Ontario Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawyers
Moving an elderly parent or family member into a nursing care facility or assisted living facility is no easy decision to make. You have to consider what assistance level they require, the location, the cost, and the level of care. Even after you complete all of your research, changes to staffing happen frequently at nursing homes and with that, the quality of care can drop too. If your loved one becomes less cognitively aware or suffers a physical decline while in the nursing home, that can also put them at higher risk of mistreatment.
If you have visited a loved one in a nursing home recently and have noticed concerning signs that may be evidence of abuse or neglect, you need to take further action. The place that was initially safe and allowed them to have more assistance with daily living tasks may now be a harmful environment. The Ontario nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at the Southern California Nursing Home Law Group have experience handling these legal cases and can help guide you through what steps to take next.Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit or a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If your loved one has experienced abuse or neglect, the first step is to get them back into a safe environment. Then, you can file a personal injury claim or, if the victim died as result of the mistreatment, a wrongful death lawsuit. It is possible that the abuser will face criminal charges, but those are separate from filing a civil lawsuit. Personal injury claims for nursing home injuries allow the victim to receive compensation for the damages sustained. Compensation takes into account the physical damages such as injuries that may require surgery or physical therapy along with the psychological trauma and pain and suffering sustained. Wrongful death lawsuits consider elements such as funeral costs and loss of consortium for surviving family members.What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home or assisted living abuse is made worse by the fact that not all elderly patients are capable of speaking up against it and few are physically strong enough to prevent abuse from occurring in the first place. Abuse can be physical, emotional, or sexual in nature. Examples of nursing home abuse vary widely, but some examples include:
- Punching, slapping, or otherwise aggressively handling a senior; or
- Making sexual advances, whether by a caregiver or fellow resident;
- Humiliating or degrading a resident;
- Intentionally withholding basic needs as a way of controlling or punishing resident.
When a elderly patient who needs assistance with daily activities is left alone too long they are likely to either not get their needs met or to attempt to take care of themselves and overexert themselves. For instance, a nursing home resident may need to use the restroom and if the staff fails to come by and help them maneuver to the bathroom, that patient may walk unstably on their own and fall. According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of fatal injury for elderly adults. Neglect can also lead to the following:
- Malnutrition or dehydration;
- Preventable falls;
- Untreated wounds;
- Unnoticed injuries or illnesses that should receive medical attention; and
- Unsanitary sheets, clothes, or room environment.
Even if it is unintentional, nursing home neglect can have severe consequences and needs to be reported and handled through the legal system.Signs of Abuse and Neglect
According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, physically abused elders are much more likely to display bruises than those who are injured by accident. Other evidence of mistreatment may be harder to spot. Examples include:
- Depression, anxiety, or signs of withdrawal;
- A disheveled appearance;
- Traumatic brain injury, injuries to the hands or wrists, or other signs that a fall or frequent falling has occurred;
- Catching your loved on in a lie when you ask about an injury, illness, or other oddity;
- Sprains, fractures, lacerations, welts, dislocations, or burns that cannot be explained;
- Frequent hunger or thirst that may be signs of malnourishment;
- Fear of staff;
- Dirty clothes or bedding;
- Disorderly room, damaged personal possessions, or bad smell of your loved one’s room or person;
- An apparent shortage of staff during visits; and
Suspecting your loved one is being abused or neglected by nursing home staff is a stressful and overwhelming realization to make. You do not have to handle the stress on your own. A qualified Ontario attorney can answer your questions, help you investigate further, file a lawsuit, and get your loved one to a better long-term location. Contact the Southern California Nursing Home Law Group at (866) 607-1325 to schedule a free consultation to learn more.