Be alert to the signs of nursing home neglect and abuse.

In order to protect your loved one’s rights and recover damages after nursing home abuse or neglect leaves her injured, you are going to have to prove that the nursing home was abusive or neglectful. It is not enough to allege abuse or neglect; instead, you are going to have to prove exactly how it occurred and the injuries your loved one suffered.

This will require specific evidence. Accordingly, it is important to consider the common ways that nursing homes are abusive or neglectful so that you can identify the problem before an injury occurs or hold the nursing home accountable for any damage that it does.

Eight Ways a Nursing Home Can Be Abusive or Neglectful

Some different forms of nursing home abuse and neglect include:

  1. Malnutrition and dehydration. The nursing home has a duty to provide adequate nutrition and hydration for each resident. If staff members fail to provide reasonable nutrition and hydration, if they fail to ensure that a resident is eating the food or drinking the water provided, or if they fail to notice signs of malnutrition or dehydration, then they may be negligent.
  2. Failure to maintain a clean and safe facility. Nursing homes have a duty to provide reasonably clean and safe facilities. This includes cleaning of resident rooms and common areas to make sure that disease is not spread and having safety procedures in place to prevent resident injuries.
  3. Resident falls. Some falls are just accidents, but other falls are a form of nursing home negligence. Nursing home staff have a duty to assess residents’ risks of falling, to implement plans to prevent falls, to have procedures in place to prevent falls, and to make sure that any resident who is injured in a fall gets prompt medical care.
  4. Medication errors. Too much medication, too little medication, or the wrong medication can significantly injure a nursing home resident. Consider what could happen if the wrong amount of insulin or a blood thinner was provided to a resident, and learn why nursing homes should take action to prevent all types of medication errors.
  5. Wandering and elopement. Nursing home residents are living in nursing homes because they need care. When they wander around the facility without supervision—or worse, leave the facility unsupervised—they could be in grave danger. This is of particular concern for residents with dementia. Nursing homes have a duty to protect residents from these dangers.
  6. Use of restraints without medical reason. In rare cases, a medical doctor may suggest physical restraints for a resident. However, absent a medical doctor’s advice and without a plan to use such restraints safely, nursing home staff should not use restraints on patients. Restraints can result in serious injuries.
  7. Violation of nursing home standards. The federal government and the state of Wisconsin have specific nursing home standards. Any violation of these standards or regulations could be evidence of negligence.
  8. Neglect. Above, are specific examples of nursing home negligence. However, any time a nursing home staff member violates his duty of care to a resident and that violation results in an injury, then nursing home neglect may have occurred.

Of course, the deliberate and intentional physical or sexual assault of a nursing home resident is also abuse that can result in serious injury and that is deserving of a fair recovery.

Take These Common Steps After These Different Causes of Injury

If your loved one has suffered an injury from any type of nursing home abuse or negligence then now is the time to take action. You need to take steps to get your loved one the medical help that she needs, to make sure that she in a safe living environment, and to protect your rights to a legal recovery. For more information about how to protect your loved one now, please read our FREE book, Guide for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Victims: What You Need to Know to Protect Your Legal Rights and Get Every Dollar You Deserve, and contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney who can guide you through this difficult time.

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.