When people enter nursing homes, they and their families rely on the facility to provide competent, consistent care to ensure their well-being and treat their medical conditions. Unfortunately, the World Health Organization reports that approximately 17% of patients over 60 experience neglect or abuse in institutions such as nursing homes.
If you suspect that a loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse, what can you do? How can a Columbia nursing home abuse attorney help? We are available at Shealey Law Firm to answer any questions.
When Should You Contact a Columbia Nursing Home Abuse Attorney?
People with various conditions may enter nursing homes, from young people recovering from surgery or illness to seniors who can no longer care for themselves. Patients can require different types of assistance. Some rely on nursing home staff to feed them, change them, turn them in their beds and provide their medications.
Certain patients are particularly vulnerable to nursing home abuse, such as those who suffer from dementia or communication difficulties, the elderly and patients who don’t have regular visitors. While some abuse causes minor, temporary issues, other patients can suffer from long-term and profound adverse effects. Abuse and neglect can also lead to fatalities.
Reporting suspected abuse or neglect to facility administrators or South Carolina state authorities is often a daunting prospect. Will they believe you, will they investigate, and will they hold guilty parties responsible?
When you contact a qualified Columbia nursing home abuse attorney, we will assist you in reporting your suspicions and ensure that appropriate parties respond properly. Contact Shealey Law Firm in Columbia, SC, as soon as you suspect nursing home neglect or abuse to safeguard the patient’s health, report and stop the improper treatment, and hold guilty parties responsible.
What Are Common Types of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse?
When you hear the term “nursing home abuse,” you may envision someone physically striking a patient. That action does qualify, but your Columbia nursing home abuse lawyer can address many other kinds of abuse:
- Abandonment: Intentionally removing all care
- Emotional abuse: Threatening and withholding privileges or necessities through verbal abuse and actions that cause distress, fear and intimidation
- Financial abuse: Coercing, manipulating or exploiting patients into releasing control of their financial resources or assets; theft of personal property
- Neglect: Not providing required assistance, medication, food and water, medical attention and other necessities, often leading to physical and emotional suffering
- Physical abuse: Intentionally causing bodily harm by choking, hitting, kicking, pushing or improperly restraining patients
- Sexual abuse: Nonconsensual sexual contact or acts
Unclean or poorly maintained facilities can cause harm through infections as well. Unfortunately, many other forms of neglect and abuse happen daily in nursing homes. A knowledgeable Columbia nursing home abuse attorney from Shealey Law Firm can help.
What Kinds of Injuries Result From Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home neglect and abuse can cause a wide variety of injuries and harm. Commonly suffered physical injuries include:
- Bedsores or pressure ulcers
- Broken bones
- Bruises, cuts and lacerations
- Infections, including sexually transmitted diseases
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Medication overdoses or underdoses
Injuries aren’t always physical. Abused patients can also suffer from psychological trauma:
- Emotional and social withdrawal
- Mood swings
If you notice any sign of these physical or psychological conditions, reporting them immediately is essential. Some may be side effects of a patient’s condition, but unexplained injuries may indicate abuse or neglect.
Who Inflicts Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse?
Many times, the guilty parties are caregivers and nursing home staff:
- Doctors, nurses, aides and other medical personnel
- Kitchen staff
- Maintenance workers
- Third-party contractors
Other residents and visitors can also abuse patients. Administrators and supervisors are sometimes negligent, and you can hold these parties responsible as well. Consult a Columbia nursing home abuse attorney from the Shealey Law Firm for assistance.
Who Can Be Liable for Nursing Home Abuse?
When you hire Shealey Law Firm, we will investigate the abuse or neglect to determine who directly committed it, why and how it happened, and if the facility owners and administration were negligent.
In personal injury cases, you must usually prove negligence. To prove negligence, you must show that:
- Someone owes you a duty of care.
- That party failed to provide the duty of care.
- The failure caused an accident or other harm.
- You suffered injuries or damages as a direct result.
Nursing facilities must meet a high standard of care to ensure the well-being of residents. The facilities should take extra care when hiring employees and staff, and facility owners and operators are often vicariously liable for the actions of their workers. Your case may qualify to bring a lawsuit against a nursing home if the facility administrators don’t:
- Practice safe hiring standards
- Follow applicable federal and state laws and health codes
- Maintain the facility and address hazardous conditions
- Train or supervise staff appropriately
Understaffing can also result in abuse or neglect. If a single staff member has too many patients, it often becomes difficult to address all the needs of every patient.
Your Columbia nursing home abuse attorney may find that multiple parties are liable in a single case. These guilty parties may include:
- Facility owners
- Administrators and supervisors
- Staff members or others who inflict abuse directly
- Any of these people who knew of the abuse but failed to stop or report it
Your legal team will name all guilty parties in your personal injury claim or lawsuit.
How Do We Prove Nursing Home Abuse?
An investigation into nursing home abuse looks for evidence from many sources:
- Caregiver and staff schedules
- Expert examinations
- Hiring and training protocols
- Medical records
- Photographs and video footage
With the proper evidence and a solid legal team, an abused patient can recover compensation for their damages.
Choose Shealey Law Firm as Your Columbia Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Trust is everything. Since Brian and Luke Shealey founded the Shealey Law Firm in 2013, we have established a strong track record of obtaining favorable results for our clients. We take nursing home abuse seriously, and we will fight to stop it and seek the compensation you deserve.