legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Fort Worth Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
The elderly population in Texas is on the rise, which means that more and more people are living out their golden years with loved ones by their side. Unfortunately, this has also led to increased abuse against older adults who can no longer live alone due to illness or disability.
Many signs can indicate your aging loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect while in nursing home. For instance, there might be a sudden change in their behavioral habits or declining health from malnourishment that could have seemed inconsequential at first glance.
Do you suspect your loved one has been neglected or abused in a Fort Worth nursing facility? The affiliate Texas personal injury attorneys at Nursing Home Center, LLC advocate for injured nursing home patients to ensure they can obtain justice and seek compensation for damages.
Call our Fort Worth nursing home abuse lawyers at (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.Concerning Facts on Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Predators often target older adults for abuse due to their frailty and decreasing mental acuity. Nursing home patients, who live away from family members for an extended time can be particularly susceptible since they're trapped in residence with whoever is abusing them.
According to the National Institute of Health, as many as one in ten Americans aged 60 years or older have experienced elder abuse. Sadly, only one in 14 nursing home abuse cases are reported to authorities.
National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) data reveals that there were 34,000 self-reported cases of elder abuse in Texas alone in 2017. Of those nursing home mistreatment cases, 60 percent were female and 40 percent were male victims.
Those most at risk of abuse, mistreatment, and negligence in a Fort Worth nursing home include:
- The cognitively impaired
- The physically frail
- The socially isolated
- People with a history of mental illness
Nursing home maltreatment is a serious issue that often goes unnoticed. Some signs of abuse and neglect can be seen by looking at your loved one, but there are other ways to notice that they are being abused or neglected by checking on their mental state or changes in behavioral patterns.
The most common types of abuse that nursing home residents suffer:Physical Abuse
Physical abuse is typically characterized by using physical force against a disabled or elderly resident by hitting, shoving, pushing, or kicking them, causing injury while residing in a nursing home facility. Physical abuse can be intentional or accidental and usually follows other types of mistreatment, such as verbal or sexual abuse.
Nearly any physical assault could create severe consequences to the victim's health. If you see bruises, cuts, or broken bones, it is vital to seek medical attention for your loved one and meet with a Texas nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible.Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse is caused by inflicting mental anguish or distress on a nursing home resident. This is one of the more complex types of abuse to identify because it is typically hidden from a visiting family member. Seeing emotional abuse trauma is more challenging in those with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Nevertheless, if your elderly or disabled family member experiences emotional abuse while living in a Fort Worth nursing home, consider reporting the behavior to authorities and seek a legal professional to help you file a claim.
Emotional abuse could include:
- Intimidating behavior
- Threatening violence
- Isolating the victim from friends or family
- Humiliating or yelling at the resident
- Intentionally ignoring the resident
- Making facial expressions that would cause emotional distress
- Verbal abuse is another form of emotional maltreatment and involves saying hurtful things to a nursing home patient such as:
- Making derogatory remarks
Sexual abuse is non-consensual sexual contact with a nursing home resident. This can include rape, sodomy, oral sex, forced nudity, unwanted touching, or forcing the victim to watch sexual acts.
The statute of limitation in Texas for sexual abuse is ten years, meaning you cannot seek compensation if the abuse happened more than ten years ago. Report your suspicion that a resident is being assaulted by a staff member, visitor, or another patient. Notify the police and move that individual to a safe environment.Financial Abuse
Financial exploitation involves the illegal or improper use of a nursing home patient's funds, personal items, property, or assets. Financial exploitation can happen without the victim's knowledge or consent and is often perpetrated by someone in a position of power or trust, such as a family member, caregiver, staff member, or friend.
This type of nursing home abuse is considered theft and a crime in Fort Worth, Texas. Contact the police immediately to file a report of the missing personal items or cash. Consider a free legal consultation to discuss your loved one’s legal options with a Fort Worth nursing home abuse lawyer.Abandonment
When nursing homes are understaffed or unable to care for disabled or elderly patients who need additional assistance, those residents are considered abandoned and left to fend for themselves. This negligence can lead to problems such as slips and falls or laying in soiled bed sheets because they can’t reach the restroom, and wandering away since they aren’t being watched.
Abandonment in a nursing facility could involve:
- Caregivers leaving a disabled or elderly resident alone for an extended period
- Failing to return the patient when traveling away from the facility
- Not providing the disabled or elderly resident’s basic necessities of life, such as food, water, or medical care.
Neglect is the failure of caregivers at nursing homes to provide adequate care that nursing home patients require to maintain their health and well-being. Neglect can be intentional or due to a lack of staffing, resources, or training.
H.R.2922 - Elder Abuse Protection Act of 2021 that recently passed in the House of Representatives protects the elderly from all of the above types of mistreatment. A nursing home abuse attorney can discuss your legal options during a free consultation.Signs and Symptoms of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
The signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect can vary depending on the type of mistreatment. However, some general warning signs could indicate that your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing facility, such as:
- Unexplained injuries, bruises, or welts
- Broken bones or fractures
- Sprains or dislocations
- Ligature marks (indentations from ropes, cords, or straps)
- Cuts, scrapes, or burns
- Fractured hip from falling
- Bed sores
- Poor personal hygiene
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Untreated medical issues
- Sudden weight loss or gain
- Changes in eating or sleeping habits
- Withdrawal from social activities or interactions
- Anxiety, depression, or unusual behavior
- Unexplained fearfulness or agitation
- Decreasing physical health
Did you notice that your loved one had any of these signs or symptoms above? Ensure they see a doctor for needed treatment and a personal injury attorney for legal assistance as soon as possible to help improve the victim's well-being.
These warning signs could indicate abuse or neglect, and your loved one may need medical attention or legal assistance.Nursing Home Resident Rights
Nursing home patients have specific rights protected by state and federal law. These rights include the right to:
- Be treated with dignity and respect
- Be free from abuse and neglect
- Receive quality care
- Have access to medical attention
- Maintain privacy and confidentiality
- Make decisions about their health care
- Voice complaints without fear of retribution
Nursing home staff members and the administration must uphold these rights and ensure that residents are well-cared for and safe. If you believe your loved one's rights have been violated, it is essential to report a claim and speak with a nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible.Nursing Home Reform Law of 1987
The US Congress passed the Nursing Home Reform Law of 1987 to improve the quality of care in nursing homes across the country. This law requires nursing homes participating in Medicare or Medicaid services to maintain specific standards of care, provide disabled and senior residents with special rights, and stop nursing home abuse.
The law requires every Fort Worth nursing home to:
- Develop and implement policies and procedures for handling complaints
- Ensure that residents have the right to voice grievances without fear of retribution
- Make sure that residents receive adequate nutrition and hydration
- Provide necessary medical and dental care
- Ensure that residents receive social and recreational activities
- Offer opportunities for religious worship
- Maintain a safe, clean, and comfortable environment
- Provide adequate staffing levels
Nursing homes that violate these provisions can be cited and fined by state or federal regulators. In some personal injury cases, the facility may lose its operating license.Why Caregiver Neglect Leads to a Decline in a Resident’s Health
Most nursing home residents require some level of assistance with their activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing, and dressing. This assistance is typically provided by caregivers who are employed by nursing homes.
Unfortunately, caregiver neglect is a severe problem in many nursing homes. When caregivers fail to provide the necessary care and assistance, it can lead to a decline in a resident's health.
Caregiver neglect can cause many problems for residents living in Texas nursing homes, including:
- Skin infections
- Pressure ulcers (bedsores)
- Ongoing pain
- A decline in mental health
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), all facility-acquired bedsores are preventable. The federal agency recognizes bedsores (pressure sores, pressure wounds, pressure ulcers, decubitus ulcers) as "never events," meaning they should never develop when nursing staff members and medical personnel follow established skincare protocol.
Pressure sores develop when an individual is confined to a bed or wheelchair for an extended period. The constant pressure on the skin and underlying tissue restricts blood flow to the area, causing the tissue to die.
Bedsores are most likely to develop in areas where the bone is close to the skin's surface, such as the hips, tailbone, heels, and ankles. However, they can also develop on other body parts, such as the elbows, shoulders, and back.
Some nursing home residents are more at risk of developing pressure wounds, including those who are:
- Mobility challenged
- Malnourished or dehydrated
- Have a medical condition that impairs blood flow
- Take certain medications
The proper skin care, including regular turning and repositioning, is essential to preventing pressure wounds. Nursing staff should also monitor residents for early signs of bedsores, such as redness or skin breakdown.
If bedsores develop, prompt treatment is essential to healing and preventing further complications. Nursing home staff failing to prevent or adequately treat bedsores could result in severe injuries and even death.
Developing bedsores are often an indicator of negligence by the nursing staff. Allowing the sore to degrade to a life-threatening condition is egregiously negligent. Schedule a free case evaluation with a local Fort Worth nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss how to be compensated for your bedsore injury.Why Taking Legal Action by Filing a Nursing Home Abuse Claim is a Wise Decision
Filing a personal injury claim citing nursing home abuse or neglect is the first legal step to receiving the compensation your family deserves. It is also necessary to ensure that the party found liable is held accountable for their actions and to help prevent future abuse from happening to other residents.
When your Fort Worth nursing home abuse lawyer files a claim on behalf of your loved one, you are not only seeking financial compensation for the injuries and damages your loved one has suffered, but you are also sending a message that this type of behavior is not acceptable.
Holding the at-fault party responsible can help discourage other nursing homes and long-term care facilities from engaging in similar abusive or neglectful conduct. Potential defendants could include nursing home workers, visitors, friends, family members, outsourced contractors, or another disabled or elderly person living in the nursing home facility.
Approximately 95% of nursing home abuse cases are settled out of court, so going to trial is very rare. However, if a fair settlement cannot be reached, your nursing home abuse attorney can take the case to court and fight for the compensation you and your family deserve.How an Experienced Fort Worth Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Can Help You
The experienced nursing home abuse lawyers at our affiliate law offices have represented many families who have been victims of elder abuse and neglect. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that abuse can take on the most vulnerable members and their families, and we are here to help you through every step of the legal process.
A Fort Worth nursing home abuse lawyer will thoroughly investigate your claim, collect evidence, interview witnesses, and build a successful nursing home abuse case on your behalf. We will also negotiate with the defendant’s attorneys and insurer to maximize your compensation for an injury or damage while you seek justice.Our Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
Contact a Fort Worth nursing home lawyer at (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone call) or use the contact form to schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your legal options when seeking compensation.
Do you have questions about a Fort Worth nursing home abuse lawyer filing a claim for you or want to discuss your nursing home abuse case with an experienced attorney? Contact our law firm today for free. Our lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis, so you don't have to pay us unless we win your case.Resources: