There are several ways to collect evidence of neglect or abuse in a nursing home. This includes looking for signs of physical injuries, speaking with a loved one about their emotional state, or ensuring their finances remain in order. The best way to investigate potential abuse is by relying on the guidance of experienced legal counsel.
If you believe your family member is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, the team at Crowe, Arnold & Majors, LLP is ready to help. You can rely on the most trusted nursing home abuse lawyers to provide them with the compassionate legal support they deserve. We leverage considerable resources and experience advocating for our most vulnerable population. Schedule a free case evaluation today.
How does abuse of your loved one occur?
Before you can investigate abuse or collect evidence of a potential claim for compensation, it is essential to understand how abuse or neglect occurs. Not all nursing homes are unsafe. However, the main culprit is usually a result of understaffing and low pay.
The types of nursing home abuse include the following:
- Physical abuse includes assault, hitting, slapping, pushing, medication misuse, restraint, and unnecessary physical sanctions.
- Sexual abuse includes unwanted physical contact and sexually exploitative or shaming acts such as leaving a person in a state of undress.
- Financial abuse includes taking valuables from their room, forging checks, or using their bank accounts or credit cards.
- Neglect is the failure to provide for an older person’s essential needs according to the standards required by state law.
- Emotional abuse involves ridiculing and insulting a patient and making a patient feel guilty or distressed.
Watch for signs of abuse
It is often difficult to identify signs of abuse in a nursing home. Many residents will never experience this kind of treatment, but signs of physical injuries or psychological changes are common red flags.
Some of the most common signs of abuse include the following:
- Unexplained physical injuries
- Sudden weight loss
- Mood changes
- Refusal to eat
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Missing property
To prove that negligence or abuse has occurred, it is necessary to develop evidence that will hold up in court.
When it comes to physical abuse, outward signs of injury are important. If your family member exhibits unexplained injuries such as bruises or cuts, they must be documented immediately—because they will heal over time. Take pictures or videos. In addition, you may notice pressure sores on the back or sides of the head, the shoulder blades, the hip, the lower back, the tailbone, and the skin behind the knees. These are a result of negligence and should also be documented.
Review and retain financial records
Pay close attention to credit card statements and banking information because they are the most obvious evidence of financial abuse. However, it can be as simple as stealing property from a resident’s room. Documenting that the property is no longer present is helpful in these cases.
More serious acts of financial abuse involve significant financial transactions. Documenting evidence of this fraud could involve reviewing bank records to show unauthorized withdrawals. In other cases, their will may have been unlawfully altered.
Evaluate medical records
Medical records can often show signs of abuse that are not immediately apparent. For example, a doctor could identify partially healed fractures or recurring bladder infections, which can indicate sexual abuse. Medical records from your loved one’s treating physician could be the most important source of evidence to prove abuse. The same applies to allegations of neglect if they are dehydrated or malnourished. As noted, medical records could also point to signs of sexual abuse. Nursing home residents should not exhibit symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
If you believe your family member is being abused in a nursing home, you need sound legal guidance and advocacy from a results-oriented, client-focused law firm. Our compassionate team is driven to recover maximum compensation and justice on your behalf. We can assist in collecting evidence and making a solid case so your loved one can heal and find a new home. Contact us today to request your free case evaluation. We work on a contingency basis, so there are no upfront legal fees.