“Abuse” is never a word you want to hear in association with a nursing home. Yet, vulnerable patients are hurt in Indianapolis long-term care nursing homes every year. Old age, disabilities, or mental conditions might make victims dependent on their abusers. Many are incapable of reporting what is happening, while fear paralyzes others.
If you or a loved one is suffering at the hands of an abuser, take action now. The National Institute on Aging confirms: “Elder abuse will not stop on its own. Someone needs to step in and help.” At Hensley Legal Group, we are not afraid to stand up and fight for those injured or disabled by abuse and neglect. We are ready to make a difference in the lives of Marion County nursing home residents.
Help is only a phone call away. Call us toll-free at 888-912-0631 to start chatting with a Hensley Legal Group representative, or click the tab to the left of your screen to schedule a free case evaluation. Someone is available 24/7, so you can contact us at any moment to discuss your concerns.
How to Distinguish Nursing Home Negligence From Abuse
Are you hesitating to seek justice for the improper treatment of your loved one because you are unsure whether the situation is a case of abuse or neglect? Please review the definitions of neglect and abuse below. Then, learn what rights you have under Indiana law by contacting an Indianapolis nursing home abuse lawyer.
Nursing home neglect
Nursing homes are responsible for keeping residents as safe and healthy as possible. If they fail to do so, they might be guilty of negligence. Neglect occurs when nursing homes fail to keep residents from physical, mental, or emotional harm.
Denying a patient access to water is an example of neglect that could harm the person’s physical health. Also, nursing home workers must care for their patients’ social needs. Being isolated from others could damage a resident’s emotional and mental state.
In nursing home negligence cases, administrators and staff sometimes offer excuses. They might try to explain away signs of nursing home neglect or blame their failures on inadequate staffing or funding. Yet, there is never any valid reason for neglect.
Every nursing home has duties to uphold. If they are unable to provide services to a certain standard, why are they in operation? When choosing a nursing home, families seek long-term care facilities that show respect for their loved ones. Trustworthy nursing homes make changes to improve when they learn of existing or potential issues with nursing home neglect.
Nursing home abuse
Abuse is the intentional infliction of injury. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reported this sad truth: “In institutional settings like nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospitals, elder abuse can occur when older adults are mistreated by someone who has a legal or contractual obligation to provide them with care or protection.”
Lawyers pursue justice for these common types of nursing home abuse:
- Physical abuse involves bodily injury by direct acts or withholding a basic need
- Emotional abuse results in mental pain, anguish, or distress; it could be due to verbal (e.g. threats, vulgar language) or nonverbal acts (e.g. glares, obscene gestures)
- Sexual abuse is non-consensual sexual contact or exposure to sexual behaviors; the psychological or physical limitations of some nursing home patients makes them incapable of consent
- Exploitation refers to the illegal misuse, concealment, or theft of money, property, or assets
- Neglect becomes abuse when someone willfully denies basic needs; patients should have food, shelter, clothing, good hygiene, health care, and protection
Abuse is not always carried out by members of nursing home staff. A nursing home patient might also experience abuse at the hands of fellow residents or visitors.
How to Recognize the Symptoms of Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes
Being treated poorly can be scary and disheartening for nursing home residents. So a victim of nursing home abuse might be understandably reluctant to speak up about the ordeal. Abuse attorneys can watch out for the needs of your loved one, relying on Indiana law to effect change when necessary.
The Indiana Attorney General encourages family members to keep on the lookout for the warning signs of elder abuse:
- Unreported injuries or broken bones: When a caretaker fails to report an injury, he or she could be trying to hide neglect or abuse.
- Burns: Caretakers should keep residents away from anything that could burn or scald them.
- Uniform bruises: If a person is repeatedly hit with a belt or another object, it is possible to develop bruises similar in size or shape.
- Insensitivity to pain: Those who are abused on a regular basis might become less responsive to pain.
- Medication errors: Staff have been known to steal medication, often falsifying records to hide their crime. If your loved one seems over- or under-medicated, he or she might be experiencing abuse or neglect.
- Odd nursing home staff behavior: Some caregivers might show up for work under the influence of drugs. Others act strangely in the presence of visitors or authorities.
- Changes in behavior: Is your loved one more withdrawn or depressed than usual? Does he or she seem afraid in the presence of caretakers or reluctant to be left alone with them? Often, patients who have been abused or neglected have changes in their mood, sleeping habits, and behavior.
- Changes in physical appearance: Sudden weight loss or gain and poor hygiene can indicate patient neglect. Ripped or stained clothing are indicators of potential abuse.
- Isolation: Sometimes, patients are kept away from family, visitors, or other residents so they will not reveal abuse or neglect.
Health problems are an expected complication of aging, but physical and emotional abuse can push a care victim into poorer health, jeopardizing his or her quality of life. Inform an Indianapolis personal injury attorney of elder abuse or neglect, whether suspected or confirmed.
Why Report Suspected Indianapolis Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect to Experienced Lawyers
The State of Indiana formed APS to care for victims of abuse, neglect, and exploitation living in assisted-living care facilities. Nursing home abuse lawyers use civil laws to pursue justice for victims. But without attentive family members like you speaking out on behalf of their loved ones, law firms can’t fight nursing home abuse.
Neglect or abuse must be reported as soon as possible, for the following four reasons:
- In Indiana, everyone is a mandated reporter. If you suspect “neglect, battery, or exploitation of an endangered adult,” your duty is to report it to law enforcement or an APS department.
- Evidence diminishes with time. When you see or are able to document evidence to support your suspicions that your loved one is being abused in a nursing home, you should act immediately. Over time, the facility staff may be able to conceal their negligence, or the physical evidence of injury may fade.
- The purpose of our free consultations is to answer your questions and provide you with legal advice. Reports of nursing home neglect or abuse are kept confidential and secure until you are ready to work with a lawyer to protect your loved one.
- Unless people like you reach out for help, neglected elderly patients may continue to suffer. If you want to protect your loved one from preventable injuries, such as broken bones and bedsores, you will have to do your part. Report Indiana nursing home abuse immediately.
No good will come from downplaying instances of nursing home abuse and neglect. When you contact us for a free case evaluation, our compassionate neglect lawyers can examine your case and help you work to resolve these issues with Indianapolis nursing homes. Above all, our goal is for your loved one to receive the care and attention he or she deserves.
How Hensley Legal Group Defends the Rights of Victims of Nursing Home Abuse
At Hensley Legal Group, our constant attention to the personal injury law needs of Indianapolis residents has won us a place in the National Top 100 Trial Lawyers and America’s Top 100 Attorneys. Though we have won many legal victories in Indiana, our neglect lawyers are still in touch with the needs of our clients and their loved ones. Our law firm can assist you and your loved one in the following essential ways.
Explaining your rights
An experienced nursing home abuse attorney can inform you of your rights as a nursing home resident or family representative. With an experienced nursing home abuse prevention team on your side, you can ensure that your loved one is treated as he or she should be, namely:
- With respect for his or her level of independence, personal property, and privacy
- With freedom from discrimination based on age, race, sex, religion, or national origin
- Without nursing home neglect or abuse
- Without chemical (i.e. drugs) or physical (i.e side rails) restraints as discipline
- With the freedom to complain without fear of punishment
- With contact with family, visitors, and medical professionals
- With access to social services
Investigating personal injury cases
If you witness elder abuse or injuries that require medical care in a nursing home, call 911. Next, send a message using our contact form to let us know. Our Indianapolis injury attorneys can review the evidence to determine if you qualify to file a claim.
Building personal injury cases for maximum compensation
If your case meets the requirements of a nursing home negligence or abuse claim, we will take action to secure your legal claim. For instance, we might contact the nursing home’s insurance carrier to collect damages.
Damages are compensation for the losses your loved one sustained as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect. You might be eligible to win damages for:
- Medical bills for hospital care, surgeries, prescriptions, and rehabilitation
- Emotional trauma
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today
Worrying that your loved one is in danger at a care facility can’t be easy. Why not turn to a sympathetic elder abuse attorney? Lawyers can investigate to determine whether nursing home abuse or neglect is robbing your loved one of his or her rights.
Other law firms might charge you money to share your worries with a professional lawyer. At Hensley Legal Group, though, your initial consultation is always free and without obligation. Let our lawyers know if you feel that your loved one might be the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect.
Call us at (317) 210-4795 to schedule a home or virtual visit. Or request your free case evaluation by completing this simple contact form.