North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

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The decision to move into a nursing home is not one that is normally taken lightly.

Many older people find themselves needing extra help or care and are no longer able to live independently. Some elders do not have a family able to appropriately care for them, while others do not want to feel like a burden to their family.

A nursing home abuse lawyer working on a case at his desk.Whatever the reason, nursing homes are a good option, and they provide different levels of care for different levels of need. Many people enjoy the daily activities and socialization that they were not able to enjoy while living on their own.

Despite so many positive experiences, some elders become the victims of neglect or abuse.

It is believed that many cases of elder abuse are not reported, but there are almost two million reported cases of nursing home abuse every year in the United States. Residents in nursing homes are at risk of suffering abuse from other residents, caregivers, and other staff members.

The abuse may be physical, emotional, sexual, or financial in nature. A common form of elder abuse is neglect, meaning the victim is ignored or given inadequate care.

The nursing home abuse attorneys at Tatum & Atkinson have no patience for any type of nursing home abuse or neglect. The heavy hitters of North Carolina are ready to go to battle for our state’s elderly population and have the experience and knowledge to win.

Tatum & Atkinson will represent the victim or the victim’s family through the process of litigation and will take care of the complexities of each unique case.

If you are experiencing mistreatment or if your loved one has suffered abuse while in a nursing home, contact Tatum & Atkinson right away at (800) LAW-0804 for a free consultation to get your questions answered and to learn about your legal rights and options.

How Will a North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Help Me?

The nursing home abuse lawyers at Tatum & Atkinson are compassionate and committed to helping you or your loved one get what you deserve for having to endure such cruelty. We investigate your claim and collect the necessary evidence, including:

  • Medical Records
  • Witness Statements
  • Pictures of Injuries
  • Photographs of Living Conditions
  • Files From the Nursing Home

The nursing home abuse attorneys at Tatum & Atkinson will handle all communications with the nursing home staff and will make sure that everyone cooperates with the investigation. Tatum & Atkinson will also make sure that you or your loved one gets the best possible compensation that you deserve.

How Can I Know if My Loved One Is the Victim of Nursing Home Abuse?

The family and friends of nursing home residents play a crucial role in protecting their loved ones, especially when those residents are unable to speak for themselves.

Some residents find abuse to be humiliating and refuse to admit to being victimized. It is important for family members to know what to look for and to visit often. Common evidence of nursing home abuse may take the form of any of the following:

  • Unexplained bruises
  • Sprains
  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Bruising around the genitalia
  • New signs of confusion or depression
  • Weight loss
  • Bed sores
  • Torn or bloody clothing
  • Changes in behavior
  • Recurring injuries
  • Unkempt appearance
  • Unwashed hair
  • Skin rashes
  • Altered legal statements
  • Changes in bank statements

Any of these changes may be a sign of elder abuse and should be reported immediately. North Carolina law states that if there is any suspicion of elder abuse or neglect, it must be reported.

Anyone who reports elder abuse in good faith is protected from criminal and civil liability, and their name will be kept confidential. Contact the Department of Social Services in the victim’s county if the suspected abuse is occurring in an adult care home.

For a nursing home, file a complaint with the Division of Health Services Regulation.

Your nursing home abuse lawyer can help you report the abuse to the proper authorities. If you decide to take legal action as well, you will need proof of losses to support your case.

Collect and keep any documentation and medical records, keep proof of financial expenses related to the injuries, and take pictures as proof of the severity of the injuries or neglect.

How Common Is Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing home abuse is unsettlingly common. The World Health Organization conducted a survey in 2017 that revealed over 60 percent of staff in nursing homes admitted to abusing their residents in some fashion.

Sadly, many of these victims end up in the emergency room because the abuse is so severe.

What Should I Look For if I Do Not Believe the Abuse Is Physical?

Abuse is not limited to physical violence. It is also important to know what to watch for so you can help prevent or stop any abuse or neglect that may be happening.

Abuse in nursing homes can occur in a multitude of different ways. Emotional abuse is very common and can come from bullying, being yelled at, or being made to feel uncomfortable in some way.

Remember that abuse in nursing homes does not only come from caregivers but from other residents and support staff as well. Some of the more common signs that your loved one may be the victim of abuse or neglect include:

  • Weight Loss: Your loved one may not be getting enough food or the correct nutrition for their needs. They might need help eating but are being neglected or rushed.
  • Inattentive Staff: You may see signs of neglect in other places. The staff might ignore requests or not actively try to anticipate problems. Something as simple as moving a chair closer to a window can make a world of difference to someone who cannot move it on their own.
  • Poor Personal Hygiene: Seniors often need help with their self-care. This need for assistance is why they are in the nursing home to begin with. They may need help bathing, brushing their hair, or changing their clothes. These basic types of hygiene necessities should be provided on a regular basis and should be done well and with respect.
  • Unsanitary Living Conditions: Your loved one’s trash should be taken out, their restroom should be clean, and the kitchen and dining areas should be sanitary. Pest control should also be taken care of for your loved one. There is no excuse for letting their living space become filthy or unsafe.
  • Bedsores: According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, bedsores develop because the blood supply to the skin has been cut off for at least 2 to 3 hours. The skin begins to die, and the bedsore appears as a red and painful area. If left untreated, the skin can tear open and get infected. Seniors who cannot move themselves need to be moved regularly to prevent bedsores. These wounds are very common in nursing homes, and sometimes mild ones occur when there is no neglect or abuse involved, but when they become serious, the resident is not getting adequate care.
  • Bruises: Bruising is a difficult sign to assign to abuse. Many older people are on blood thinner medications that cause them to bruise very easily. However, if your loved one is suffering from bruising that cannot be explained or it is happening frequently, it may be a sign of mistreatment by the staff.
  • Falls: Nursing home caregivers should assist residents with their movements to make sure they are not at risk for falling. These assists may be handrails in the restroom, by the bed, and in the hallways. Falls happen, but they should not be frequent, and your loved one should not be left on the floor for any amount of time.
  • Restraints: There are situations where restraining someone is necessary. For example, when the resident has dementia and is continuously causing themselves harm in some way. Unfortunately, some staff members use restraints excessively as a lazy way of not having to properly care for their residents. Restraints may be physical or chemical. Physical restraints would be the use of ties, straps, or locking a wheelchair somewhere. Chemical restraints involve medications that subdue the individual. Using these methods should only be done when there is no other option and should always be short-term, for example, during a necessary procedure such as tying a hand down so a dementia sufferer does not remove a catheter while being bathed.
  • Becoming Withdrawn or Non-Communicative: Emotional abuse often causes people to withdraw or become distant. Many victims are afraid to admit to being yelled at or treated harshly, or they fear making the situation worse. Some people do not even realize that the negative treatment is unacceptable.
  • Odd Changes in Behavior: Some victims of emotional abuse or negligence develop strange habits, such as fidgeting, rocking, or biting.
  • Staff Brushes Off Concerns From Family Members: If you bring up a concern to any staff member, they should always take it seriously. Giving vague explanations or brushing off your concerns is never a good sign, as they may be trying to hide something.

How Do I Get Compensation for Nursing Home Abuse?

It may seem strange to receive financial compensation for nursing home abuse and neglect, but this maltreatment can lead to economic losses on top of the noneconomic suffering of the elderly. A nursing home abuse attorney will help you get compensation for damages that include:

  • Medical bills
  • Rehabilitation
  • Therapy
  • Disability
  • Mental anguish
  • Pain and suffering
  • Wrongful death

Why Is Nursing Home Abuse So Common?

Most nursing home abuse occurs in facilities where the staff are improperly trained or overworked. Elders have a wide range of medical and personal care needs that can become exhausting when there are not enough people to handle their needs.

As the baby boomer generation ages, nursing homes are becoming more crowded than ever, and nursing home abuse is rising along with the increase. Nursing home residents have legal rights and are protected by law from abuse and neglect.

If you feel like these rights are being violated, speaking up will help more than just your loved one; you may also be helping many others who are also suffering abuse from someone.

What Must a Nursing Home Provide for Its Residents?

Nursing homes must provide all residents with basic health and safety services such as the following:

  • Shelter
  • Medical Care
  • Food
  • Drink
  • Sanitary Living Conditions
  • Clothing
  • Other Necessary Provisions

Who Is Most at Risk for Elder Abuse?

Most victims of elder abuse are mentally impaired or socially isolated, but it can happen to anyone.

According to the National Council on Aging, nearly half of the elderly diagnosed with dementia suffer some form of abuse. About two-thirds of nursing home abuse victims are women.

What Should I Do if I Suspect Nursing Home Abuse?

If you have any concerns about your loved one being abused in a nursing home, begin to document all the signs that have caused your concerns. Abuse could be coming from a nursing home staff member or another resident, but any abuse is always unacceptable.

Some helpful pieces of information to begin documenting include:

  • The date and times of the abusive behavior
  • A list of all injuries from the abuse
  • Medical records from before and after the nursing home abuse
  • Your relationship with the victim
  • Your contact information
  • Contact information for the nursing home
  • Names and contact information of staff or residents involved in the abuse or neglect
  • Contact information and names of all staff working in the nursing home
  • The reasons why the victim needs to live in a nursing home

Call a North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse Law Firm to Fight Back Against Nursing Home Abuse

Nobody deserves abuse. If you or your loved one are suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect, do not hesitate to contact Tatum & Atkinson: The Heavy Hitters.

Most abusers have multiple victims, so speaking up could potentially be saving someone else’s life. If you have been a victim, you deserve to be compensated.

Call (800) LAW-0804 for a free consultation. Tatum & Atkinson do not ask for any payment until we win your case, so there is no risk to you.

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