The main challenges when proving abandonment or neglect in a nursing home include not enough evidence, lack of witnesses, or blaming pre-existing conditions of the resident. For example, the staff may falsify records or attempt to hide their negligence behind claims of mental health issues of the patient. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) defines abuse as “any intentional or negligent act by a caregiver or a trusted person that causes or creates a serious risk of harm to an older adult.”

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If you suspect neglect or abandonment has harmed a family member in a nursing home, you need Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP. Our team has handled many cases of nursing home abuse in Dallas, so your loved one will benefit from our experience. While it can be challenging to prove that a resident was the victim of abandonment, our team of experienced attorneys can help you build a strong case against the facility or staff.

Difficulty Proving Nursing Home Abandonment

We can review your case to help you identify challenges you might face when proving abandonment or neglect. For example, a compelling case requires solid evidence that can stand up in court. Some instances of abandonment affect residents mentally and emotionally, so there might be a lack of physical evidence. Abusive or incompetent staff may also try to manipulate the victim into staying silent or pressure them into recanting their claims. 

Residents, who are vulnerable and depend on others for their basic needs, often want to smooth things over to maintain the peace and avoid retaliation.

Pre-Existing Health Conditions in Nursing Home Residents

Another hurdle when proving abandonment is the pre-existing conditions of residents, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. The staff may try to use these comorbidities as evidence that the patient’s injuries were not caused by abandonment or neglect. For example, staff could argue that a broken bone was likely caused by osteoporosis and did not arise from their negligence while bathing them.

Untimely Death in Seniors

Unfortunately, family members might not see the signs of abandonment or neglect until too late. In these cases, their loved ones may have already passed away, leaving very little for the family to work with, though they suspect something isn’t quite right. 

Maybe they remember their parent or grandparent as being active and lively. Their sudden decline might not add up. Perhaps the conditions listed in the nursing home records don’t match the medical history the family is aware of. Staff may have failed to record changes in a resident’s condition, didn’t check for bedsores or dehydration, recorded the same vitals as previous visits, or falsified these records.

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High Turnover Rates 

Senior living facilities have notoriously high staff turnover rates. The Texas Health Care Association (THCA) states, “Dedicated caregivers are fleeing low-pay, high-stress jobs in Texas nursing facilities at record rates.” The annual turnover rates for key roles include: 

  • 97% of certified nursing assistants 
  • 90% of licensed vocational nurses 
  • 90% of registered nurses 

THCA further states, “Without a significant shift in the state’s attitude and support for Texas nursing homes, the state’s long-term care industry will continue to struggle to provide the quality of care you and your loved ones would hope to receive.” As a result, high turnover rates can make identifying the staff member responsible for your loved member’s neglect and abandonment difficult.  

Lack of Credible Witnesses 

High turnover rates can also make it difficult to find credible witnesses. Coworkers who may have known about the abandonment or neglect of residents may have already left for other positions or even retired from the industry. They may hesitate to report it or speak out because they fear being held liable. 

Schedule a Free Consultation with Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP 

In Texas, there are tort-reform laws and other regulations along with a strict statute of limitations that prevent many nursing home abuse victims or their estates and loved ones from filing viable personal injury claims. We are experienced in handling the convoluted legal system surrounding Texas nursing home litigation.  

We can help you traverse the obstacles people often encounter during the claims process so your elderly loved one can get the compensation they deserve. Schedule a free consultation with a nursing home neglect lawyer today so we can help you understand your legal options going forward.