Many families know that abuse of elderly patients in nursing homes is very common, and it often happens when no one is around to witness the incident. For this reason, many families opt to place
their loved ones in long-term care facilities, preferred as a matter of perceived trust. However, this too can be a place where elder abuse and elder neglect occur. Elder abuse cases have spiked recently around North Carolina, as they have in most states since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Just as in a nursing home, uncovering evidence of abusive practices is often very difficult unless a family member or friend actually witnesses the abuse firsthand. And when this is happening, it is usually more serious than the observer sees. This is why it commonly takes professional assistance from a nursing home abuse lawyer who understands what may be happening that the witnesses may not. Complaints from those being abused can be helpful, but many of those who are abuse victims are often ill-equipped to provide a cogent report of what is taking place around them. Regardless of the appearance of a facility, and its perceived reputation, elder abuse can take place and this is when a legal professional focused on health care can be invaluable.
Hospital Facilities – Long-Term Nursing Home Care Option
Hospitals commonly have long-term elder care facilities that they recommend for some patients with very acute or terminal medical issues. And families tend to trust hospitals as opposed to putting a family member in a designated nursing home. The fact that the treatment center is a division of the hospital is not necessarily an indication that they provide better care. The same cleanliness problems and mistreatment of patients can still occur, and sometimes it can be even worse. Hospitals are businesses that often cut corners. Even though patients are potentially closer to emergency care if necessary, they can still be victims of negligence, such as:
- Failure to respond to patient calls in a timely manner
- Ignoring patient requests
- Failure to provide adequate pain medication
- Abusive attitude toward patients – verbally and physically
- Lax housekeeping when the patient is incoherent
- Failure to provide adequate patient bathing and hygiene
Nursing Homes And Care Facility Elder Abuse
Nursing homes tend to have a wider range of patients and residents who need different types of care. They typically have residents who are still very mobile and only require minimal assistance in addition to those who need constant attention. They also commonly maintain a wider variety of skilled nurses and certified nurse assistants. Problems can ensue when nursing homes have fewer registered nurses than needed and delegate RN functions to CNA employees who are still in training. While some of these observable issues may exist, an experienced and aggressive North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse Attorney can take action to obtain actual documentation proving the abuse actually exists.
How an Elder Abuse Attorney Can Build a Case for Negligence
Some nursing home abuse cases do not produce an apparent bodily injury, but the incremental injury can be occurring due to nursing home negligence. All personal injury cases are based on negligence, and certain documentation can indicate this is happening. An attorney can file legal action requiring the release of medical documentation, facility maintenance records, and information regarding professional staffing at any facility. In addition, and especially in nursing homes where there are coherent residents who live there and witness certain acts from management and staff, witnesses can be questioned regarding facility activities and treatment policy. Company policy can reflect abusive treatment even when they treat all patients equally by policy. An attorney can file a complaint with any state health regulatory agency that may provide oversight in establishing that the abuse actually exists. State inspection reports can then be used in building the case, including past complaints that management officials never want to discuss when talking to families about choosing their facility for their family member’s skilled nursing needs.
Always remember that just because a nursing home looks attractive and the staff is cordial at the beginning does not mean that nefarious activities are not happening during operation. Even minor details can be an indication of a negligence situation. Consider also that the same issues apply to adult daycare facilities, it isn’t necessary to be a full-time resident of a care facility to suffer abuse at the hands of the staff, or even other patients [daycare abuse attorneys]. Anyone who suspects their loved one is being abused in a nursing facility should contact an elder/nursing home abuse attorney for a professional investigation and evaluation of the situation. The life of a family member can depend on it.