According to the Alabama Department of Human Resources, nearly 9,000 annual reports of adult abuse, neglect, and exploitation are reported to Adult Protective Services every year in Alabama. Sadly, that’s just a fraction of the real number of elder abuse cases, many of which go unreported. Nursing home abuse and neglect is an epidemic, not only in Alabama but throughout the United States.
When entrusting the care and protection of an aging loved one to a nursing home, most people assume they’d be able to spot and put a stop to abuse or neglect as soon as it occurs. Unfortunately, many times abuse goes unnoticed until the victim has suffered substantially or even lost their lives.
If you believe your loved one may have been subjected to elder abuse or neglect, the time to act is now. Brian Plant, Alabama nursing home neglect attorney at Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys, explains how families can seek justice for this heinous crime.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Those who are under the care of a nursing home or long-term care facility have the right to prompt medical care, adequate nutrition, and safe living conditions free of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
Many families only begin to suspect nursing home abuse or neglect when their loved one is unexpectedly injured. What may seem like an age-related injury such as bruises from a slip and fall accident may actually be a sign of inadequate supervision or an unsafe premises. Changes in mood or personality may seem like an issue adjusting to a new living situation, but could actually be a sign of mental or physical abuse.
You should always report any suspected abuse or neglect to local authorities, including law enforcement and Alabama Adult Protective Services. You may also wish to consult an Alabama nursing home abuse attorney.
Elder Abuse in Alabama
Physical abuse occurs when a staff member, contractor, or other nursing home resident uses physical force against a loved one. This could include pushing, shoving, slapping, kicking, force-feeding, throwing objects, physical restraint, etc.
Emotional or mental abuse is when a loved one is yelled at, talked down to, humiliated, shamed, belittled, or intimidated, causing unnecessary emotional trauma. Psychological abuse is especially common in nursing homes because residents rely on caregivers to meet their basic needs and have little agency. Emotional abuse may also include manipulating residents to make questionable financial decisions.
Sexual abuse is less commonly talked about when it comes to elder abuse, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t occur. Elder sexual abuse is both underreported and underresearched, making the signs harder to detect. This includes any kind of unwanted sexual contact and also applies to situations when medical conditions (such as Alzheimer’s) preclude victims from providing consent to sexual contact.
Elder Neglect in Alabama
Elder neglect can be just as damaging as elder abuse. Neglect can manifest in many forms, including:
- Not keeping the resident well-fed and hydrated
- Leaving a resident unattended in bed for long periods, resulting in bed sores
- Lack of supervision or support leading to frequent slip and fall injuries
- Not administering or incorrectly administering patient medication
- Failure to help resident maintain good hygiene
- Improper or illegal hiring practices that lead to unqualified employees
How Can an Alabama Nursing Home Neglect Attorney Help?
Nursing home abuse and neglect is a crime, one that should be reported and investigated by local law enforcement. Unfortunately, while reporting abuse may lead to an arrest and conviction of the perpetrator, nursing home abuse victims and their families are often left to deal with the devastation on their own.
With the help of an Alabama nursing home neglect attorney, you and your family can obtain financial compensation after suffering from elder abuse. Although no amount of money can undo the trauma inflicted by abuse, a personal injury settlement may contribute to necessary medical care, future long-term care arrangements, and in cases of wrongful death, funeral expenses.
To find out if pursuing a claim is right for you, contact Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys to schedule a free, no obligation consultation. Our nursing home abuse lawyer will review your case and go over all your legal options at no cost to you. And, should you decide to work with us, you won’t pay anything unless we make a recovery on your behalf.