According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans who are 65 or older could reach 70 million by the year 2030. As our population ages, many families must face the tough decision of whether – and when – to move an elderly loved one into a nursing home or an assisted living facility.

The difficulties of this already challenging situation are redoubled if the family member who has been placed in a nursing home later begins to experience difficulties with inadequate hygiene, poor nutrition or, most troubling, unexplained cuts, bruises, burns, bedsores, or fractures

In all too many cases, your loved one won’t necessarily receive the quality of care they deserve. There have been many well-publicized instances of elder abuse; in some cases an institutional pattern exists. This negligence is a serious problem that can have heartbreaking results.

Pikeville KY nursing home law firmIf you believe that your loved one has suffered an injury or a decline in their condition due to substandard care they have received at their nursing home, please contact the Pikeville KY nursing home abuse lawyer, Billy Johnson. Our firm can be reached toll-free at 1-606-437-4488 or through this online form.

From our offices in Pikeville, we have helped people throughout Eastern Kentucky and Central Kentucky for over 30 years. Leverage our experience to work for you and your family member.

A Climate of Risk

Nursing home abuse has many causes, primarily ones related to absence of enough qualified caregivers. Understaffing leads to overworked employees who can sometimes take their stress out on elderly patients. In addition, understaffing can lead to neglect because there is less time for individual care. Employees may also feel they are not paid enough money to deal with the intensely personal situations that can occur. Furthermore, some nursing home employees are inadequately trained and cannot cope with the emotional aspects of their jobs.

Know the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse & Elder Neglect

Although nursing home abuse is not always obvious, there are some warning signs that it has occurred. Unfortunately, many cases go unreported because of one or more of the following:

  • The victim may be afraid to tell someone.
  • The abuser may have threatened them with harm if they spoke up.
  • Some may think that the abuse is normal or to be expected.
  • The victim might not even be aware they are being abused.
  • Some elderly patients are unable to communicate due to physical or mental limitations.
  • The abuser may lead a victim to feel they deserve to be punished.

Pikeville Nursing Home InjuryIn addition to physical abuse — such as slapping or shaking — nursing home neglect can come in the form of failure to meet the resident’s basic needs. A prime example includes failure to give proper medication and, in some cases, unnecessary use of antipsychotic medications.

According to the FDA, this abuse kills an estimated 15,000 nursing home patients every year. Of all the drugs used as chemical restraints, antipsychotics are the most widespread and may be the most dangerous. One investigative report in Texas revealed that some nursing homes were caught overmedicating residents with antipsychotics just so the facilities wouldn’t have to hire (and pay) more caregivers.

Other forms of nursing home abuse involve failure to care for wounds, to provide suitable nutrition, and failure to assist in personal hygiene.

Elder care residents who are unreasonably restrained or subjected to sexual assault are also victims of abuse. Mental abuse (humiliation, insults or threats) can be just as damaging as physical abuse, although it may be harder to prove. This also includes refusal to let a patient make decisions about personal things like eating, getting out of bed, or handling their money.

You should be concerned if a nursing home patient has:

  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, sprains, or fractures
  • Bedsores
  • Rapid weight gain or loss
  • Sudden changes in behavior, especially in regard to money
  • Been kept in an over-medicated state or not had their pain managed effectively
  • Lost possessions
  • Abruptly changed his/her will or financial documents.

Other indications may come from the abusers themselves, such as:

  • Not keeping a patient’s family informed of their relative’s status
  • Not being able to explain  marks or bruises
  • Refusing to allow family or friends to see the resident
  • Delaying in allowing visits from family and friends
  • Not allowing the resident to be alone with relatives or friends.

Free Legal Consult

Pikeville KY nursing home abuse lawyerIf you suspect that your elderly loved one has been – or is being – neglected, abused, or injured while in the care of a nursing home or other healthcare facility, please contact Pikeville, KY, nursing home abuse lawyer Billy Johnson immediately!  You can call toll-free 606-433-0682 or fill out our online form. What may seem an insignificant detail in a patient’s care could just as easily be an important clue to a much larger problem. Let Billy Johnson help by evaluating your family member’s case for free; if he believes you may have a claim, he will guide you throughout the entire legal process and help rescue your vulnerable family member.