The natural progression of aging causes many Nebraskans to reach a point where it is no longer safe or practical to live on their own. Even while their minds remain sharp, many elderly people experience a decline in their physical health that interferes with their ability to care for themselves. Others, of course, suffer the cognitive declines that accompany dementia and other late-life conditions. When a family member cannot care for an elderly parent or grandparent, many Nebraskans turn to a nursing home to provide that elderly loved one with a safe residential setting.
Nursing homes are supposed to keep our loved ones safe at an especially vulnerable time in their lives. Residents of nursing homes depend on the staff to administer medications, to provide first response care in the event of a fall or other emergency, and to foster a supportive, healthy community that allows for stimulation of the mind and exercise for the body.
Unfortunately, that does not always happen, and you might need one of The Robert Pahlke Law Group’s Nebraska personal injury lawyers to file a personal injury claim for you or on behalf of your loved one.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Nebraska
The sad truth is that residents of Nebraska nursing homes sometimes fall victim to abusive and neglectful conduct on the part of nursing home staff, management, and fellow residents.
No one living at a nursing facility should ever suffer physical, verbal, and mental abuse, but it happens. Nursing home staff and other residents have been known to strike vulnerable seniors, to sexually assault them, yell at them, intimidate them, and manipulate them. Some seniors fall victim to abusive tactics such as punitive isolation, being denied food or meals, or intentional isolation from family and friends.
What to look for: Though older people are prone to falls and may take medication that makes them susceptible to injury, signs of abuse include unexplained bruising or broken bones, sudden isolation, and fear of particular staff members.
There have been many documented cases of neglect in nursing homes. Neglect can take many forms, including residents confined to their rooms or simply left to their own devices without being checked on; residents not receiving regular meals or appropriate nutrition; and residents not getting the help they need to bathe or use the restroom.
What to look for: Loss of weight, verbal complaints about not being given food or medicine, and conditions of the elder’s room might indicate signs of neglect. Bed sores, cleanliness of the facilities, urine and feces, personal hygiene, poor conditions of clothes/bedding.
A Note About Falls
Falls represent a serious risk for elderly Nebraskans. Nursing home facilities are not only built to specifications for people with special needs and physical disabilities, they are also supposed to be up to code when it comes to protecting their residents from preventable falls.
Always take news of a loved one’s fall at a nursing home seriously. It simply should not happen, and if it does, then there is a strong possibility someone failed to deliver the standard of care your elderly family member deserved.
Most nursing homes provide some level of medical care for their residents. This places an obligation on those facilities to provide that care in a safe and appropriate manner. Medical errors and lapses that can lead to serious health complications for a nursing home resident include:
- Incorrect medication
- Unauthorized release of medical information
- Incorrect dosing
- Excessive sedation
- Underdosing for pain
- Purposeful lethal overdose
What to look for: Be mindful of medications, especially how the person behaves while on or off the medication. Also, be an advocate with your loved one’s personal physician about any suspected red flags you might have about their nursing home care. If a provider at a nursing home cannot give straight answers to seemingly simple questions about your loved one’s medical care, then that is a warning sign of potential abuse or neglect that could amount to medical malpractice.
What Can I Do?
If you suspect a loved one who resides in a Nebraska nursing home has fallen victim to abuse or neglect, consider taking the following steps:
- Document your concerns. Take pictures with your camera phone, record statements made by the possible victims. Listen to what they have to say about their treatment. In many cases, abuse is indicated by something that just doesn’t “feel” right. Put yourself in the nursing home resident’s shoes and ask yourself if something sounds like you would allow it to happen to you or not. If not, it could be abuse or neglect.
- Get copies of medical information, accident reports, and keep these organized. This is serious. Acts of abuse or neglect from nursing home facilities and/or staff have resulted in death or injury.
- In urgent cases, notify law enforcement or the local department of Human Services. Just like with children in abuse/neglect cases, elderly Nebraskans are also protected by local law and your identity will be protected in reporting suspected abuse.
- Contact an attorney as soon as you can. Often, the statutes of limitations on nursing home abuse are very short. You have no time to lose in protecting your loved one’s safety and legal rights.
Always place the safety of your loved one above all other considerations. If you are confident, however, that your loved one is not in immediate danger in a nursing home, then we strongly encourage you to seek the counsel of an experienced Nebraska nursing home abuse and neglect attorney, to help you sort through your options and to take the most appropriate steps for your and your loved one’s circumstances.
Why Call Our Nebraska Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys?
At the Robert Pahlke Law Group, our experienced attorneys have the know-how and resources to protect your loved one from nursing home abuse and neglect. Our team understands the complex web of laws and regulations that govern the conduct of Nebraska nursing homes. We have a track record of helping families confront the unthinkable, get their loved one out of harm’s way, and seek compensation from wrongdoers. Moreover, calling us can empower you and your loved ones to take back the rights that someone else took from you, and the damages they inflicted on you.
We also understand how difficult it can seem to raise concerns about the treatment of a loved one in a nursing home. Our advice in that respect is simple: Trust your gut, and come talk to us. An initial consultation with an attorney is free of charge. Contact us today or dial (308) 633-4444 and start protecting the rights and quality of life of your loved one.