Seniors deserve to live with dignity and respect in their old age, yet all too often their caretakers fall short of their responsibilities. If you suspect that your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse in a facility in San Antonio, it is important to understand your loved one’s rights.
Nursing homes and long-term care facilities have a legal duty to follow certain guidelines in delivering care to patients. Texas law allows nursing home residents and their representatives to hold nursing home management and employees accountable if a nursing home neglects its responsibilities and that results in harm to a nursing home patient.
By filing a nursing home abuse claim, you can focus attention on a problem, protect your loved one and prevent other seniors from suffering similar ill treatment. The San Antonio nursing home abuse attorneys at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. pursue abuse and injury claims on behalf of people who have been hurt in nursing homes, assisted living, and other elder care facilities.
Types of Nursing Home or Elder Abuse
If you or a loved one is receiving care in a nursing home or other elder care facility, it’s extremely important to educate yourself and your loved ones on how to recognize elder abuse. Nursing home abuse or neglect may take many different forms. The National Center on Elder Abuse lists five types of abuse:
- Physical abuse– Physical force may include hitting, beating, shoving, pushing, slapping, shaking, burning, or kicking a nursing home resident. It can also involve inappropriate use of medications, physical punishment, force-feeding, or subjecting the individual to physical restraints.
- Psychological abuse— Nursing home residents are dependent on others for assistance and may experience anguish and emotional distress if they feel threatened. Examples of psychological abuse include threats, insults, verbal assaults, humiliation, intimidation, or harassment. An older adult may be treated like a child or isolated from friends, family, or activities.
- Sexual abuse—Any non-consensual sexual contact with a senior may constitute sexual abuse. Examples include unwanted touching, coerced nudity, taking pictures of an individual when he or she is naked, or sexual assault.
- Neglect—This type of abuse occurs when someone who is responsible for the care of a resident disregards their duties and fails to provide appropriate care. For example, a caretaker may fail to provide necessary services such as feeding, medical care, and personal hygiene.
- Financial abuse—If a caretaker improperly uses or misappropriates an elderly person’s bank accounts, or property, it may constitute financial abuse. They may include forging signatures on checks or financial documents, improperly adding names to accounts, stealing cash or property.
Signs of Nursing Home Neglect
If you know how to recognize the signs of nursing home neglect, you could quickly intervene and protect your loved one. Speaking with an experienced San Antonio nursing home injury lawyer can help you understand the steps to take.
Some of the most common signs of nursing home neglect include:
- Complaints from an older adult that he or she is being mistreated or his or her possessions are being taken without consent
- Refusal or unwillingness by a nursing home staff member for the patient to be left alone with visitors
- Sudden changes in personality or behavior
- Agitation or emotional withdrawal by the nursing home resident
- Unexplained cuts, bruises or lacerations
- Signs that the patient is being over-medicated
- Broken bones, broken eyeglasses, welts, burns
- Marks from ropes or restraints
- Unexplained sexually transmitted disease, genital infections, bleeding or bruising of the genitals, underwear that is stained, bloody or torn undergarments
- Hazardous or unsanitary living conditions, malnutrition, dehydration, untreated bedsores, untreated health problems
- Forged signatures or unexplained changes to legal documents, such as the will, changes to bank accounts or withdrawals of large amounts of money, the disappearance of the senior’s possessions or funds, transferring assets to a health care worker or someone not in the family
- Living in unsafe, hazardous, or unsanitary conditions, such as a home with inadequate plumbing or faulty wiring.
If you notice that your elderly loved one is showing any of above signs of possible abuse or neglect, it’s important to take action. Report your concerns to the nursing home administrator orally and in writing. If you do not receive a satisfactory explanation, contact our nursing home abuse attorneys in San Antonio.
Nursing Home Liability and Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
In Texas, as in most states, lawmakers have put in place nursing home abuse laws to ensure a high standard of care and keep residents safe and healthy. Texas Administrative Code ensures that each person has the right to the services needed to ensure the “highest possible mental, physical, and psychosocial wellbeing.”
Nursing home residents have the right to be treated with respect and have their dignity intact. They have the right to have their needs met through their individual care plan and to receive any necessary assistance with their basic daily needs, such as bathing, going to the toilet, eating, and being mobile. They have the right to proper food and nutrition. Staff and caretakers should make sure residents are not dehydrated, malnourished, or developing bedsores, or other medical conditions as a result of lack of care and attention. The staff needs to be very careful about administering the proper doses of medicine.
The operators of facilities for the elderly also have the responsibility to make sure that the facility is clean and well maintained. The residents should have clean clothes, towels, and bed linens.
The law specifies the number of staff at nursing homes and other facilities and their training or certification requirements. For instance, a nursing home must have a registered nurse on duty at the facility for eight hours a day, seven days a week. The law also specifies the number of direct caregivers that should be on staff at facilities at any given time to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the residents.
You may have questions about how to report nursing home abuse in San Antonio, Texas. To report suspected abuse or neglect in Texas, call the Health and Human Services hotline and 800-458-9858.
You can make a report about abuse in:
- nursing homes
- assisted living facilities
- day activity and health services
- home health and hospice agencies
- intermediate care facilities
How a Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer Can Help
In a nursing home abuse case, the plaintiff must prove that the nursing home owed a duty of care to the injured person and that the nursing home or its staff member failed to follow that standard of care. For example, a nursing home may be responsible for a resident’s injury or death when staff or management failed to take some action to prevent the incident from occurring. For instance, a resident with dementia may wander out of the nursing home and walk into the street and be struck by a car, if not appropriately supervised by the staff.
To prove liability for nursing home abuse in San Antonio, Texas, the plaintiff must provide sufficient evidence to show that the nursing home failed to maintain the resident’s safety, and because of this failure, the resident experienced injury or death. The plaintiff must provide evidence that proves the circumstances surrounding the incident or ill treatment. A lawyer working on your behalf will investigate the nursing home abuse or neglect and collect the evidence needed to show that the nursing home failed to meet the duty of care.
If you believe that a nursing home is responsible for injuries or death suffered by your friend or loved one, you will want to speak with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer. Our San Antonio nursing home abuse law firm knows the federal and state laws regarding elder care facilities and can help you. A compassionate lawyer at Herrman & Herrman’s office in San Antonio will examine the details of your case and determine whether the nursing home may potentially be at fault. A nursing home neglect lawyer can help you file a legal claim to seek justice and demand financial compensation for the individual or their family.
Contact Our San Antonio Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers Now
For nearly two decades, Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C., has served personal injury victims in south Texas. Our San Antonio nursing home abuse law firm has an in-depth knowledge of state and federal laws governing nursing homes and other facilities that care for our seniors.
Contact us today for information about how we can help you and your loved one with your nursing home abuse case. We will discuss your situation and explain your rights and options. Call our English and Spanish-speaking staff today at (361) 792-2358, contact us online, or visit one of our four South Texas offices in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, McAllen, and Brownsville.