It can be heartbreaking to put your parents, grandparents, or other loved ones into a nursing home. However, if you cannot provide the care they need, a senior living facility may be your only option.
If you find yourself in that situation, finding the right facility is a must. Searching for a place that fits your standards while also matching your budget is time-consuming and emotionally taxing. Finally finding the right place will come as a great relief.
It is important to realize that the staff at most nursing homes have dozens of other patients to look after. Quite simply, the needs of your loved one may not come first in every situation.
While this is normal, in very rare circumstances it can go well beyond the norm. If the staff at the nursing home is neglecting, or even abusing, your loved one, you have options to file a nursing home neglect claim.
What Is Nursing Home Neglect?
Nursing homes have a duty to fulfill the needs of all of their patients and residents. If they are neglecting those duties, they could be sued for breaching their contract or duties. Nursing home neglect can include:
- Neglect of Basic Needs: including food, water, and a safe environment
- Neglect of Emotional and Social Needs: if a senior is left alone in his or her room for a lengthy period or emotionally abused by a caretaker
- Personal Hygiene Neglect: if staff neglects to properly bathe a senior, brush his or her teeth, do laundry, etc.
- Neglect of Medical Needs: failing to administer proper healthcare to a senior that puts his or her life at risk
What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Neglect?
Obviously, you can’t be with your loved one every hour of the day. But, if you visit often and notice the following signs, you may need to take action:
- Unusual change in behavior
- Unusual change in hygiene or appearance
- Rapid weight loss or gain
- Signs of injury, including bruising or black eyes
- Hazards throughout the building (slippery floors, unsafe equipment or furniture, broken lighting, utilities that have not been fixed)
- Unfriendly or rude interactions with residents or staff
What Can You Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Neglect?
If you suspect your loved one is a victim of nursing home neglect, you have some options to report the situation. Neglect, rather than abuse, is typically not as serious, but if long-term neglect has put your loved one in an emergency situation, you should contact the local police immediately.
If you can remove or transfer your loved one from the nursing home in question you should also do so immediately. Nursing home neglect claims may reimburse the potential costs of breaking your contract and the move itself.
To report incidents of abuse in New York, there are multiple hotlines you can call, depending on the situation that you want to report. Numbers are available for:
- Suspected elder mistreatment in nursing home facilities: 888-201-4563
- Complaints about an assisted living facility: 866-893-6772
Also, complaints can be filed online through the New York State Department of Health. Once the Department of Health has received the complaint, they will look over the complaint and begin an investigation on the nursing home.
If action needs to be taken against the nursing home, the state may issue them a citation, and they could also face criminal charges.
If Charges Are Filed
Even if nursing home employees did not violently abuse your loved one, neglect is still grounds for criminal charges. In New York, a nursing home facility can be charged with:
- Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person
- Willful Violation of the Public Health Law
- Endangering the Welfare of a Vulnerable Elderly Person
A conviction may come with a variety of penalties, including the suspension or resignation of staff involved in the negligence, or citations against the facility. Additionally, restitutions are available to seniors or their family members if the abuse or neglect affected them as well.
Don’t Wait – Call Now
If you suspect nursing home neglect, abuse, or exploitation, take action now. Neglect, if continued, will only harm your loved one further. Before you call the proper authorities, however, have a representative on hand. An experienced personal injury lawyer can guide you through the process of filing a complaint and achieve the justice you deserve for your loved one’s suffering.