Most senior citizens who cannot perform the activities of daily living (ADLs) resort to living in nursing homes. Unfortunately, resident abuse is a common problem in some nursing homes. The abuse is rampant due to unqualified staff, improper training, or burnt-out staff due to understaffing.
Although you can report nursing home abuse on your own, you need to be represented by a qualified lawyer to stand a better chance at getting justice. Our proficient nursing home abuse lawyers from Wade Law Firm in Indianapolis will represent you in your quest to get compensation. We offer 24/7 support and free consultations.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse occurs when long-term residents suffer from emotional, psychological, or physical negligence. The staff at the nursing homes can abuse the residents due to internal issues like burnout caused by insufficient staff, improper facility supervision, unqualified staff, or improper training.
In addition, some of the staff within nursing homes mistreat, abuse, or neglect the residents due to personal reasons like stress. The number of abuse cases within a nursing home facility can be high due to a lack of early detection. The abused residents sometimes fail to report the abuse due to fear or inability to recognize the abuse.
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Types of Abuse in Nursing Homes
The term nursing home abuse is associated with physical injury. However, it can also connote sexual or emotional abuse. Caregivers can intentionally cause harm to residents. A 2020 study by the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 66% of nursing home staff abused their residents.
With such high statistics, it’s essential to understand the types of nursing home abuse to reduce the risks of being a victim of nursing home abuse. They include:
- Physical – Pushing, hitting, biting, or kicking residents.
- Emotional – Any action that harms an older person’s mental well-being. It includes but is not limited to yelling, isolation, or making crude remarks.
- Sexual – Any form of unwanted sexual activity to a resident.
- Neglect – If a resident is left unattended, they are at risk of malnutrition, getting bedsores, or infections.
- Financial – Caregivers can take advantage of a resident’s condition like Dementia to mismanage their funds.
Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), any nursing home actions that fail to meet an older person’s basic need, including access to food, water, hygiene, and medical care, is negligence, a form of abuse.
Knowing the signs of nursing home abuse can help prevent abuse and protect the victims from further attacks. The signs of nursing home abuse include:
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Depression or anxiety
- Fractured or broken bones
- Unexplained STIs
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Dirty clothes or bedding
- Worsening or new infection
- New changes to a power of attorney,
- Suicidal actions or thoughts,
- Bruises around the genitals,
- Aggressive or violent.
Nursing Home Abuse Laws in Indiana
The nursing home abuse law in Indiana states that all nursing homes have a duty to care for all residents in the home by assessing the needs of each resident and developing a plan for their care. There are federal and state laws regulating nursing homes in Indiana that specify the residents’ rights and legal obligations of nursing homes.
The federal and state laws govern:
- The administration and management of health facilities
- Resident rights
- Food and nutrition services
- Infection control
- Social service programs and activities
- Clinical records
- Nursing and medical service
- Assessment of resident needs
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How to Prove Nursing Home Abuse
A nursing home will hardly ever admit to any form of neglect or abuse occurring in their facility. Therefore, you should hire a qualified nursing home abuse attorney to help you prove a facility’s negligence.
You must prove that a resident in an Indiana nursing home was abused by providing clinical or photographic records that indicate that the resident’s treatment was below the acceptable standards.
In addition, you can visit the Indiana office of the Ombudsman and check if a nursing home has frequent allegations of neglect, abuse, or has a history of providing substandard care. A detailed proof of negligence can help you prove nursing home abuse.
The office of the Ombudsman examines complaints from people who believe they have received unfair treatment from certain service providers like a nursing home.
Who Can File an Indiana Nursing Home Lawsuit?
A resident can file a lawsuit against a nursing home if they are of sound mind. However, if a resident cannot file the case, their immediate family members like children or spouses can file on their behalf.
In case of death, a wrongful death lawsuit is filed by a representative appointed by a probate court judge.
How Can I Report Nursing Home Abuse in Indiana?
Laws in Indiana state have strict penalties against nursing homes that mistreat their residents. If you suspect any form of abuse, the different means to report abuse include:
- Through the Indiana Attorney General’s Patient Abuse and Neglect Program or by calling the Attorney General’s toll-free hotline at (800) 382-1039.
- Calling 911 if you witness abuse or injuries on a nursing home resident that look like a result of abuse.
- Visiting the Indiana State Department of Health’s (ISDH) website and downloading the complaint form. You can submit an anonymous complaint through the website.
- Sending an email to the ISDH or fax at (317) 233-7494.
- By sending a written complaint to:
Indiana State Department of Health
Health Care Facility Complaint Program
2 North Meridian Street, 4B
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Can I Get Compensation for Nursing Home Abuse?
If you or your loved one have been a victim of nursing home abuse, you can file a civil suit and get a settlement amount. If the nursing home assumes liability, compensation will be offered to the victim or their family if the victim is deceased.
After filing a lawsuit, you will receive compensation through one of the following ways.
- A trial verdict – The attending jury draws a decision depending on the evidence and arguments presented by both parties. The resident may or may not receive compensation depending on the jury’s decision.
- Settlement – An out-of-court agreement between the two parties. The lawsuit ends if the parties agree and the resident gets compensation.
Get Help From Our Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers
Nursing homes are supposed to offer a peaceful and thriving environment for people in their golden years. You should make a report if you suspect that your loved one is being abused at a nursing home.
At Wade Law Firm, we are compassionate, professional, and available to help you seek compensation and justice for your loved one. Contact our legal team for a fruitful and strictly confidential consultation.