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NYC Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Attorney
Nursing home abuse and neglect is becoming widespread throughout New York and the U.S. In March 2002, a nursing home study conducted by the General Accounting Office of the Federal Government concluded, “safeguards to protect residents from potentially abusive individuals are insufficient at both the Federal and State level.” This is frightening news for families of the 1.5 million elderly and disabled people living in our nation’s 17,000 nursing homes.
If you suspect any form of abuse, you should contact an experienced NYC nursing home abuse attorney. To learn more or schedule your consultation, contact Silberstein, Awad & Miklos (SAM) today.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Sadly, abuse can take many forms in nursing homes. While most people think of physical abuse and neglect, there are many other abusive practices that are just as harmful. Nursing home abuse falls into seven categories, including:
Any physical force that results in bodily injury, impairment, or physical pain is considered physical abuse. In nursing homes, this type of abuse may include beating, hitting, pushing, shaking, shoving, kicking, slapping, burning, pinching, or any other type of abuse that causes a resident physical harm.
Sexual abuse is not a form of abusive behavior people expect to happen in nursing homes but tragically, it occurs more often than people think. Sexual abuse in nursing homes is considered any sexual contact such as rape, coerced nudity, and sexually explicit photography that takes place without the resident’s consent. It is also important to note that when a resident cannot provide consent, any sexual contact is considered sexual abuse.
Staff members who inflict emotional anguish, pain, or distress on residents are guilty of emotional abuse. Some forms of this abuse include belittling a resident, isolating elders from others, and giving a resident the silent treatment.
Sometimes, staff members may financially exploit a resident in their care. They may have them sign blank checks, change estate plans to name them as an executor or beneficiary, or blatantly steal an elder’s cash or credit cards.
Nursing home staff members are responsible for supervising and care for their residents at all times. Any time a staff member abandons or deserts a resident, it is a form of nursing home abuse.
Abuse is not always an intentional act. In some cases, staff members may simply act or fail to act in a way that harms nursing home residents. Nursing home neglect includes failing to provide residents with basic needs such as food and water, failing to properly care for their hygiene, forgetting to provide residents with the medication they need, and more.
Sometimes, elders in a nursing home will refuse to care for themselves, such as refusing to bathe or eat. Even in these instances, it is still the responsibility of the nursing home to ensure the elder is cared for properly, even when the resident does not take care of themselves.
Regardless of the type of abuse that is occurring, nursing home residents or their family members can file a claim to secure compensation. An experienced New York City nursing home abuse attorney at SAM can help you understand your options. Contact us to request a free consultation.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
At SAM, our nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers have represented many families in cases involving nursing home negligence. Some common signs of nursing home abuse include:
- Amputation of a leg or toes
- Decubitus ulcers or sores
- Pressure ulcers or sores
- Friction ulcers or sores
- Unexplained patient falls
- Black and blue marks or bruising
- Diabetic complications
- Unexpected death
- Broken bones
- Patient elopement or wandering
- Urine or bowel incontinence
- Rape or sexual molestation
Nursing homes are accountable for the safety and well-being of their residents. There are many state and federal rules that these facilities must follow in order to maintain a state license. We can help you to understand these regulations and find out if rules are being violated.
Common Causes of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home residents and their loved ones often do not understand why abuse and neglect occurs in long-term care facilities, and that is understandable. To many, it is unimaginable that the very people entrusted with the care of one of society’s most vulnerable sectors could turn on them and treat them in such horrific ways. Sadly, there are many reasons why nursing home abuse occurs:
One of the most common reasons for nursing home abuse or neglect is that nursing homes are notoriously understaffed. With so few staff members entrusted to care for so many patients, neglect happens often. Staff members simply may not have the time to properly care for the residents, or they may be so rushed that they push them aggressively when changing them—or they may hurry an elder down a hall, causing them to fall.
Even when nursing homes are properly staffed, the staff members may not be properly trained or qualified to care for the elders in the home. Nursing home owners may not provide staff with the necessary training, or they may fail to conduct a thorough background check. Owners of nursing homes may also overlook important maintenance of medical equipment, which could harm a patient when it is used.
Lastly, nursing homes that are not properly cleaned can also result in abuse and neglect. Tripping hazards pose a significant risk to elderly individuals, and uncleaned surfaces can contain viruses or bacteria that can lead to an infection and quickly turn deadly.
Know Your Rights
Clearly, there are many causes of nursing home abuse. However, it is crucial that nursing home residents and their loved ones understand that none of these causes are an excuse for nursing home residents being neglected or abused.
The Nursing Home Reform Act and the Older Americans Act both provide nursing home residents certain rights. Regardless of the conditions of employment, staff members and nursing home owners always have a duty to prioritize the health and well-being of the residents in their care. When they fail to do so, they can be held liable for compensation for any loss or harm a resident sustained.
Potentially Liable Parties for Nursing Home Abuse
Many people assume that only nursing home staff members are responsible for abuse and neglect when it occurs. Truthfully, there are many potential liable parties in these cases, including:
While staff members are not always responsible for nursing home neglect and abuse, they can be held liable when they directly cause a resident harm by neglecting or abusing them.
Medical malpractice happens all too often in New York, and it can also occur in nursing home settings. Any time a healthcare professional fails to meet the high duty of care they owe to residents, they can be held liable.
Owners of nursing homes, and those responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations have a number of responsibilities. They must ensure their facility is clean and free of hazards, and they must also make sure they are only hiring experienced staff and providing them with proper training. When they fail to do so, they can be held liable.
Public nursing homes are often government-run. Even when they are not, government agencies are often responsible for conducting regular inspections to ensure the facility is safe and free from hazards and that all legally mandated standards are being met. When they fail to do this, it can place elders at risk for harm, and the government can be held liable for this inaction.
Covid-19 Virus: Coronavirus Deaths
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When it comes to nursing home residents and the treatment of the Covid-19 virus, the old wisdom rings true. Nursing homes are required to take care of loved ones and prevent them from getting hurt.
In many instances nursing homes failed to plan for and supply needed personal protective equipment (PPE) to their staff. As a result, many residents became infected with the virus and ultimately died. New York City nursing homes simply had no infectious protocol in place. If you have lost a loved one in a nursing home as a result of the coronavirus, please allow us to investigate and make those responsible account.
Get Legal Help Today
If you suspect a problem, please call or e-mail our experienced NYC nursing home abuse attorneys. Our New York nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers know how to help families whose loved ones are suffering from injury, pain, damage, or emotional trauma due to nursing home negligence. We can help you remedy the situation and get you the compensation you deserve. Our firm proudly offers free initial consultations to residents of the New York City area, including the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk.