We Are Here To Fight For You And Your Family Following Nursing Home Abuse
Indiana Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
At Indianapolis Injury Lawyers, we understand how difficult it is when our loved ones require regular medical attention or a level of care that we simply can’t provide ourselves. At a certain point, we may have to entrust their care to the trained and skilled professionals at a nursing home or assisted living facility. Unfortunately, these facilities don’t always live up to the legal mandates to provide quality care. If this unfortunate circumstance occurs, you need to consult with an Indiana nursing home abuse lawyer.
All too often, nursing home residents are the victim of neglect or even intentional abuse. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) estimates that 10 percent of people over the age of 60 have experienced some form of abuse, but the actual number is likely higher. According to a study performed by the National Center on Elder Abuse, only one in 24 cases of elder abuse is reported to authorities.
With dozens of nursing homes in the Indianapolis area to choose from and even more in the rest of the state, a large number are rated “below average” or “much below average” according to medicare.gov. Even when you think you’ve found a good facility, staffing turnover, shortages, and other factors may still put your loved one at risk. Complaining to state agencies about abuse or neglect can be slow, frustrating, and ineffective.
How an Indiana Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Can Protect Your Loved Ones’ Rights
Families should be able to trust that nursing homes and assisted living facilities are looking out for the best interests of older adults in those facilities. However, much too frequently, seniors suffer serious injuries as a result of nursing home abuse and neglect. Whether you have specific concerns about an older adult in a nursing home or you simply have suspicions that elder abuse or neglect could be happening, it is important to seek advice from an Indiana nursing home abuse lawyer.
Indiana nursing home abuse and neglect situations are challenging because they can take many different forms, and the signs and symptoms can be difficult to identify in some circumstances. Since you cannot be with your family member all the time, and especially if your loved one cannot communicate well, you may not become aware of problems for some time. When you fear your loved one has been mistreated, contact an Indiana nursing home abuse lawyer immediately.
Watch for Different Types of Nursing Home Abuse
The NCOA explains that different types of nursing home abuse have their own warning signs family and friends should watch for. While elder abuse perpetrators can include children, other family members, and even strangers, we focus on abuse that occurs in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
If you are visiting an older adult residing in a care facility, stay vigilant for the following signs of abuse or neglect:
- Physical abuse, which may appear as bruising, broken bones, burns, cuts, abrasions, or pressure marks
- Emotional or psychological abuse, which often does not have physical signs but, instead, will be marked by unusual changes in the older adult’s behavior, unexplained depression, or vocal concerns about working with a particular caregiver
- Passive neglect, which does not involve intentional acts of harm but, rather, a failure to provide care, which can lead to bedsores, poor hygiene, unexplained weight loss, or unattended medical needs
- Sexual abuse, which can have some of the same signs as physical abuse in addition to unexplained sexually transmitted infections
- Financial abuse, which can be signaled when a senior has a sudden change in his or her financial situation or when a new person suddenly takes an interest in a senior’s life
Seniors who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia are particularly vulnerable to abuse, and they are often unable to explain what has happened or identify the responsible person. It is important to pay special attention to dementia patients and others who cannot communicate about their personal circumstances to determine if they are suffering from nursing home neglect in Indiana.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Indiana Nursing Home Abuse?
As Indiana nursing home abuse attorneys, we can help you determine who is liable for nursing home abuse or neglect suffered by your older family member. The answer depends upon the specific facts of each case, but these are examples of parties that may be held responsible:
- Doctors, for failing to properly diagnose, treat, and monitor an elder person’s medical condition
- Nurses, for failure to follow doctors’ instructions, ignoring physical conditions until harm has occurred, deviating from an established care plan, improperly administering medicines, and many other care situations
- Nursing home employees who don’t properly attend to a resident, including failing to bathe regularly, allowing bedsores to form, allowing patients to fall under lack of supervision, failing to follow a care plan or regularly reassess the resident to create better plans as needed, and many other negligent or neglectful actions
- A nursing home facility that fails to properly hire, train, and monitor employees; maintain an acceptable level of cleanliness and medical staffing; and report resident abuse when it is brought to the attention of the staff, among other possible liability situations
The Long-Term Care Division of the Indiana State Department of Health licenses and regulates nursing homes. Every year, this department inspects each care facility and reviews all complaints filed against each nursing home. Concerned citizens can obtain these inspection and complaint investigation reports at the office of the Department of Health in Indianapolis, Indiana. If running the red tape gauntlet proves difficult, an Indiana nursing home abuse lawyer from Indianapolis Injury Lawyers can help.
The Basics of Nursing Home Neglect in Indiana
Many nursing home residents and even family members are afraid to report abuse or neglect because they fear it will become worse. As a result, it is extremely important to look for and report signs of abuse or neglect that may include:
- Injuries such as bruises, broken bones, bedsores, wounds, burns, cuts, and swelling
- Mental or emotional changes like fear, reluctance, sudden agitation, depression and withdrawal, strange behavior changes, refusal to speak, disorientation, or the use of restraints (physical or medicinal)
- Physical appearance changes such as malnutrition or dehydration, urine or feces odors, clothing and hair in disarray, sudden weight loss, isolation without justification, or other unusual situations.
To protect the quality of life for residents in care facilities, Congress passed the Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) in 1987. In conjunction with Title 42 § 1395i–3 (c)(1)(A)(i-xi) of the US Code, the federal government has established certain requirements to assure the quality of long-term care in the United States. Under these regulations, all skilled nursing facilities must protect and promote certain residents’ rights, including the right to:
- Protection from abuse and neglect
- Treatment in a dignified manner
- Physical mobility without restraints unless certain circumstances arise
- Personal privacy and confidentiality, including medical treatment, social groups, and family members
- Choice of doctor, patient inclusion in the care and treatment plan, and access to their own medical records
- Appropriate medical, psychological, physical, and social opportunities
- Option to refuse any treatment
- Communication with people inside and outside the facility and participation in various activities
- Participation in their personal care plan and access to facility inspection reports
- Information on any care, treatment, or facility changes before they happen
- Option to complain and exercise their legal rights without interference or repercussions, with prompt response from the facility to complaints
Indiana law has also specifically addressed the growing concern of nursing home abuse in Title 12 of the Indiana Code focused on human services. Specifically, Indiana Code chapter 12-10-3 regarding adult protective services defines the relevant actors and actions involved in a potential adult abuse situation and explains the process required to protect the endangered adult. In fact, Indiana Code § 12-10-3-9 imposes a duty on any person who suspects that someone is an endangered adult to report the situation to the person in charge of the facility.
Unfortunately, reporting an incident may not be enough to protect your loved one. Sometimes a civil lawsuit is required to ensure the abuse stops. In that case, the qualified Indiana nursing home abuse attorneys at Indianapolis Injury Lawyers understand the process that must be followed to address an abuse situation and recover adequate compensation for those who have been injured.
Contact an Indiana Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer as Soon as You Suspect a Problem
If your loved one becomes the victim of neglectful or intentional nursing home abuse, you need to act quickly. An experienced Indiana nursing home abuse lawyer from Indianapolis Injury Lawyers can take immediate steps to review your concerns and put into action a strategy to stop the abuse and prevent any further abuse while ensuring your older family member gets the care and compensation deserved.
Many Indiana nursing home abuse lawsuits are brought under a theory of negligence. Under Indiana law, most negligence claims for personal injuries must be brought within two years from the date of the incident that gave rise to the lawsuit. In the nursing home abuse context, this means that a claim will need to be filed within two years from the date of the abuse incident, so time is of the essence.
If you learn that a loved one in a nursing home has been deprived of the medical services, dignity, or quality of life that should be provided in a nursing home or assisted living facility, the personal injury lawyers at Indianapolis Injury Lawyers are here to help. Contact us today at (317) 455-4043 or complete our online contact form to schedule an appointment with an experienced and compassionate Indiana nursing home abuse lawyer who will answer all of your questions and help you protect the ones you love.