Any time a nursing home staff member acts with the intent to inflict harm or with neglect for a resident’s well-being a serious injury can result. The exact injury that is suffered will depend both on the actions (or inactions) of the staff member and the overall health of the nursing home resident.
However, the actions that you take in response to a nursing home abuse or neglect injury should be the same. You should get your loved one medical care and you should contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer because your loved one’s time to pursue legal action and financial compensation is limited by Wisconsin law.
First, Identify the Injury
One study cited by the National Center on Elder Abuse found that 44% of nursing home residents report abuse and 95% of nursing home residents report negligence. Another study cited by the same group found that more than half of nursing home staff report mistreating residents within the last year.
It is believed that only a fraction of the abuse and negligence that is actually occurring is actually reported. Accordingly, if your loved one is (or was) residing in a nursing home, then it is important to be aware of the following injuries:
- Bedsores. Bedsores, or pressure ulcers, most commonly occur in people who have difficulty moving themselves. Pressure is put on the skin because the person remains in the same position for too long. These sores can be severe and can become infected. Nursing home staff may be negligent if they fail to move bedridden or wheelchair-bound patients frequently or fail to notice the early signs of bedsores.
- Infections. Infections are a real risk in communal living facilities such as nursing homes. However, they are not inevitable and nursing home staff have a duty to use reasonable care to prevent such infections from making residents sick.
- Bone fractures. Broken or fractured bones can limit mobility, require surgery, and increase the likelihood of death in nursing home residents. Some broken bones are just accidents, but others are caused by the abuse or neglect of nursing home staff.
- Suffocation. Bed linens, bed rails, food, and equipment can create choking or suffocation hazards for residents. Nursing homes have a responsibility to prevent this risk and resulting injuries.
- Sexual abuse. It is difficult to think about sexual abuse ever occurring in a nursing home. However, any unwanted or nonconsensual sexual conduct may be a form of sexual abuse that results in significant injury for the resident.
- Death. Any of the injuries described above—or other injuries—can be fatal. The nursing home may still be liable for the nursing home resident’s death despite the nursing home resident’s age and health conditions.
It is important to know what to do if your loved one has been hurt or killed by the wrongful acts of nursing home staff.
Next, Pursue a Just Recovery
If your loved one suffered any of the injuries described above—or any other injury—because of nursing home abuse or neglect, then she deserves to make a fair recovery. If she has already passed away, then the right to make a fair recovery belongs to her estate. A fair recovery could include compensation for things such as:
- Medical expenses.
- Out-of-pocket costs, including funeral costs if your loved one died as a result of the negligence or abuse.
- Physical pain and emotional suffering.
This compensation won’t happen automatically. Instead, your loved one or her estate will need to pursue legal action. That might be through arbitration or in a court of law, depending on the terms of the nursing home contract that your loved one signed at the time she was admitted to the facility.
To learn more about the specific steps that your loved one can take to protect her rights, and about how you can help her, 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, or start a live chat with us now.