Texas has the highest rates of nursing home abuse and neglect across the country. Experts refer to it as a dangerous state to be old. Texas nursing homes run on a for-profit model and have lax laws that allow corporations to cut corners, sacrificing quality of care for profit.  

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If you or your loved one has experienced abuse in a Texas nursing home, contact us at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP. We are experienced in handling the convoluted legal system surrounding Texas nursing home litigation. We can help you overcome obstacles often encountered during the claims process. An experienced nursing home abuse lawyer can review your case and help you or your family member recover compensation for your losses and damages.

The Prevalence of Nursing Home Abuse in Other States

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) developed a quality rating system that gives each nursing home a rating of between 1 and 5 stars. It states, “Nursing homes with 5 stars are considered to have much above average quality, and nursing homes with 1 star are considered to have quality much below average.” The states ranked the best in overall nursing home care include Hawaii, Delaware, Alaska, Rhode Island, Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Maine, and New Jersey. The worst include Texas, North Carolina, Illinois, Georgia, New Mexico, and others. 

Reasons for Higher Abuse Rates in Texas

Texas is often touted as an excellent state for retirees due to affordable housing, no income taxes, and year-round sunshine. So, why are the nursing homes so poorly rated? The Texas Tribune reported in 2022 that “Texas does not have enough nurses for its senior care facilities…There is a growing apathy burning through the nursing industry, and the COVID-19 pandemic only fanned the flames. Baby boomers are both retiring from the nursing profession and needing care themselves.” Other causes include the following: 

Hiring Employees with Criminal Records

Because of loopholes in Texas regulations, nursing home facilities can hire persons with criminal records and still be certified as a nurse’s aide. Some employees had charges for fraud, drug possession, and assault causing bodily injury.

Low Pay

Because of the for-profit structure in Texas, organizations often try to hire people at low wages to do a challenging job. Consequently, these wages don’t attract the best from the available pool of certified nursing assistants. Instead, it often attracts those who want to take advantage of seniors in a facility with understaffing, little supervision, and sometimes no consequences for their actions.

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Types of Nursing Home Abuse

The most common types of nursing home abuse include the following:

  • Physical Abuse: This involves pushing, grabbing, or other types of physical force that may cause pain, injury, or impairment. It can also cause visible signs such as bruises, broken bones, or internal bleeding. 
  • Emotional or Psychological Abuse: The infliction of mental anguish or distress through verbal or nonverbal behavior, leading to depression, anxiety, or withdrawal. 
  • Financial Abuse: The unauthorized use of a resident’s funds, property, or resources, which can severely impact their well-being and quality of life. 
  • Sexual Abuse: Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind, which is an invasion of privacy and a deplorable breach of trust. 

If you suspect nursing home abuse, The Attorney General of Texas offers valuable resources if your loved one is in an assisted living facility or their home or a resident of a long-term care facility that receives Medicaid.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Knowing the signs of nursing home abuse can help you get urgent care for your loved one before it’s too late. Remember that the signs of abuse aren’t always obvious. In addition, the residents may not share what has happened due to shame or confusion. Typical signs of abuse consist of: 

  • Physical changes: Visible injuries, unexplained weight loss, malnutrition, and dehydration may signal a problem.  
  • Behavioral changes: Unexplained changes in behavior, such as sudden withdrawal, fear of particular caregivers, or a reluctance to speak openly. 
  • Sexually transmitted infections: While consensual activities may lead to an STI, abuse is also highly likely. This is especially true if the senior has no known partners. 

Other indicators include bedsores, a dirty or messy room, broken eyeglasses, poor personal hygiene, ripped or unwashed clothing, and arguments between a caregiver and your loved one.

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If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse: Contact Us for a Free Consultation

When caregivers neglect their duties, whether through neglect, staffing issues, or inadequate training, this vulnerable population can sustain significant harm, ranging from severe illness to injury or, in the worst cases, death. If you recognize the signs of abuse or neglect, speak to our team, who can begin a comprehensive investigation. We can offer guidance on your legal options, help you gather additional evidence, and advocate on your behalf.  

Schedule a free consultation today. Since we work on a contingency basis, you will not pay attorney’s fees unless we win compensation for your loved one’s losses and damages.