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Nursing Home Abuse
Lawyers on Long Island

Helping Your Family Heal From Nursing Home Abuse

Many millions of Americans are being cared for in nursing homes. The number of people likely to need care in one of these institutions is expected to rise over the next few decades.

Unfortunately, not every resident who is in a nursing home is treated to a dedicated and caring environment. In fact, high numbers of elders across Long Island have suffered from nursing home abuse or nursing home neglect.

If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse, you should contact a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, as soon as possible. We can help you:

  • Stop the abuse or neglect of the nursing home resident.
  • Hold accountable those responsible for the abuse or neglect.
  • Make a report to the proper authorities.
  • Seek compensation for the suffering the resident has wrongfully endured.
Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney.

What Is Nursing Home Abuse?

As discussed by the Administration on Aging, elder abuse can occur in many forms. In nursing homes, abuse often occurs as:

  • Physical abuse – Slapping, hitting, bruising, using chemical or physical restraints on a resident or otherwise inflicting pain and injury.
  • Emotional abuse – Causing distress or mental pain and anguish through verbal or nonverbal acts, such as humiliation, intimidation or threats.
  • Sexual abuse – Sexual contact of any kind that is non-consensual.
  • Neglect – Failure to provide vulnerable residents with food, healthcare, shelter or protection.
  • Exploitation – Illegally taking, concealing, or misusing funds or property belonging to a resident for the benefit of another.

What Are the Warning Signs of Abuse and Neglect?

Nursing home residents may not be capable of expressing themselves as well as they would like. In fact, some people who are in a situation of abuse are too frightened to reveal what is happening to them. However, there are several signs of nursing home abuse that may cause you to suspect that not everything is as it should be.

Warning signs of physical abuse include:
  • Bruises, scarring, welts and other unexplained signs of injury, especially if the bruises or welts appear on both sides of the body in a symmetrical pattern
  • Sprains, strains and dislocations
  • Bone fractures
  • Drug overdoses
  • Failure to take medication as prescribed, which can be detected when there is too much of a prescription medicine remaining
  • Broken eyeglass frames or lenses
  • Rope marks on wrists or other signs of being restrained
Warning signs of emotional abuse include:
  • Belittling or controlling actions on the part of the caregiver
  • The resident murmuring, mumbling or rocking
  • Unexplained depression or loss of interest in activities
  • Apparent fear when a particular caregiver is present
Warning signs of sexual abuse include:
  • Bruises around the genitals or around the breasts
  • Unexplained genital infections
  • Diagnosis of sexually transmitted diseases
  • Unexplained anal or vaginal bleeding
  • Bloody, torn, stained or missing underclothing
Warning signs of financial abuse include:
  • Unexplained financial transactions, including large withdrawals
  • A sudden change in a senior’s financial condition
  • Missing property or money
  • Sudden and unexplained changes to a senior’s will, titles or powers of attorney
  • New names being added to a senior’s bank signature card
  • Bills that go unpaid
  • ATM withdrawals for a senior who is bedridden or unable to leave the nursing home
Neglect can also be considered a type of nursing home abuse. The consequences of neglect can be just as serious as the consequences of active abuse. Signs that a senior is being neglected may include:
  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Untreated physical problems
  • Bedsores, especially severe ones
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Hygiene problems

You are in the best position to know whether any of these signs are suspicious. In some cases, they may appear because of an underlying illness that has already been diagnosed, or because the resident has had an accident. However, they can also indicate neglect or physical violence being inflicted on the elder.

Signs of malnutrition should be taken very seriously, particularly if there is no history of illness that could cause this condition. It is important to use an independent medical practitioner to give an informed diagnosis of the cause of malnutrition.

Nursing home abuse sometimes occurs in the form of neglect of the resident’s basic needs, such as a proper diet or proper feeding times. Denial of food is also used by staff in some cases to “punish” a nursing home resident for behavior that the staff member does not like.

Bedsores or pressure ulcers are caused by lying in one position for too long, and they often appear when elders have been ill or in the hospital. Bedsores are preventable. If your loved one has them, it may be a sign that he or she is not getting enough care and attention.

Doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have a duty to provide care that meets a required standard. When they fail to do so, nursing home negligence has occurred, and the law provides for civil claims for damages.

More serious signs of abuse and neglect include bruising or broken bones, which could indicate that a resident has been deliberately harmed – either actually struck or knocked over, or neglected to the extent that the resident has suffered a fall without any medical treatment being given.

Who Can Be Liable for Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing homes have a strict duty of care to residents. These facilities can be held responsible for:

  • Negligent hiring (failure to run background checks on employees)
  • Negligent training
  • Failure to monitor staff properly
  • Failure to provide necessities, such as food and water
  • Medical neglect
  • Failure to provide adequate security
  • Failure to protect residents from health and safety hazards
  • Use of dangerous or unreasonable physical restraints
  • Intentional abuse of residents by staff members

Third parties may be liable for nursing home injuries in some cases. For example, if a medical device, wheelchair or gurney malfunctions and causes injury to a resident, the manufacturer or an outside company that maintains the equipment for the facility may be responsible.

How Can a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Help Me?

It is important to know what steps to take if you suspect nursing home abuse. The basic actions to take are:

  • Call 911 in an emergency.
  • Voice your concerns to management.
  • Report abuse and neglect to the proper authorities.
  • Contact an experienced Long Island nursing home abuse attorney.

Elders deserve to live their last years of life in safety and dignity without fear of abuse. Nursing homes must be licensed to operate, which is meant to ensure that their residents are treated with diligence and care.

Working with experienced nursing home abuse attorneys such as those at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, can help put an end to abuse and neglect of a loved one in a nursing home. A successful claim could also provide compensation to address the wrongful treatment your loved one has suffered.

Nursing home abuse and neglect cases are typically very complex. They often require an extensive investigation to determine what happened to cause the resident’s injuries and who was responsible. This may include a careful examination of the resident’s medical records and an investigation into the actions of personnel responsible for your loved one’s care. Economic experts may be necessary to calculate the resident’s losses and establish a basis for compensation.

Our attorneys are ready to do what’s necessary to get your loved one out of an abusive or neglectful situation – and then pursue compensation for the maltreatment your loved one has suffered at the hands of those who were supposed to provide care and protection. We are prepared to be an advocate for those who may feel as if they lack a voice.

If you suspect that any type of nursing home abuse has been occurring, contact Richard S. Jaffe at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, as soon as possible for a free consultation. Nursing home abuse attorney, Mr. Jaffe, will be able to give you clear and knowledgeable advice about whether you have reasonable grounds to file a lawsuit against the home concerned. It is often the success of such lawsuits that helps to maintain higher standards of care among nursing home facilities.

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