After making the difficult decision to place a loved one in the care of a nursing home facility, there is nothing worse than learning your elderly loved one has sustained a serious injury. Nursing homes are supposed to care for residents and ensure that they are safe from harm but, while many of them do provide excellent care for residents, not all nursing homes live up to this standard.
Nursing home abuse and neglect is, unfortunately, an all-too-common occurrence across the United States—often with devastating consequences. If you suspect that your loved one is the victim of nursing home negligence in Nebraska, reach out to the Omaha nursing home injury lawyers at Cullan & Cullan LLC as soon as possible. It is important that you remember you still have legal rights; our attorneys are here to here to help you take action against the negligent and liable parties.
Call our firm at (402) 882-7080 or submit an online contact form today for a free, confidential consultation.
The Difference between Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
Though similar, there are certain subtle differences between nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect. In either case, victims and/or their family members can take legal action against abusers or negligent parties, including individuals and nursing home facilities.
Generally speaking, the difference between nursing home abuse and neglect is as follows:
- Nursing home abuse can take many forms: physical, emotional, sexual, financial, etc. Regardless of the type of abuse that has occurred, nursing home abuse is defined as an intentional act that is meant to and/or results in harm to the nursing home resident. This can include acts such as hitting, kicking, or slapping a resident; yelling at or inflicting emotional distress on a resident; unwanted sexual touching; and using a resident’s credit card without permission.
- Nursing home neglect involves a nursing home’s failure to properly care for its residents. This can include things such as failing to hire sufficient staff for the number of residents, failing to keep hygienic conditions for residents, and failing to care for the medical needs of residents.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
In some cases, elderly residents are unable, afraid, or embarrassed to report abuse or neglect. It is important, therefore, that family members and loved ones know the signs of abuse and/or neglect so that they can take legal action right away when they suspect that something is wrong.
Some of the most common signs of nursing home abuse and/or neglect include:
- Unexplained injuries, such as bruises, cuts, or broken bones
- Soiled or dirty clothes or bedsheets
- Bedsores (also known as pressure ulcers)
- Signs of malnutrition and/or dehydration
- Residents that appear afraid or unwilling to speak in front of staff
- Sudden changes in behavior or mood
- Issues with medication, including residents who are over- or under-medicated
- Unusual withdrawals from bank accounts
- Changes to wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and similar documents
- Wandering or elopement
If you notice these or other signs of abuse or neglect, seek medical attention on behalf of your elderly loved one right away. Next, report the abuse to the proper authorities. This could be the administrator of the nursing home facility or even local law enforcement. You can speak to a member of the Nebraska Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program if you need help filing a complaint.
Lastly, reach out to the Omaha nursing home abuse attorneys at Cullan & Cullan LLC. We have more than 40 years of legal experience and our attorneys are also medical professionals. We understand the devastating, often long-term impact nursing home and neglect can have, both on victims and their loved ones. Our legal team can help you fight for justice and the full, fair recovery you are owed.
Emotional Abuse in Nursing Homes
When people think of abuse, they often think of physical violence. Abuse, however, can also be inflicted emotionally. Situations in which residents are treated poorly are a common problem in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
According to the National Center for Elder Abuse (NCEA), these are the most common types of emotional abuse in nursing homes:
- Violent threats
- Preventing residents from participating in social activities
The NCEA reports that one out of every ten elderly nursing home residents suffers from some form of abuse each year. Unfortunately, these numbers only reflect the cases that were reported. That means there are hundreds of thousands of unreported nursing home abuse situations annually. While physical signs of abuse can be obvious, the signs of emotional abuse may not be.
Here are some of the signs of emotional abuse to be on the lookout for:
- Drastic weight loss
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Avoiding eye contact
- Displays low self-esteem
- Acting differently (depressed, disturbed, hopeless, scared, shy, withdrawn)
- Changes to eating, and sleeping patterns
Common Causes of Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home facilities have a duty to not only ensure that residents are safe from abuse but also to make sure that they are provided with the proper care. This includes things like ensuring residents receive adequate food and water, access to medication/treatment, and clean and hygienic living areas. Failure to uphold this duty constitutes neglect and can result in serious injuries for elderly residents.
Nursing home neglect occurs in many forms—neglect of basic needs, medical needs, personal hygiene, and even emotional needs. There are many reasons why nursing home neglect occurs, and it can be either intentional or accidental in nature.
Some of the most common causes of nursing home neglect include:
- Inadequate staffing
- Lack of staff training
- Overworked nursing home employees
- Failure to employ licensed physicians on staff
- Insufficient funding
- Failure to conduct background checks
- Failure to report prior incidents
Regardless of the cause, nursing home neglect is inexcusable. At Cullan & Cullan LLC, we strive to hold negligent nursing home facilities accountable for the harm they cause and seek justice on behalf of victims and their families.
Helping Victims of Nursing Home Abuse Seek Justice
Nursing home abuse is a particularly heinous crime that deserves swift action. At Cullan & Cullan LLC, we are determined to hold violators responsible.
Depending on the degree of negligence involved in your loved one’s abuse, the at-fault party could owe significant compensation in the form of:
- Long-term mental and emotional therapy
- Refunding of all nursing home expenses
- Medical bills and doctor’s fees
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
What to Do if You Suspect Elder Abuse
If you believe your loved one is suffering at the hands of a staff member or resident, we recommend you speak with the shift supervisor or anyone operating in a managerial role at the home. If your concerns are not addressed, or you believe it goes beyond one or two people, contact your regional Adult Protective Services.
They will open a formal investigation, although it may take some time to meet your request. If you believe your loved one is in immediate danger, contact 9-1-1 and report what you have found. Finally, we highly recommend contacting our office and scheduling an appointment to discuss your nursing home abuse case.
Call Our Firm Today for a Free Consultation
We are here to help you and your family obtain compensation from those responsible so that you can focus on healing and getting your feet back on the ground. For more information about how the Omaha nursing home abuse lawyers at Cullan & Cullan can assist you, request your free and confidential consultation today.
Contact Cullan & Cullan LLC online or call (402) 882-7080. There are never any fees unless we win your case.