It can be difficult, both financially and emotionally, to decide to place your loved one in a nursing home. When you do, you do so with the expectation that employees will treat them with care and kindness. And many nursing homes do treat their residents with the utmost care! But when unfortunate outcomes occur and your loved one is left on their own, call an attorney and ask for their advice. Don’t take elder abuse and neglect lightly. If you suspect that a nursing home has been neglectful in its duties and that employees are treating their residents poorly, give Rossman Law Group a call. We’re the top team of nursing home malpractice lawyers in Boise and are passionate about advocating for elders and other nursing home residents. When you ask yourself, “Can I sue a nursing home for neglecting elders?” find the answers below and have an attorney on your side.
Nursing home neglect is different from abuse in that neglect is often passive. It’s more about what your loved one’s caregivers aren’t doing than what they are doing.
Negligence and neglect often overlap, but they’re distinct from one another. Neglect points to a specific instance of carelessness on the part of the nursing home staff. If your loved one falls in the shower and is there for a significant period of time, that’s neglect. Negligence refers to a habit or ongoing pattern of neglectful behavior. If your loved one’s hygiene has declined due to a consistent lack of assistance in bathing and basic habits, it’s due to negligence. People often use these terms interchangeably, but there is a small distinction.
People of all ages and abilities have bad days sometimes. Maybe your loved one is complaining about their nursing home because they miss living on their own. Maybe lunch that day wasn’t very good. Or maybe they’ve got a neighbor they don’t get along with. You should expect some complaints when you move a loved one into a nursing home.
However, if your loved one has been losing a great deal of weight, or if they’re lightheaded or disoriented, they may be suffering from malnutrition. Ask your loved one’s caregivers what kind of meals they eat and how often they provide those meals.
Chronic bedsores are a common indicator of nursing home negligence or neglect. If your loved one needs to be turned in bed, their caregivers should be doing so on a schedule. Don’t let the person you love slip through the cracks! If their hygiene is falling by the wayside, talk to their caregivers and ask them why.
Slips and falls happen sometimes, even with the best of care. But if your loved one falls and has to wait a long time for assistance, or if they fall frequently, their caregivers may not be paying attention. Let the nursing home staff know that you’re looking out for your loved one’s safety. If they’re not providing the care your friend or family member needs, it’s time to consult with an attorney. You may have a case for nursing home neglect.
If you suspect that your loved one’s nursing home is abusing or neglecting them, visit them often and take notes. Listen to every complaint they have and bring those complaints to the staff. Make sure the nursing home staff knows that you are curious and ask them questions, too. They may have knowledge that you don’t, and if you don’t know every side of the story, it’s harder to prove abuse or neglect. But if they don’t have an explanation for your loved one’s condition and complaints, make a note of that, too.
If things don’t seem to improve, you can seek outside assistance. Every state has some form of adult protective services that can investigate instances of insufficient or low-quality care. In addition, you can call an ombudsman that specializes in nursing homes. Ombudsmen advocate for the rights of nursing home residents and can investigate allegations of poor administration.
When you have an ombudsman or an adult protective services representative investigate the nursing home’s practices, they can determine whether negligence or neglect occurred. This confirmation can be your next step toward hiring a nursing home malpractice lawyer in Boise and pursuing legal action.
A neglectful or abusive nursing home isn’t going to change its practices unless people call on it to answer for its actions and inactions. To get that process in motion, call an attorney and present your case to them. If the attorney confirms that you’ve got a strong case for nursing home neglect, they can help you bring that case to court.
Who is legally responsible for the neglect of your loved one? The nursing home itself is the obvious answer. It has a duty to keep a clean, well-staffed facility and employ professionals who will give your loved one the care they deserve. However, individual staff members may also be legally culpable. A nurse who ignores your loved one’s complaints or a nursing assistant who’s always late in feeding or turning them may have to answer for their inaction in court.
Be proactive about getting your case in front of a judge. Like many other types of lawsuits, there is a statute of limitations on filing your nursing home malpractice case. In addition, the sooner you file your lawsuit, the sooner conditions at that nursing home can change. A facility that’s being sued for abuse or neglect is likely to make big changes to its practices! With your nursing home neglect lawsuit, you have the power to improve the lives of every resident at that home.
When your friend or family member has nonstop complaints about their nursing home, don’t tune them out. Listen to them and advocate for their best interest in the nursing home. If you find yourself asking, “Can I sue a nursing home for neglecting elders?” every time you visit your loved one, call Rossman Law Group and ask us. If you have a case, we’ll help you take it to court and fight for the compensation your loved one deserves. You may be doing a favor not only for your loved one, but for everybody else at that nursing home.