawsuit, so don’t wait so the lawyer can have enough time to investigate the claim before it’s expiration.

The good news is that finally, after years of providing poor elder care, it seems nursing homes are finally being held accountable. A flood of lawsuits have been filed across the country and grieving families are receiving compensation for pain, suffering and the untimely death of loved ones.

Bedsores

Bedsores, which are also known as pressure sores or decubitis ulcers, are a serious health problem particularly for nursing home residents who are not ambulatory.

Bedsores develop in four stages:

  1. The skin turns red, feels spongy and warm
  2. The sore opens and looks like a blister and or cut
  3. The wound is deep into the tissue beneath the skin – looks like a crater
  4. There is large scale damage to the skin muscle and bones

 

What Causes Bedsores?

Bedsores are formed when continued pressure cuts off circulation to a part of the body and causes skin and underlying tissue to break down.The areas of the body most prone to bed sores are those in which bones have little protection from fat and muscle, such as the hipbones, tailbone, shoulder blades and heels.

Why are they so common in nursing homes?

When people are confined to a bed or wheelchair for extended periods of time they are at high risk for bedsores if not properly treated. Bedridden people who are incontinent are at even greater risk. Skin breaks down more easily when it is constantly moist. Diabetes, circulation problems, dehydration and malnutrition are risk factors for pressure ulcers.

How can bedsores be prevented?

To prevent bedsores, nursing home staff members should turn or reposition bedridden patients every two hours. However, understaffing at nursing homes is the most common reason residents don’t receive adequate care which leads to the formation of bedsores. Bedsores can form quickly and progress rapidly. If they become infected, they can be fatal.

What should I do if my loved one has developed a bedsore as a resident of a nursing home, hospital, or assisted living facility?

You should call an experienced nursing home negligence attorney immediately because employees and medical professionals at these facilities have strict guidelines they must adhere to in order to prevent bed sores from occurring. Hiring an attorney to hold them financially accountable for their negligence will hopefully help prevent future acts of negligence from that facility. Contact us for a free case evaluation.

Falls

Accidents are the fifth leading cause of death of the elderly, with falls being the most frequently reported type of accident. Most falls in nursing homes are not witnessed. The resident is unable to recall the circumstances of the fall, and the nursing home records found on floor. Up to fifty percent of nursing home residents fall each year, which is two to three times that of community-dwelling residents. Residents with Alzheimer’s disease are twice as likely to fall as those without. Fall-related injuries include broken bones and other serious injuries requiring medical treatment. Many falls result in hip fractures.

Nursing homes are required by law to utilize fall risk assessment tools to evaluate the full risk of a particular resident, and then formulate interventions to prevent falls.

Are all falls in nursing homes preventable?

The majority of falls in long-term care settings are preventable. According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a fall is defined as a failure to maintain an appropriate lying, sitting or standing position, resulting in an individual’s abrupt, undesired relocation to a lower level. An episode in which a resident loses his or her balance and would have fallen, were it not for staff interventions, is also considered a fall. Both the incidence of falls and fall-related injuries increase steadily in the elderly. The incidence rate for falls in nursing home residents is two to three times greater than that in community-dwelling elderly (about 1.7 falls per bed annually). Ten to twenty-five percent of falls among institutionalized elderly result in fracture, laceration, or the need for hospital care.

The nursing home should (a) assess the resident for risk of falling; (b) identify and implement interventions to minimize the risk of falling; and (c) identify and implement interventions to minimize risk of sustaining an injury as a result of a fall.

If your elderly loved one has been neglected, abused, or injured while in the care of a nursing home or other healthcare facility, contact our attorneys today. You have legal rights that not only protect your family, but others as well.

Contact us today to discuss your legal options with our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys.

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You should always meet the lawyer who will actually handle your case to make sure you feel comfortable in placing this important matter in his hands. Look over Paul Goldstein and Lindsey Goldstein’s biographies and make “The Right and Intelligent Choice”.

If you have further questions, please contact us at 1-845-345-8542 or e-mail us at: paul@goldsteinlawfirm.com.

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