One of the hardest decisions you’ll ever have to make is whether to put your mom or dad in a nursing home. Part of you feels like you should be able to take care of them yourself. The other part knows that you’re just not able to do this.
As our parents get older, they need to be near people who know how to take care of them. As we start to live longer, the number of people who need to enter a nursing home increase. So does the number of nursing homes.
Even though we understand it’s the right thing to do, we still get scared about putting our loved one in a home. Our biggest fear is that they won’t be cared for properly. Will the nurses pay enough attention to them? Will they make sure your dad gets to watch his baseball games?
When you’re choosing a nursing home, you’ll spend a lot of time doing research. You’ll visit a few nursing homes. You’ll take a tour and make sure it’s clean and bright. You’ll take notice of how the residents look. Are they clean and well cared for? Do they seem happy?
When you finally find the perfect place, you explain to your parent that they’ll be moving into a new place. It breaks your heart but you have to do it. Perhaps your parent is suffering from dementia and doesn’t even realize what day it is. You still feel guilty moving them into a nursing home.
So, it more than breaks your heart when you learn that your loved one is being neglected. In fact, it’ll make you downright angry. This is when it’s time to call an Arizona nursing home neglect attorney like Nathaniel B. Preston.
What is Nursing Home Neglect?
Nurses and aides are supposed to take care of nursing home residents. This means they keep them clean and make sure they eat their meals. They have a duty to be kind to them and make sure they take their medications. They also have to provide the nursing care that is expected of a nursing home.
Being in a nursing home is a lot different from being in the hospital. In the hospital, you’re only there for a few days. The nurses don’t mind taking good care of you because they know you’ll be gone in a shift or two. Plus, the amount of care provided in the hospital is a lot less than it is in a nursing home.
Nurses and nursing aides in a nursing home are expected to provide round the clock care. They’re responsible for the following:
- Bathing their residents
- Changing their patients and making sure they’re kept clean and shaven
- Feeding their residents
- Making sure patients take their medication as prescribed
- Making sure each resident engages in social activities
- Communicate with the family as necessary
- Greeting their residents and talking to them from time to time
- Making sure their patients are generally comfortable
If they don’t do their job, some of all of these things won’t get done. Or, they may get done in a half-hearted manner. If your loved one isn’t treated the way they should be, it may be considered nursing home neglect.
It’s important that you visit your loved one often. This may be the only way to make sure they’re being cared for properly. Talk to the nursing staff. Ask questions. Talk to your mom or dad. Ask them if they’re happy. See if there’s anything the nurses could be doing to make them more comfortable.
How to Spot Nursing Home Neglect
Like we said already, it’s important that your family visit your loved one often. If you don’t see your relative for weeks or months at a time, a lot of damage can be done. You want to stay on top of the situation and make sure they’re being taken care of.
If you live far away and aren’t able to visit as often as you like, still communicate with the home. Call and speak the case manager or charge nurse. Ask them how your mom or dad is doing. Ask if you can talk to your loved one. Better yet, see if a local family member or friend can go visit.
When you do visit, there are a few things you want to look for. If you see any of these signs, your loved one may be the victim of nursing home neglect:
- They’re losing weight
- They seem confused
- They’re withdrawn and generally sad
- They are quieter than normal
- You notice bed sores or bruises
- Their chart shows they haven’t gotten their meds like they should
- They seem disoriented
- They appear unclean and unkempt
- They don’t smell very pleasant
Hopefully, none of these things will happen to your mom or dad. But if you notice any of these things, it’s time to call a nursing home neglect lawyer in Arizona.
Why are Residents Neglected in the First Place?
It’s hard to imagine why nursing home residents would be neglected. Sometimes it just comes down to laziness and incompetence. Nurses and aides are just like everyone else. Some of them aren’t in the job for the right reasons. They may look at is as a chore instead of a chance to help people.
Another cause of nursing home neglect is lack of resources. Many nursing homes, especially the ones run by the State, don’t have the right resources. The patient to nurse ratio may be way too high. They may not have the funds to hire enough support staff. Not that this is an excuse. Regardless of their resources, they still owe your loved one a duty of care.
Finally, some of the staff may be untrained or inexperienced. Just because someone has the technical qualifications for the job doesn’t mean they’re any good at it. Try to find out if there are certain times of day that the neglect is happening. If you can narrow it down to certain staff members, it may be easier to resolve.
Possible Damages in a Nursing Home Neglect Case
If your mom or dad has been the victim of nursing home neglect, they may be entitled to compensation. As with any other lawsuit, you have to suffer an actual injury in order to sue. Just because your loved one isn’t happy at the nursing home isn’t enough reason to sue.
Neglect can involve all sorts of physical and mental injuries. Your loved one may be entitled to the following types of damages:
- Medical bills – If they have to undergo treatment or surgery due to the neglect, you may have a claim for damages. Just keep in mind, most of your parent’s care is covered under Medicare and other insurance. If there was no out of pocket loss, your loved one won’t receive actual compensation. Any money you recover as part of medical bills will be used to pay the third-party provider.
- Pain and Suffering – If the neglect is severe enough, your loved one may be entitled to pain and suffering. These damages represent the pain and mental anguish suffered by your parent. This may make up the lion’s share of your loved one’s case.
- Expenses Associated with Nursing Home Transfer – Once you confirm there is neglect, you’re going to want to move your loved one. If there are any costs to make this transfer, you’ll want to hold the nursing home accountable.
- Attorney Fees – Any costs associated with the lawsuit should be covered by the nursing home.
Your Arizona nursing home neglect lawyer will fight to get your loved one the compensation they deserve. Remember – this is their case, not yours. As angry and as hurt as you may be, you’re not the one who has a claim for damages. The only exception would be if your loved one died as a result of the neglect.
Contact an Arizona Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer Today
Deciding that it’s time to place your parent in a nursing home is very difficult. It may be one of the hardest decisions you ever make. So, when they’re not treated the way they should be, you’re going to be upset. You’ll start second guessing your decision. Don’t do this to yourself.
There are some great nursing homes out there. There are also wonderful nurses and doctors. Sadly, there are some that make mistakes. There are also some who just don’t care about their patients. But just because you ran into a bad experience, that doesn’t mean there aren’t better options out there.
If your loved one has been the victim of nursing home neglect, it’s time to call in some help. An Arizona nursing home neglect lawyer like Nathaniel B. Preston has years of experienced handling cases like yours. Call and schedule a free initial consultation with his office today.
The consultation is free and you pay nothing until your loved one settles their case. The nursing home will have a team of lawyers working for them. You should too.