Nursing homes and assisted living communities are growing as they provide medical and personal care for elderly members of society.
When choosing to move a loved one into an elderly nursing home, you implicitly place a lot of trust in the facility. You are convinced that the facility will offer physical and emotional safety, as well as physical care. Many families do not take this decision lightly, and that’s why they spend a lot of time weighing their options before they settle on a facility.
Any form of harm or injury to your loved one while they are being cared for in a nursing home would feel like a complete betrayal of trust. Unfortunately, cases of abuse and neglect in nursing homes are common.
What do you do if a loved one is injured in a nursing home? It’s worthwhile to take a look at the steps that should be followed.
What Causes Nursing Home Injuries?
A nursing home injury can arise from different causes. For example, one can break their bones from a fall. While injuries like these can be caused by accidents, there are some cases of intentional abuse or unwarranted neglect.
The nursing home staff, who are responsible for taking care of the elderly, or other nursing home residents could also be the cause of injuries.
What Is The Difference Between Nursing Home Abuse And Nursing Home Neglect?
Some people may be confused by these two terms and not know the difference.
Nursing home abuse is when a nursing home resident is harmed intentionally. For example, a resident may suffer severe weight loss or injuries at the hands of staff. If it investigated and found that the resident was being hit, thrown around, or shouted at by the staff, then that is a case of abuse.
On the other hand, nursing home neglect is the failure of the staff to address any health issues, thereby causing long-term health complications or even death. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, a couple of KY nursing home cases have been reported. If a nursing home fails to isolate the positive patient and take other measures to prevent the virus from spreading, then that is negligence.
What Should You Do If An Elderly Loved One Is Injured In A Nursing Home?
- Document The Symptoms
This should be the first step whenever you notice any form of injury. It can involve taking photos of any visible physical symptoms, such as bruises, cuts, or marks from restrains.
If you can record forms of treatment in writing, you can make a list entailing everything they have gone through in the facility.
- Seek Medical Treatment
Seeking treatment for your loved ones is the next step. If necessary, go to a health facility outside the nursing home. This is particularly important if you suspect the nursing home of abuse or neglect.
You should ask the nursing home for copies of their medical treatment records, or any other documents that will help you gain an accurate perspective of your loved one’s daily life.
- Raise Your Concerns With The Nursing Home’s Staff
Sometimes, the neglect or abuse can be caused by one employee. If the nursing home is willing, the case can be handled with their cooperation.
- Lawyer Up
Even if the nursing home is willing to solve the matter, you should continue with your documentation. Plan to consult a lawyer because, in some cases, it might not be a single employee who is involved. The neglect could continue, and your relative could become even more vulnerable afterwards.
Also, a legal representative may take up the matter and pursue financial compensation for medical treatment. If you are in a situation that requires legal expertise, you can contact an expert who specialize in such cases, such as Louisville attorney David Bryant.
What Are The Nursing Home Injury Laws?
Several state and federal laws have been put in place to protect nursing home residents from abuse and neglect.
Some states require nursing homes to employ a certain number of certified caregivers. They include licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, and certified nursing assistants.
If a nursing home fails to provide care compassionately and professionally and gives you a reason to believe that it causes harm to your loved one, you can take the matter to the local authorities.
You might also be required to engage a lawyer who will guide you through the legal process of nursing home injuries.
Injuries are common in a nursing home. However, if they become frequent, then that could be a sign of neglect or abuse.
If your loved one has injuries, wounds, or scars, make sure they receive medical attention immediately. Make sure you document the symptoms and have a record of the kind of life your loved one leads every day. Seek an audience with a nursing home staff. Also, consult a lawyer who will advise you on the law enforcement process.
You might also consider moving your loved one into a different nursing facility so that you can establish trust again and regain peace of mind.