The reasons behind nursing home abuse are not well understood, but researchers have identified “risk factors” among nursing home residents. Residents are vulnerable to abuse because they are dependent on nursing home staff and, in many cases, suffer from illnesses or infirmities that make them unable to escape or report their abusers.
The demands of caring for the sick and elderly are stressful and escalate as a patient’s condition deteriorates. Nursing home staff members who lack training, have too many responsibilities, are unsuited for the work, or work under poor conditions may be prone to abusing or neglecting patients.
Regardless of the difficulties, nursing homes are in business to care for the elderly and infirm and have a legal obligation to ensure their safety. Those that employ staff who are not suited to the work or fail to train them may be held liable when residents are harmed.
Joye Law Firm wants to help if your loved one has been abused, neglected or otherwise injured in a South Carolina nursing home or similar long-term care facility.
Call Joye Law Firm now or fill out our online contact form for a free review of your situation and advice about your legal rights.
Nursing Home Residents are Vulnerable to Abuse
Nursing home residents are among society’s most vulnerable individuals. They can be easy targets for abuse and neglect. It is often hard for them to speak up about mistreatment, either because they are too ill or because they are embarrassed. They may be afraid of retribution if they report abuse or they may not want to get someone who they consider a friend in trouble.
In most cases it is staff members who inflict the abuse, although some abuse in nursing homes is between residents. Staff tend to prey upon vulnerable people who have been entrusted to their care.
The question of why nursing home abuse occurs is a troubling one. Many cite the stress of working with elderly patients who will eventually die instead of getting better and who, in some cases because of their illness, are uncooperative or hostile.
Stressed care givers may believe they are not being paid enough. They may take out their frustration on residents in the form of abuse. They can become depressed and simply neglect the care that residents in the nursing home require.
In some cases, nursing homes claim the crowded conditions overwhelm the staff, leading to neglect or frustration that results in abuse.
Federal guidelines for receiving Medicare and Medicaid funds, which nursing homes depend on, require long-term care facilities to:
- Have sufficient nursing staff to provide nursing and related services
- Develop a comprehensive care plan specific to each resident
- Promote care for residents in a manner and environment that maintains or enhances each resident’s dignity.
Abuse and neglect of nursing home patients is never excusable. A facility that has too little staff or that hires staff members unsuited to the work may be held liable if residents are unjustly harmed. This includes homes that hire workers despite backgrounds that include criminal or sexual assault, substance abuse, theft or other problems that management knew about or should have known about.
Putting a Stop to Nursing Home Abuse
One of the most effective ways to help nursing home residents who are being abused or neglected is to take legal action. Even just hearing from a lawyer working on behalf of a nursing home resident may discourage the continued violation of the resident’s rights.
An experienced nursing home abuse lawyer can also help a family deal with the emotional and financial issues of a loved one’s abuse. Joye Law Firm’s attorneys can press a South Carolina nursing home or other long-term care facility for restitution for a resident’s losses, as well as for pain and suffering.
We work to help families like yours, and we have a track record of success across South Carolina. We won’t let a nursing home manager’s excuses keep us from working to ensure that all of the losses that you or your loved one has suffered are remedied.
Call Joye Law Firm now or contact us through our online form for a free initial evaluation of your case.
- National Institutes of Health – Elder Mistreatment: Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation in an Aging America
- HelpGuide.org – Elder Abuse & Neglect: Warning Signs, Risk Factors, Prevention, and Reporting Abuse
- National Center on Elder Abuse – Types of Abuse