One of the hardest decisions many families are forced to make is whether or not to place their elderly loved one in a nursing home. Although many families try to care for their senior family member in their homes, it often gets to the point where the care they need is beyond what family members can provide, such as if the senior is suffering from dementia or serious medical issues.
Nursing homes are supposed to be safe havens for our elderly population and families depend on the facilities to take good care of their loved ones. Tragically, far too many nursing homes end up being anything but havens and elderly patients end up being victims of abuse or neglect. In fact, it is estimated that approximately two million people over the age of 65 have been victims of some type of elderly neglect or abuse.
The following are some of the more common nursing home neglect issues that our nursing home abuse lawyers have seen:
- Pressure Ulcers: Pressure ulcers, also referred to as bedsores, develop when the flow of blood to the skin is decreased due to the pressure of an object against the skin. Parts of the body more susceptible to developing bedsores – because of the lack of fat and muscle – are ankles, elbows, heels, and tailbone. Pressure ulcers can develop in patients who are in wheelchairs or bedridden. When a patient has mobility issues, it is up to the nursing home staff to ensure there is preventative care in place to avoid the development of pressure ulcers.
- Infections: Because elderly patients often have weakened immune systems, they are at a higher risk of becoming sick. When the patient is receiving poor care from the nursing home staff and does not practice proper sanitation methods, the patients can develop serious infections, which can lead to their death. One of the top causes of death in nursing homes is pneumonia, which is often developed in patients who are fed with feeding tubes.
- Bedrails: Many nursing homes use bedrails as safety measures to ensure patients do not fall out of bed (similar to hospitals). Bedrails are also helpful for the patient to use for support if they are adjusting their position in bed or trying to sit up. However, if the bedrails are not installed properly or they are too big for the bed they are on, the rails can slip into the space between the rail and the bed, leading to falling injuries or even asphyxiation.
How Can a Virginia Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Help?
If you suspect your elderly family member is being abused, contact a Virginia nursing home abuse attorney to find out what steps you can take to protect your loved one. Your attorney can assist with the correct reporting protocols to ensure that all municipal elderly protection agencies have been notified.
Your attorney can also assist in advocating for your family with a personal injury lawsuit. Damages that can be recovered by a nursing home abuse lawsuit are medical costs, future medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and past and future impairment. Your attorney may also be able to obtain punitive damages if it can be shown that there was malicious intent or extreme cruelty inflicted upon your loved one.
Call Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp today to schedule a free consultation and find out what legal recourse your family may have.
- Steps to Choosing a Nursing Home and How to Spot Nursing Home Abuse
- Is Your Loved One Suffering Nursing Home Abuse?
- Signs of Dehydration in Nursing Home Abuse Cases