None of us likes to think of our loves ones — or even ourselves — becoming the victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home or assisted living facility. However, studies have shown these incidences are on the rise, particularly among residents with dementia who are more likely to be abused and or neglected. In addition, a high rate of staff turnover at a facility can often mean insufficient training and an inadequate understanding of a resident’s ongoing mental and physical health problems.
Is It Abuse or Neglect?
There have been many cases of neglect where the patient is unable to move or speak and the medical staff ignores the resident for long periods of time. The most common injury with these types of cases is bedsores. Bedsores are the most common sign of neglect since they are preventable. Bedsores result when pressure is applied to one area for a long period of time. For example, when a patient is lying in bed and is unable to move on their own, the staff should reposition or turn the patient on a schedule in order to prevent a bedsore. These types of injuries are preventable and are not exclusive to a patient lying down in a bed. Sitting in a wheelchair for long periods of time without being adjusted can also cause bedsores. If you suspect neglect, speak to the staff about preventing bedsores and ask how often they turn or adjust patients. The correct answer should be every few hours or less.
Neglect can also mean missing scheduled medications, which can prolong illness or even worsen a diagnosed condition that could lead to a premature death. These are examples of neglect and there are many more situations in which a resident can be harmed. Once a loved one shows signs of neglect, you should call the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services at 1-800-252-5400.
Abuse may seem similar to neglect and, in a way, it is; however, nursing home abuse means much more than someone not doing his or her job. Abuse implies that either one or more staff members are deliberately causing harm to residents of the facility. Data from Texas Adult Protective Services (APS) shows an increasing trend in the reporting of elder abuse, which can mean either elder abuse is on the rise or reporting abuse is becoming more common.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury from nursing home abuse or neglect, the experienced personal injury legal team at Roberts & Roberts is here to help with compassionate, aggressive representation. Please call 800-248-6000 or contact us for a free consultation.
Justin is an attorney at Roberts & Roberts and focuses his practice on mass tort litigation, where he specializes in helping individuals who are harmed by recalled or unsafe pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices. He has earned recognition as a “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers. Prior to joining Roberts & Roberts, Justin served as an attorney in all three branches of Texas’s state government, including as a Briefing Attorney on the Texas Supreme Court. He also represented electric and natural gas utilities in complex regulatory proceedings before the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Railroad Commission of Texas. Justin is a published author in the St. Mary’s Law Journal.