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How can you protect a loved one from nursing home neglect or abuse in Indiana?

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2022 | Personal Injury

Many of our elderly loved ones receive excellent care in this state’s nursing home facilities, but at some Indiana nursing homes, residents are neglected and abused. If someone in your family is a nursing home abuse victim, contact an Indiana nursing home abuse attorney at once.

What constitutes nursing home abuse in the state? What signs or indications should families look for? What steps should you take if you believe that your elderly loved one is being neglected or abused at an Indiana nursing home? Keep reading for the answers to these important questions.

What Laws Protect Nursing Home Residents?

At the federal level, the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act establishes a set of minimum standards for the care and well-being of nursing home residents, and it spells out their basic legal rights – including the right to be treated with dignity at all times.

At the state level, Indiana’s nursing home residents are covered by the Adult Protective Services Act, which establishes the legal duty of nursing home employees to report any suspected hazard or risk to the residents of nursing homes as well as any suspected negligence or abuse.

Why Does Abuse Happen in Nursing Homes?

Across the U.S., nursing homes are facing a staffing shortage that substantially impacts the care offered to the residents. Some owners of nursing homes simply won’t hire the personnel they need. Nursing homes are sometimes understaffed with employees who are overworked.

Federal guidelines only require a nursing home’s owners to hire “sufficient” personnel, but allowing the owners themselves to decide what’s sufficient has led to negligence, abuse, and genuine risks to the safety and health of residents at some Indiana nursing home facilities.

What Constitutes Nursing Home Abuse?

Indiana’s best nursing homes prove that nursing home owners can make profits without sacrificing the quality of care, but when owners place profits over the well-being of residents, neglect and abuse can happen. Nursing home abuse and neglect include but aren’t limited to:

  •  failing to monitor the residents
  •  malnutrition, dehydration, or infections
  •  medical negligence or medical malpractice
  •  physical, emotional, or verbal abuse
  •  ulcers as the result of neglecting to turn residents in their beds
  •  the unnecessary restraint of a resident
  •  theft and financial exploitation

Ulcers may be the clearest indication that nursing home residents are neglected. Employees may easily prevent ulcers by turning patients regularly. Frankly, neglecting something this simple and basic is unacceptable. It is a clear sign that neglect may be prevalent at a nursing home facility.

Other indications of nursing home neglect, mistreatment, or abuse may include cuts, bruises, or burns on a resident, poor personal hygiene, poor dental care, hunger, thirst, a rapid loss of weight, and sudden attitude or personality changes such as withdrawal or severe depression.

Are There Other Negligence Issues in Nursing Homes?

The financial exploitation of residents in nursing homes is rising. Financial exploitation may include stealing cash, checks, credit or debit cards, and jewelry, forging signatures, and bullying or manipulating a resident into signing a contract, a will, or another dubious financial document.

On several rare occasions, nursing home residents have been assaulted physically. Two nursing assistants were charged in 2014 with battery against a 76-year-old nursing home resident in Winter Haven, Florida.

In 2020, a 75-year-old man was brutally assaulted in a Detroit nursing home by another resident of the home. That assault was captured on video, went viral on the internet, and shocked the nation. The victim had to be hospitalized. Thankfully, incidents like these are relatively rare.

But nursing home neglect and abuse in its other forms happens far too frequently. If your family finds any indication of neglect, abuse, or financial exploitation, or if you have any reason to suspect that an elderly relative is suffering nursing home neglect or abuse, take action at once.

What Can You Do About Nursing Home Abuse?

Under Indiana law, the injured victim of another person’s negligence is entitled to compensation. If you believe your elderly relative is a victim of negligence or abuse at an Indiana nursing home, speak with an Indiana nursing home abuse lawyer who will fight for your loved one’s rights.

Your attorney can launch an abuse investigation immediately, seek testimony and evidence that supports your claim, and help you file an injury lawsuit on your loved one’s behalf. If the abuse constitutes a crime like forgery or assault, your attorney will contact the police.

If you proceed with legal action, an Indiana nursing home abuse attorney will negotiate with the nursing home owners (and their lawyers and insurance company) for monetary compensation to cover your loved one’s medical expenses, personal pain and suffering, and related damages.

Will Your Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit Go to Trial?

If your claim is disputed or denied, or if no reasonable settlement offer is forthcoming in out-of-court negotiations, your attorney will take the case to trial, explain to a jury what happened, and ask that jury to order payment of the compensation that your loved one needs and deserves.

If you believe that negligence, mistreatment, or abuse is happening to someone you love in the Indiana nursing home where that person resides, seek the legal help your family needs as quickly as possible, and schedule a consultation with an Indiana nursing home abuse lawyer.

Your lawyer will advise you about what steps to take and how to obtain the compensation – and more importantly, the justice – that your family is entitled to by law.

What Will It Cost Your Family to Seek Justice?

If you have a loved one who is a nursing home abuse victim, your first legal consultation with a nursing home abuse attorney is offered without cost or obligation. You will receive specific, personalized legal advice, and you’ll be able to make an informed decision about legal action.

If your family proceeds with a nursing home abuse lawsuit, you will pay no attorney’s fee until and unless your attorney recovers monetary compensation on your family’s behalf with an out-of-court settlement or a jury verdict.

There is a two-year statute of limitations in Indiana for filing nursing home abuse claims – that is, a two-year deadline from the date of an abuse incident – but if you believe that your loved one is currently the victim of ongoing negligence or abuse, obviously, you must take action and make the call to a nursing home negligence attorney now.