Houston Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Billions Won for the Injured, Abused & Neglected
As we age, we require more medical attention—it is simply human to have our health to decline and our bodies weaken. Tens of thousands of Americans find themselves moving into nursing homes and assisted living facilities every year in order to receive the around-the-clock care that they need. This transition can be difficult for many elderly people, not to mention for the families involved. Great pains are taken to ensure that the care their loved one will be receiving is top of the line and will enable them to live safely and comfortably.
While many assisted living centers and nursing homes are positive changes for the aging individual, nursing home abuse and negligence is still far too common. If you or your loved one has suffered while living in a nursing home, our Houston nursing home abuse lawyers are available to answer your questions and help you pursue compensation. We want to restore justice and dignity to seniors who suffered unjust treatment.
Types of Abuse in Nursing Homes
Varying levels of negligence may be traced back to understaffed or underfinanced assisted living facilities. Unfortunately, more extreme versions of abuse may exist in these situations as well. As elderly loved ones begin to age, they become forgetful, frail, and less lucid, which leaves them practically defenseless against others. This results in an industry infected with different abuses.
Take a look at some of the most common types of abuse below:
- Inappropriate use of drugs
- Ignoring an elderly individual
- Isolating them from friends or activities
- Inappropriate physical contact
- Forcing an elderly person to view pornography
- Forcing an elderly person to undress
- Intentional or unintentional neglect of proper care
- Denying that an elder needs care at all
- Identity theft
- Misuse of personal accounts
- Signature forgery
- Phone scams
- Charging for healthcare that was never provided
- Overcharging for services
Common Signs of Abuse in Nursing Homes
If you suspect that your loved one is being victimized by nursing home abuse, look for common signs:
- Unexplained injuries
- Restraint marks on wrists
- Sudden loss of weight
- Lack of hygiene maintenance
- Messy living conditions
- Sudden emotional withdrawal/sullen behavior
- Unexplained withdrawals from accounts
Falling Danger for New Nursing Home Residents
A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society reveals that one-fifth of newly admitted nursing home residents will suffer a fall within one month of their arrival. The research concluded that this risk could be mitigated by introducing higher levels of staffing, including the presence of certified nursing assistants. To conduct the study, researchers examined health care data for over 230,000 first-time residents of over 10,000 nursing homes in the U.S. Of those patients, 21% experienced one or more falls in just their first 30 days of residency.
Falls in nursing homes can pose serious health risks to elderly residents.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates approximately 1,800 nursing home residents die from falls each year. Even those residents who survive falls are at risk of sustaining hip or head injuries which can result in decreased quality of life or even permanent disabilities. Falls among nursing home residents are extremely common—just 5% of adults over the age of 65 live in nursing care facilities, yet these residents account for almost 20% of fall-related deaths in this age group, according to CDC data. This is not entirely surprising—falling tends to be indicative of other, more serious, health problems and nursing home residents tend to be frailer and in worse health than peers who are living on their own.
Even so, some external factors do contribute to nursing home falls:
- Environmental hazards like wet floors can cause between 16 and 27% of nursing home falls
- Medications that affect the central nervous system, like sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs, can increase the risk of falls in nursing home residents. Fall risks are particularly high during the first three days of a patient's introduction to a new medication
- Other contributing factors can include poor foot care, improperly fitted foot wear, and improper uses of walking aids
In examining many of these potential causes for nursing home falls, the study researchers discovered that facilities with higher certified-nursing-assistant-to-patient ratios reported far fewer resident falls. Lead study author Natalie Leland, a research gerontologist and occupational therapist with the University of Southern California, concluded that nursing assistants reduce fall rates because they provide hands-on patient care during high-risk activities like dressing, using the bathroom and moving between locations.
Leland said, "Identifying risk of falling is essential for implementing fall-prevention strategies." While many previous studies have examined nursing home falling hazards, this study appears to be the first to specifically look at the dangers faced by newly admitted residents. These people are particularly at risk because they are already disoriented by their introduction to a new place with new, unfamiliar staff, the study authors said.
Victim of Nursing Home Abuse? We Can Help.
If you recognize any of these symptoms and suspect your loved one may be undergoing abuse at the hands of a nursing home, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can help you fight for your loved one’s rights and take the necessary steps towards protecting their best interests.
Contact us immediately if you are seeking experienced counsel on what to do next!