In the past decade, many Tennessee nursing homes have been cited for having environments conducive to accidents and issues with maintaining professional standards. Elder neglect, exploitation, and mistreatment are common occurrences in our nursing homes and must stop. The facility’s failure to follow protocols and offer care puts your loved ones at risk.
If your loved one suffers an injury or other form of physical abuse, you must take legal action by speaking with a personal injury lawyer in West Memphis, TN from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC.
Laws Protecting the Elderly
Federal and state laws protect nursing home residents and offer a legal foundation for abuse claims. The Adult Protection Act states that anyone aware of abuse can and should file a written or oral report. Failing to report abuse can make the person criminally liable.
The state department will investigate the claims and take action to halt the abuse. Workers who report the abuse are immune to retaliation or discrimination from the facility and their administrators.
Other laws that protect older adults in care faculties are the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Act, the Regiersy of Persons who have Abused, Neglect, or Misappropriate the Property of Vulnerable Individuals Act, and the Rights of the Nursing Home Patients Act. It is best to work with nursing home physical abuse lawyers who will gather evidence like photographs, testimonies, sample food, etc., and correlate it to these acts.
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Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987
This law outlines the rights of nursing home residents and can help establish a basis for your abuse claim. Violations of the Reform Act can include:
- Psychological or mental abuse
- Inadequate existence of physical or social programs at the facility
- Inadequate or incorrect administration of medications to residents
- HIPAA violations
- Healthcare providers failed to develop an adequate care plan
- Sedatives and physical restraints are used unnecessarily to control residents
- Staff and caregivers disrespect and mistreat patients
A bill of rights and other documents also outline other areas of concern and potential violations. Families of loved ones in these care facilities must stay aware of and report any violations they witness or suspect through the appropriate channels.
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State Reporting Agencies
Some state resources are available to report cases of abuse and neglect. These agencies can help you through the process, but they will not work to get you compensation. State resource agencies work to reprimand the facility and make changes.
These agencies consist of:
- Long-Term Care Ombudsman
- Adult Protective Services
- TN Department of Health
- Commission on Aging and Disability
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Signs of Nursing Home Physical Abuse
Nursing home residents are vulnerable to all types of abuse and neglect. The most common is physical abuse since it encompasses many actions. Physical abuse can lead to other kinds of abuse, like emotional and financial.
Signs of physical abuse are:
- Pressure sores
- Black eyes
- Broken bones
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Slapping, kicking, punching, or hitting
- Bruises, lacerations, and welts
- Unexplained behavioral changes in the resident
- Unexpected and rapid weight loss
- Unsanitary rooms, unsafe conditions
- Cuts open sores and unexplained injuries
- Failing to administer medication
- Emotional agitation
- Nervousness around specific staff or caregivers
- Withdrawal or unresponsive behavior
- Inadequate medical care
Physical abuse is prevalent, and sometimes it starts small with minor bruising that can be attributed to bumping into something. When visiting your loved one, note any changes and ask for explanations and documentation.
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Who Abuses the Elderly
Anyone visiting or providing care can perpetuate abuse. There are no key identifying characteristics. Abusers can be family members, intimate partners, friends, caregivers, and relatives.
Nursing homes should be safe for residents, but not when abusers and other nefarious individuals enter these facilities. Sometimes victims think it is their fault or feel shame and will not report what is happening. Neglect and sexual assault are other forms of physical abuse.
Bed sores are traumatic, and most bed sores are caused by neglect. You can file a civil lawsuit for any abuse your loved one suffers. First, you must speak to a nursing home physical abuse attorney in West Memphis, TN, about your options.
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Compensation Available for Physical Abuse
Nursing home abuse cases are unique because they have certain factors that other personal injury claims don’t. When your West Memphis nursing home physical abuse attorneys prove the facility’s actions resulted in an injury, you can seek compensation for your losses. Potential recoverable losses include:
- Cost of nursing home care
- Cost of changing nursing home facilities, if applicable
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional therapy
- Medical expenses for procedures related to the injury
- Punitive damages
Some injuries and abuse can result in the death of a loved one. This is an unfortunate and preventable event. If your loved ones die at the hands of the facility staff, you can file a wrongful death claim and seek compensatory damages from the facility and other relevant parties.
Statutes of Limitations in West Memphis
No damage caps exist for nursing home abuse cases, but there are deadlines for filing claims. You have one year with the discovery rule for general negligence and medical malpractice. One caveat for medical malpractice cases is that you might have up to three years to file a claim depending on the circumstances.
Wrongful death claims also have a one-year statute for claims. Retain legal counsel immediately to discuss your options and ensure you meet all necessary deadlines.
A West Memphis Nursing Home Physical Abuse Lawyer Can Help
If you suspect or have knowledge that your loved one might be the victim of nursing home physical abuse, you can count on Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, to investigate the standard of care in the facility and identify any laws they are breaking. Your loved one is in a nursing home, so they can be safe and comfortable and get the attention they need. They are not there to be abused and taken advantage of.
Contact us for an initial consultation and discuss your legal options for physical abuse in West Memphis nursing homes.