Once a family has made the difficult decision to place a loved one in a nursing home they have a right to expect that their loved one will not be injured as a result of neglect or abuse.
Bedsores Can Be a Sign of Neglect
One of the most common injuries in nursing homes are bed sores. Also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers, bed sores can develop in several ways:
- Workers fail to turn an elderly person on his/her side or otherwise move the elderly person into a different position causing prolonged pressure and making skin unable to receive nutrients and oxygen.
- Poor nutrition and dehydration can impact skin health and the body's ability to heal making individuals more susceptible to bed sores.
- Leaving individuals to sit in urine, feces or in wet clothing or bedding for any amount of time can can cause skin deterioration and bed sores to develop.
- Friction created when inexperienced or improperly trained staff workers attempt to move patients from a bed and into a wheelchair
- Wounds caused by dropping a patient or rubbing his or her skin against the side of a bed.
- Failing to properly treat high-risk patients with pressure-relieving devices, such as specialized mattresses or cushions.
Nursing homes in New York are responsible to reposition immobile patients at least every 2 hours. Failure to do this can result in painful bed sores. In most cases, bed sores are preventable if the nursing home staff implements the proper precautions and ensures that the resident receives adequate care.
What Are Other Forms of Neglect In Nursing Homes?
Aside from bed sores the elderly are also at risk for:
- Dehydration and failure to provide sufficient quantities of food
- Over or improper medication
- Lack of supervision leading to falls
- Inadequate wound care leading to infections
- Poor hygiene
- Sexual, physical and verbal abuse.
How To Spot Neglect Or Abuse?
Nursing home neglect and abuse is often difficult to detect, and families should be on the lookout for common warning signs for physical, emotional and financial abuse.
Common warning signs of physical abuse are:
- Untreated bedsores, wounds, cuts, bruises, or welts
- Abnormally pale complexion
- Bruises in a pattern that would suggest restraints
- Excessive and sudden weight loss
- Fleas, lice, or dirt on or in the room
- Poor personal hygiene, unpleasant odors or other unattended health problems
- Torn clothing or broken personal items
- Bleeding around the genital or anal area
- Venereal disease
- Bloody undergarments
- Bruises around the breast/genital region
Common warning signs of emotional abuse are:
- Intimidation through yelling and threats
- Ignoring the patient
- Isolating the patient from other residents and/or activities
- Terrorizing the patient
- Mocking the patient
Financial exploitation is another form of abuse. An unscrupulous caregiver may:
- Misuse checks, accounts, or credit cards
- Steal money, steal checks, or steal belongings
- Forge signatures
- Authorize withdrawals or transfer of monies
- Steal the patient’s identity
Sadly, the suffering sustained by the elderly ranges from financial, to emotional and physical. Abuse escalating to physical can result in severe infections, amputations, dehydration and, unfortunately, death. A lawsuit should be filed on behalf of your loved one to get the justice your family deserves. Compensation may cover the costs of treatment and recovery, as well as compensation for non-financial hardships such as pain and suffering.
Why Choose Sinel Law?
Sinel & Associates, PLLC is honored to represent and protect the most vulnerable portion of the population: the elderly infirm. We successfully handle a large volume of cases against nursing home with a focus on bed sore litigation. Insurance companies and defense lawyers know that when they litigate against Sinel Law, they will likely end up either settling for a large monetary award or being victimized by a jury verdict in favor of our clients. Our medical experts, nurses, and litigation experience allow us to to achieve these superior results for our clients.
Call Sinel Law at 212.465.1000 to receive a free consultation about the claims that you may have against a nursing home facility or other person entrusted with the care of your loved one. No one should have to suffer from bed sores or negligent care in nursing homes.