Holding Nursing Homes Responsible for Neglect and Abuse

Placing a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility is never an easy decision, but it is one that is usually made out of love and with the hope that the elderly person will get better care than what could be provided at home.

When signs of neglect or abuse start to surface, it may be easy to convince yourself that your loved one is okay. However, it is vital that you investigate any suspicions and get the help of an attorney if you are not being taken seriously. Systematic abuse and isolated incidents of neglect can both have a devastating impact on those who experience them. At Hite & Stone, our commitment is to do everything for the client that we would do for our own parent if we suspected abuse or neglect. You can trust us to take care of your loved one.

Possible Signs of Abuse and Neglect

It is a sad fact that many elderly people are unhappy to be in a nursing home, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t well cared for. How do you distinguish between an unhappy resident and one who is truly being mistreated? The following are a few signs that your loved one may be suffering from abuse or neglect:

  • Bed sores
  • Dirty clothes
  • Dirty living conditions
  • Inadequate heating or cooling
  • Weight loss
  • Changes in behavior
  • Bruises
  • Broken bones
  • Unusual depression

If you notice any of these conditions, you should tell a case manager at the facility immediately. While residents can fall and suffer bruises and broken bones without being the victim of abuse or neglect, you are entitled to a full incident report when this happens. If it happens frequently, you should begin to suspect poor supervision, neglect, or abuse.

What Kinds of Mistreatment Do the Elderly Experience?

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, mistreatment of the elderly can take several forms. When your loved one is in a nursing care facility, he or she may suffer the following forms of abuse:

  • Physical abuse and neglect. Inflicting or threatening to inflict physical pain or injury, or depriving a resident of a basic need such as food, water, hygiene care, cleaning services, or medical care, are all forms of physical mistreatment.
  • Emotional abuse and neglect. Defined as inflicting mental pain, anguish, or distress on an elder person through verbal or nonverbal acts, emotional abuse can take the form of name-calling, bullying, withholding services, and more.
  • Sexual abuse. Consisting of non-consensual sexual contact of any kind or coercing an elder to witness sexual behaviors, sexual abuse of the elderly is particularly shocking.
  • Exploitation. Illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a vulnerable elder are all forms of exploitation. Stealing personal information or coercing a resident to hand over their assets are also illegal activities.

Assisted living facilities have a hard time finding qualified, caring employees and the turnover rate can be very high. That is why it is important to visit your loved one as often as you can and be on the lookout for signs that things are not going well. Even if the abuse is perpetrated by a single employee, the nursing home can be held liable for negligent hiring practices, failure to maintain health and safety standards, or negligent supervision.

Due to the liability they face, you may have a hard time getting a nursing home to admit to any wrongdoing or to compensate your loved one for her injuries. Working with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney, however, will ensure that your claims are taken seriously and that your loved one is compensated for her physical and emotional suffering, as well as any financial losses.

Hite & Stone Is Committed to Protecting the Vulnerable

Our attorneys are dedicated to ending the suffering of nursing home residents who have been abused or neglected and making those responsible for the suffering pay. If any form of abuse happens under a care facility’s roof, they are likely also legally liable for the damage that has been done. If your loved one has been a victim of abuse anywhere in South Carolina, call our Abbeville attorneys.