Stopping Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes

How can I tell if my loved one has been abused or neglected in their nursing home?

Nursing home neglect or abuse can be difficult to detect, as it is frequently intentionally hidden by caregivers.  One of the best things you can do for your relative is be aware of their environment and look for changes in behavior or physical condition.  Watch for changes in your loved one’s mood, like withdrawing from you or being depressed.  Also, look for signs of physical abuse such a bruises, cuts, sores and infections.  Of course an elderly person’s body can be more susceptible to injuries, but ask your relative how the injury occurred.  Also, ask nursing home workers for explanations and documentation of what occurred, followup treatment, and steps taken to prevent future injuries.

How do I know if bedsores, falls or other injuries are due to neglect?

Especially with an elderly or frail person, any injury needs prompt medical attention to make sure it does not get worse.  The cause of injuries are best determined by a  medical professional and an experienced attorney who works frequently with elder abuse victims.  Bedsores, which are typically preventable, are a classic sign of neglect and should be addressed immediately.  Falls are a sign of lack of proper supervision or neglect.  Other forms of abuse might include abandonment, physical, emotional, sexual or financial.

If I think my loved one has neglected or abused, what should I do?

Your first priority is to contact proper authorities.  If there is immediate danger, call 9-1-1 or  local police.  To report suspected elder abuse, in Oklahoma call 1-800-522-3511.  Also, report the abuse or neglect to nursing home supervisors and the facility management to ensure the abuse or neglect is stopped immediately.  Your second step is to contact an attorney to learn your legal rights.  A law suit against the abuser or responsible parties typically provides detailed information about the abuse or neglect that is otherwise unavailable.

If my loved one cannot communicate very well, will we automatically lose the case?

Not at all.  In many instances, an elderly individual who has been hurt is not able to talk about what happened.  The emotional trauma can be too difficult.  However, even if the victim cannot communicate, abuse or neglect can still be proven.

How can I protect my loved one while we are involved in a case against the nursing home?

This is an excellent question.  You certainly don’t want the abuser to take out their anger on your loved one, but you absolutely cannot fail to report the incidents.  Plus, other residents who might not have caring family nearby could also be suffering.  An attorney who works with nursing home abuse victims can help you decide the next steps, as well as provide information on resources that might be able to help.

What if I can’t afford an attorney but I think my loved one has been neglected or abused?

You should talk with an attorney who works on a contingency basis.  This means that the attorney will get paid only if you win the case, and the attorney’s payment comes out of the money awarded in the case.  Basically, no money out of your pocket up front, and no fees that you personally have to pay as the case moves forward.

Can I sue on behalf of my loved one even if he or she has passed away?

Absolutely, you can sue on behalf of a deceased person.  In addition to receiving a monetary judgement, you can help change the behavior of an abuser so they can never hurt another elderly person in their care.

What is typically awarded in nursing home injury law cases?

The award depends upon what has happened in the case.  How long has the abuse been occuring?  Is there a pattern of abuse at the facility?  How severe are the injuries?  Your attorney may try to have the abuser punished, and typically the victim or family receives monetary compensation.

Carr & Carr lawyers work for victims of nursing home abuse and their families.  For nearly 40 years, our nusing home attorneys have helped Oklahoma families who have been traumatized by abuse or neglect.

If you’d like to talk about your family’s situation, contact our Oklahoma nursing home attorneys with offices in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa.  There is no cost for your initial visit.  If you live outside of Tulsa or Oklahoma City, a lawyer will travel to meet you at a convenient location.

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