Abandonment in a Nursing Home Facility

older woman facing a staircase

When a loved one enters a care facility or nursing home, we expect their needs to be met in a timely and appropriate fashion. After all, they would not be in an elder care residence if they didn’t require round the clock attention. So when it becomes clear your loved one is receiving far below the necessary amount of care to maintain a dignified and healthy life, it may be time to take legal action. At Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP our personal injury lawyers take elder abuse very seriously. The mistreatment of our loved ones, specifically their complete and total abandonment, is a black eye on our nation’s care facilities. We believe it is your right, and our duty, to stand up to these negligent caregivers and hold them accountable for their misdeeds.

To schedule a free and confidential appointment with caring Dallas nursing home abuse lawyers, contact our office at (214) 753-4592 or submit your information using the request form below.

But don’t delay. If you are reading this page, you more than likely have serious reservations about the level of care your loved one is receiving. Above all, if you believe your family member’s life to be in danger, you should speak with the proper authorities immediately. Contact the care home’s management, your local Adult Protective Services (APS) or any other department that could help remedy the situation before it becomes too late. Calling 911 is certainly not out of the question.

Our Dallas nursing home abandonment lawyers know how disheartening it is to learn your relative is not being properly cared for. We know how to prove that abandonment occurred, and will use every resource to achieve the compensation you and your loved one deserve.

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What Does Nursing Home Abandonment Look Like?

When an individual is “abandoned” in a nursing home, it tends to have a different connotation than what we typically think. Individuals in declining health or in their twilight years often require non-stop care. What may seem like minutes or hours to us can mean a lifetime to a nursing home resident. In a very short amount of time, an elderly person can become dehydrated, miss their medication, or fall to the floor. Those who are charged with the care of our loved ones must be on constant watch as to head off any potentially life threatening situations.

Unfortunately, abandonment of elder residents is becoming increasingly prevalent due to understaffed facilities and those with high turnover rates.

When a caregiver neglects a resident, or leaves them alone without first making arrangements with other staff to ensure their needs are being met, they may be held liable in a court of law for any injuries that ensue.

The following are some examples of what nursing home abandonment can look like:

  • Left alone without giving a qualified staff member or supervisor sufficient notice
  • Left in soiled sheets or beds for extended periods of time
  • Left without water, food, or proper medication
  • Infected sores and evidence of improper wound care
  • Left in wheelchairs or in a public space for extended periods of time
  • Calls for help never answered or ignored

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Physical Signs of Nursing Home Abandonment

  • Bedsores – Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, can develop when nursing home staff fail to regularly change positions of a bed-ridden resident, or one with limited mobility. This neglect can cause painful eruptions in the skin that can prove deadly if untreated. Symptoms of bedsores include: changes in skin color, swelling, painful areas of skin that are warm to the touch, and pus-like draining.
  • Malnutrition – Weight loss, fatigue, mental disorientation, white fingernails, and yellowing skin are hallmark signs of malnutrition. When staff do not offer enough food or nutrient-rich meals, this can have negative long-term effects on the physical and emotional health of the elderly.
  • Failure to give medical attention – The elderly – especially those with dementia or other cognitive issues – are often unable to report that they are being neglected. The failure to provide proper medical care – whether administering routine medicines or wound treatment – to residents is another cause for legal action. Most often, this occurs when staff fail to check in on the elderly and notice obvious signs of impending problems.
  • Medication Errors – More than 20 percent of nursing home residents fall victim to medication errors, which can lead to grave health complications or even death. Nursing home facilities should have policies and procedures for administering medications to avoid giving the wrong prescription or dosage.
  • Lack of Companionship – Humans are inherently social beings, and when staff ignore a nursing home resident, leave them alone for long periods of time, or isolate them from others, this can result in severe emotional distress.

But how can you be sure? While it may be entirely possible the staff is not attentive and failing to preserve your loved one’s wellbeing, how can you tell? Some clear warning signs to look for while you are visiting include:

  • Calls to the nursing station are never answered
  • You find dirty bed sheets, yesterday’s food or medical trash in the room whenever you visit
  • Your loved one is often wearing the same clothes as the day before, and has dirty hair
  • Your loved one is suddenly acting withdrawn for no reason
  • Your loved one is exhibiting a new pattern of self neglect and cannot ask for help

Our Dallas nursing home neglect lawyers have experience with abandonment cases and know how to gather critical evidence to hold negligent parties accountable.

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What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abandonment

If you suspect nursing home abandonment and this neglect has caused injuries in need of urgent care, your first step is getting your loved one immediate medical attention. In some cases, you may need to have your relative temporarily placed into a different care setting until investigations are complete. Communicate the chain of events to your loved one’s doctor, and file a formal complaint with the police and the local Adult Protective Services. It is also completely in your rights to speak with a qualified nursing home abandonment attorney about potential legal remedies.

Speak with a Qualified Dallas Nursing Home Neglect Attorney

If you’re concerned that your loved one is experiencing neglect or abandonment in a nursing home setting, substantial compensation may be available. Provided you have ruled out any immediate danger to your loved one’s health, we highly recommend contacting Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP at your earliest convenience. Let our dedicated team of Dallas personal injury lawyers help you find the answers you seek today. Call (214) 753-4592 for more information.

Additional Information

Nursing Home Allegedly Abandoned 14 Old And Sick Patients: https://www.businessinsider.com/nursing-home-allegedly-abandoned-patients-2013-10
Elder Abuse – Texas Attorney General: https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/consumer-protection/seniors-and-elderly/how-spot-and-report-elder-abuse-and-neglect
Neglect and Abandonment – U.S. Department of Justice: https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice/neglect-abandonment