When a loved one is in a nursing home or long-term care facility, it is up to you to ensure they receive adequate care. People often assume that a facility will do its best to keep a loved one comfortable and safe, but sadly, this is not the reality.

When you believe a loved one is suffering neglect or abuse in a care facility, you should contact a local injury attorney immediately. Early intervention could stop the mistreatment and give you time to evaluate your options.

A McAllen nursing home abuse lawyer can help you report the abuse to the appropriate authorities, reducing the possibility that others must suffer. They could also file a claim against the nursing home seeking monetary damages.

Types of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

Nursing homes and long-term care facilities are chronically understaffed, and the employees are often underqualified and poorly trained. Facilities are so desperate for workers they might not conduct proper background checks, leaving residents vulnerable to neglect and abuse.

Recognizing Neglect

It can be challenging to recognize the signs of nursing home neglect, especially if the patient suffers from confusion or communication difficulties.

One clear sign of neglect is cleanliness and hygiene. If the patient’s linens are not changed often enough, their hair is dirty, or they do not shower regularly, the nursing home is neglecting them. If a patient develops pressure sores, the staff is not moving them regularly, another sign of neglect.

Many residents need a staff member to help them eat and drink, and if no one is available, they might lose weight or become dehydrated. Wandering and frequent falls signal that the staff is not attentive to a patient. Loved ones should speak with the facility administrator about concerns of neglect.

Indicators of Abuse

Extended neglect could rise to the level of nursing home abuse, such as when pressure sores develop into open wounds. Some abuse is intentional. Nursing home staff might deliberately overmedicate a demanding or anxious patient to keep them calm. They may also use restraints on patients they perceive as difficult. Both of these acts are illegal and abusive.

Wounds, bruises, and fractures are signs of abuse. Relatives should look for signs of bruising on the parts of the body that clothing usually covers, as this could indicate intentional physical abuse. Sexual abuse frequently occurs in care facilities but is difficult to detect unless the patient divulges it, which happens infrequently, or the patient develops a sexually transmitted disease.

Anyone who suspects abuse in a nursing home should contact a seasoned McAllen attorney immediately. Indications of physical or sexual abuse merit police involvement. Even when a situation does not call for law enforcement to get involved, a legal professional could help a loved one report the matter to state authorities, arrange to transfer the resident to another facility, and prepare a legal claim for damages.     

Filing a Lawsuit Against a Facility

Whenever a family member believes a facility provides their loved one inadequate care, they should file a report with the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will investigate the matter and penalize the nursing home if they find the complaint credible. Although this could protect other residents, the Ombudsman cannot compensate a family for neglect and abuse they have already suffered.

Filing a lawsuit against the nursing home, on the other hand, could provide financial compensation for the abused patient. A well-practiced lawyer in McAllen might recommend filing a medical malpractice action—a lawsuit alleging simple negligence, or both—depending on the circumstances of the specific case.

The nursing home could be liable to pay all the additional medical expenses attributable to the neglect or abuse and the cost of the person’s care while they were being abused or neglected. In addition, the resident could collect compensation for their physical pain, humiliation, emotional suffering, and other results of the neglect or abuse.

Seek Justice with a McAllen Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

Nobody likes to consider the idea of their infirm loved one being treated poorly, but unfortunately, nursing home neglect and abuse are common. It is up to concerned family and friends to protect their vulnerable loved one and put a stop to the mistreatment.

A McAllen nursing home abuse lawyer is dedicated to ensuring these facilities provide patients with the compassionate care they deserve. Call today to discuss your concerns with an experienced attorney.