North Dakota Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
At Sand Law, we have the experience and resources necessary to help families suffering from nursing home abuse in North Dakota. Each nursing home abuse case is unique but they all have in common a hurt and a frustration that comes from few other circumstances in life. Our goal is to get the individuals and families of the abuse compensation for the medical bills and pain and suffering while also creating a deterrent to future nursing home abuse situations. If you or your loved one has suffered abuse at the hands of a nursing home or nursing home staff, contact our nursing home abuse attorneys today to schedule a free consultation.
More often than not, nursing homes and assisted living facilities give seniors a great standard of living and care. And in most cases, this care is genuine and free from any type of abuse or negligence. However, when a person does experience abuse in their nursing home, they deserve dignity, justice, and all the help they can get.
Nursing Home Abuse Statistics
The statistics regarding nursing home abuse in America are staggering. Every year, about 5,000,000 elders are abused in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. In fact, 1 in 10 elders over the age of 60 are said to have been abused in a nursing home. This is just an estimate though, since 24.3% of residents reported some kind of physical abuse at least once while living in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
The problem with nursing home abuse statistics is that the data is difficult to collect and all cases of abuse are not reported. Another study found that only 1 in 14 elder abuse cases are formally reported. However, a similar study found that only 1 in 25 cases are reported. Either way, many of these cases go unreported and without justice. These numbers may be low because elders often don’t realize they’re being abused, or don’t know how to report it, or are afraid of repercussions because they have nowhere else to go. And, of course, most abuse happens in way that is quite literally intended for no one to find out. Because of this, statistics on nursing home abuse are often low estimates.
The fact is, many elderly residents feel unsafe in their situation, so it’s important to know and look for the warning signs of this kind of abuse or negligence.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
If you have a family member who lives in a nursing home or assisted living facility, it’s important to know the signs of abuse so you can spot potential warning signs even if your loved one can’t or doesn’t directly tell you.
- Bed sores or red spots
- Signs of dehydration, like extreme thirst, dry skin, or fatigue
- Acting withdrawn, emotionally upset, or inconsolable
- Considerable decrease in talking during visit
- General signs of unhappiness or stress
- Infections or skin lesions
- Scratches, scrapes, or cuts
- Bruising or blood spots
- Signs of malnutrition, like extreme weight loss
- Reluctance to speak in a staff member’s presence
- Unsanitary or unclean conditions
- Self-isolating or suddenly stopping communication
- Other residents showing sign of abuse, getting sick, or abruptly dying
You should also pay special close attention to anything thats happens at the facility that seems unusual. Besure to investigate further into situations, like if your loved one is hospitalized or goes to the ER, any instant of wandering or lashing out, changes in your loved one’s medication, and frequent illness.
What kinds of abuse can occur inside a nursing home?
Many different types of abuse take place in nursing home and they aren’t always easy to spot. Nursing home abuse can take the form of:
- physical abuse,
- sexual abuse,
- emotional abuse,
- or financial abuse.
Physical abuse in a nursing home or assisted living facility includes any type of physical aggression, pushing, shaking, hitting, or in any way physically harming a resident. Physical abuse also includes actions like the misuse of restraints as discipline. Physical abuse is less common than other types of nursing home abuse, but it is one of the most egregious. Only 10% of reported cases of nursing home abuse are physical.
Sexual abuse also occurs in nursing homes, however it is unknown how common it is since it is one of the most underreported types of abuse. Nursing home sexual abuse is the unwanted act of sexual conduct within a nursing home. This can occur between residents, or between residents and staff. It is also considered sexual abuse when a person is involved in a sexual act when they are highly medicated, confused, or unable to give consent due to their mental or physical condition.
Sexual abuse in a nursing home includes: unwanted touching, sexual assault or battery, rape, and sexual harassment.
Psychological and emotional abuse make up for the bulk of abuse cases in nursing homes. Emotional abuse occurs when staff causes a resident unnecessary emotional trauma through non-physical means. Emotional abuse can be verbal or nonverbal, and is almost always used to isolate, scare, and intimidate residents. This type of abuse can include: name calling, blatantly ignoring the needs of the residents, not changing soiled clothes or bedding, not feeding or providing water to residents, keeping them locked in their rooms, not tending to medical problems, and many other issues. Psychological abuse also includes general actions that intend to make a resident feel unwanted or humiliated. Staff may behave in this way out of frustration, laziness, or negligence.
The final type of nursing home abuse is financial abuse, which can create its own type of damage to individuals and families. Financial abuse may include: theft of cash or valuable items, theft or misuse of a checkbook or credit cards, stealing of residents financial identity, using a senior’s personal information to open credit accounts, manipulating residents into giving away their valuables or assets, using threats or scare tactics to make a resident transfer money or assets, feigning affection and friendship in order to build a false relationship to get an elderly person to buy them things, pay their bills, or add them to their will.
What’s the difference between nursing home abuse and neglect?
Nursing home abuse refers to any kind of abuse that is intentional, like the physical, emotional, financial, or sexual abuse noted above. Negligence refers to something that is not directly intentional or directly meant to cause harm, but does anyway. Negligence is still the fault of the nursing home for not taking measure to protect their residents. Negligence can include forgetting to feed a resident, not cleaning up a spill before someone slips on it, or giving someone the wrong medication.
Can I sue a nursing home for abuse?
Yes, you can sue a nursing home for abuse. If you believe that your loved one has been injured or harmed due to nursing home abuse or neglect, you should contact a lawyer to understand your loved one’s rights and options. Abuse cases are generally less complicated than neglect claims, as the proof can be easier to obtain. With neglect cases, it has to be proven that the employee was acting in a neglectful way. For example, if your loved one slipped and fell because of a wet floor, you’d have to be able to prove that the floor was wet for a significant amount of time and that no one took reasonable action to clean it up before your loved one was injured. Whether your loved one suffered abuse or neglect, you will still need an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer to help you gather evidence, file for compensation, and lead you through negotiations. Nursing homes often appear to be privately owned, but they are often owned by huge corporations that have plenty of resources and lawyers at their disposal. Do not face this serious situation alone; even the playing field by hiring your own team of lawyers who get paid by the defendant and not by you.
Contact a North Dakota Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If your loved one has been injured in a nursing home due to abuse or neglect, please contact the experienced lawyers at Sand Law for more information and a free case evaluation. You can contact us online or by calling 701-609-1510.
Offices in Fargo, Watford City, Williston, Bismarck, and Minot
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