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Fargo Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys

There’s nothing that makes an adult child angrier than to find out one or both of their parents have been the victim of nursing home abuse. It’s a frustrating, maddening situation, one that needs to be stopped immediately. Also, any nursing home staff, as well as the nursing home, must be made to face the consequences.

Sand Law attorneys have nothing but disdain for those who prey on vulnerable older people who can’t defend themselves. If you have any reason to believe your parent is being abused, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us as soon as possible. We will perform a thorough investigation and take the appropriate legal action against all responsible parties.

You can contact us online to schedule a free consultation, or you can give us a call at 701-609-1510.

Fargo Nursing Home Abuse Elder Injury Attorneys - Sand Law PLLC North Dakota Personal Injury Lawyers

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

There are four main types of nursing home abuse – physical, sexual, emotional and financial. Here’s a quick look at each.

  • Physical abuse. This terrible form of abuse can take many forms. It can involve shaking a nursing home resident, pushing them, hitting them, or causing physical harm in any other way. Many times, residents will be restrained as a form of disciplinary action, and seriously hurt as a result.
  • Sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is probably extremely underreported, but there is no doubt that it happens. It can be committed by a member of the nursing home staff, or it can be committed by another resident. This can happen whenever the victim does either not want sexual contact, or is unable to refuse because they are either confused, highly medicated, or otherwise cannot give their consent.
  • Emotional abuse. This occurs when a staff member causes emotional trauma without causing any sort of physical harm. Emotional abuse is typically verbal, but it can be non-verbal as well, used mainly to scare or intimidate a resident. Ignoring a resident, calling them names, not changing soiled clothing items, and withholding food or water are just a few examples.
  • Financial abuse. Unfortunately, thefts in nursing homes occur far too often. Some staff members will go so far as to even steal a checkbook and attempt to write checks on the victim’s bank account. Financial abuse can also stem from stealing personal information, or even convincing a resident to hand over valuables through intimidation, or through feigning friendship.

Injuries Caused by Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse injuries can obviously be devastating, making a resident’s life miserable. They’re in the home in the first place because they already have some sort of debilitating illness or condition. When physical abuse takes place, that makes their life even worse. Here are just a few of the kinds of injuries that occur in nursing homes on a regular basis.

  • Sprains or broken bones due to falls or blunt force trauma
  • Infections
  • Choking
  • Pressure ulcers (bedsores)
  • Scratches, bruises or lacerations the resident can’t explain
  • Burns
  • Emotional trauma
  • Disorientation or other cognitive impairments due to head injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury
  • Death

Who is At-Fault for Injuries or Trauma Sustained in a Nursing Home?

Every nursing home owes what is known as a “duty of care” to its residents. This basically means that they have to provide a wide range of services, including medical care, food and shelter, and assistance with hygiene when necessary. Nursing homes can be held liable for abuse in many instances, including the following:

  • Failing to protect residents from safety hazards, such as slippery floors
  • Negligent staff training, and failure to monitor staff properly
  • Negligent hiring practices, such as failing to perform background checks
  • Failing to administer medication, or other forms of medical neglect
  • Imposing dangerous or unreasonable physical restraints
  • Intentional abuse
  • And many others

There are also instances where a third party could be held responsible for harm to a resident. A piece of medical equipment, for instance, could malfunction and lead to a severe injury. Equipment designed to automatically dispense medication could fail, causing a resident to receive an improper dosage of a critically important medicine.

A vendor who supplies meals could be found responsible if a resident suffers food poisoning. If a trespasser breaks into the home and harms a resident, and a third party company is responsible for providing security, that company could also face liability.

Proactive Steps for Nursing Homes to Prevent Abuse

Nursing homes have a responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of their residents. Regular staff training on elder care, abuse prevention, and recognizing signs of abuse is crucial. Implementing strict hiring practices, including thorough background checks, can help ensure that only trustworthy individuals are employed.

Regularly monitoring and reviewing surveillance footage, if available, can deter potential abusers. By being proactive and fostering a culture of respect and care, nursing homes can significantly reduce the risk of abuse.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

If you have any reason to believe an elderly loved one is suffering from abuse, be extremely observant and watch for the following signs:

  • Unexplained cuts or red spots
  • Extreme thirst, or other signs of dehydration
  • Skin lesions
  • Bruising
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Your loved one being upset, or more withdrawn than normal
  • The loved one being reluctant to talk if a staff member is present

How to Talk to a Loved One About Potential Abuse

It can be extremely difficult for a nursing home resident to speak up about abuse. They may be embarrassed to admit it’s happening, or they may be afraid to say anything, out of fear the abuse will get even worse. If possible, take your loved one to an area outside the facility and ask them directly if anything is happening.

Find out, for instance, if the resident is being bathed and fed regularly, or is allowed to join other residents in any activities that are being held. Ask if any staff members have been abusive in any manner. Ask if they want to say anything to you that they can’t bring up to anyone who works in the facility.

If their answers confirm your suspicions, try to see if you can move your loved one to another nursing home, and then call the police. After that, get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible so the facility can be held accountable.

Understanding the Rights of Nursing Home Residents

Every nursing home resident has the right to be treated with dignity, respect, and care. They have the right to be free from physical, emotional, and financial abuse. Residents also have the right to voice concerns without fear of retaliation, to have regular communication with loved ones, and to receive appropriate medical care. Understanding these rights is essential for both residents and their families to ensure that they are upheld and protected.

The Long-Term Psychological Consequences of Nursing Home Abuse

While physical injuries from nursing home abuse can be severe, the psychological scars can last even longer. Victims might experience depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and a loss of trust in caregivers and institutions.

These psychological effects can further deteriorate their overall health and well-being. Recognizing the profound impact of abuse on a resident’s mental health underscores the importance of prevention, early detection, and seeking justice for the victims.

Recovering Damages After Elder Abuse or Injury

You may be able to file a lawsuit against the nursing home if you believe your loved one has been the victim of abuse. However, you’ll need the help of an attorney in order to have the best chance of winning your case. An attorney will work to uncover evidence of abuse, such as any video footage that may show a resident suffering harm. Your legal representative may also be able to bring in medical experts who can testify regarding the severity of the resident’s injuries, and how they likely happened.

Contact Sand Law Today to Speak with an Experienced Fargo Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

Sand Law attorneys take nursing home abuse incredibly seriously, and work passionately on the behalf of those being victimized, as well as their families. We are ready to help you as well. Give us a call at 701-609-1510 or contact us online for a free case review.