Nursing Homes Overprescribing Drugs to Silence and Subdue Patients

Elder abuse is a disturbing reality that many seniors face, often silently and out of public view. One particularly alarming form of elder abuse taking place in nursing homes across the country is the overprescription of antipsychotic drugs and sedatives to keep residents docile and easier to manage. We’ll take a closer look at this pandemic in this article.

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What the Research Shows

Multiple studies have shown that nursing homes frequently administer antipsychotic medications to residents even when they do not have a medically valid psychiatric diagnosis warranting such drugs. A recent government report found that 80% of seniors on Medicare were prescribed antipsychotic medication, despite only around 5% of the senior population having a diagnosis of psychosis. That’s roughly a million patients a year.

Clearly, a significant portion are being prescribed these powerful drugs inappropriately. Antipsychotics such as Risperdal, Seroquel, and Zyprexa are often used “off-label” in nursing homes as a chemical restraint to suppress agitation and unwanted behavior. Sedatives like Ativan and Valium are also used excessively to keep seniors sleepy and less prone to complain or cause trouble.

The Dangers of Overmedication

This pervasive practice of overprescribing antipsychotics and sedatives puts seniors at serious risk. Antipsychotic drugs in particular have many hazardous side effects in the elderly, including:

  • Increased risk of stroke, heart failure, and sudden cardiac death. One study found seniors taking antipsychotics had a higher risk of sudden death compared to the general elderly population.
  • Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms such as tremors, muscle rigidity, and shuffling gait. These irreversible movement disorders can leave seniors severely disabled.
  • Confusion, disorientation, loss of balance and falls. Falls are the leading cause of injury deaths among the elderly. Sedated seniors are especially prone to losing balance and cognitive awareness.
  • Extreme sedation, unresponsiveness. Excessive doses can leave seniors in a zombie-like state, unable to interact or communicate. This infringes on their basic human dignity.
  • Blood clots and pneumonia. Immobility from sedation increases seniors’ vulnerability to dangerous clots and respiratory infections.

The FDA even put out a black box warning – their most serious type of warning – about the dangers of using antipsychotics to treat dementia-related behavior in the elderly. Yet nursing homes continue to administer these drugs inappropriately at alarming rates.

Likewise, sedatives such as Valium and Ativan can cause excessive drowsiness, breathing difficulties, poor concentration and falls. While they may keep a senior subdued, overuse puts them at risk of injury and can exacerbate cognitive decline.

Motivations Behind Overprescribing

So, why do nursing homes continue to drug seniors at such high rates? Simply put, it makes life easier for the staff. Keeping residents in a constant sedated state suppresses agitation, wandering, calling out and other difficult behaviors. It also reduces complaints and demands on caregivers.

With limited staffing at many facilities, keeping seniors docile and quiet with medication is an easy way to maintain order and lighten workloads. However, it shows an appalling lack of concern for residents’ dignity, autonomy and well-being.

Nursing home doctors also often get pressured by staff to prescribe sedatives and chemical restraints. And many physicians just comply, seeing it as simpler than taking time to investigate reasons behind a resident’s difficult behaviors.

Consulting pharmacists who oversee prescriptions play a role too, by lacking due diligence. With minimal oversight, the path of least resistance becomes dosing seniors into submission.

The Human Toll

Beyond just heightened medical risks, excessive sedation robs seniors of their vitality and human dignity in final years. Heavily drugged seniors may stare blankly for hours, rendered speechless and disconnected. Their quality of life is profoundly diminished.

Overmedicated residents get reduced opportunities to participate in activities, interact socially, and partake in therapies. Isolation and lack of stimulation only worsens their cognitive decline. Seniors under chemical restraints are relegated to just exist, not truly live.

For family members, seeing their once lively loved one turned into a passive shadow of themselves by inappropriate medications can be devastating. But voicing concerns often falls on deaf ears, with staff insisting the drugs are “for their own good.”

Recent Efforts to Curb Overmedication

After years of alarming findings on overmedication, regulators are finally taking some action to protect nursing home residents:

  • Medicare and Medicaid have instituted penalties and sanctions for facilities that overprescribe antipsychotics and sedatives. Fiscal penalties give administrators financial incentive to reassess regimens.
  • Unannounced inspections are being increased to check for inappropriate drugging, inadequate consent procedures, and failures to adequately monitor side effects. Facilities can have their licensure revoked if they are found to be non-compliant.
  • Mandatory staff education on proper prescribing and behavioral interventions provides methods beyond medications to handle challenging behaviors in dementia patients.

While a good start, continued advocacy is needed to truly stamp out the persistent issue of prescribed chemical restraints in nursing homes. Progress is being made, but the pace of change remains slow.

Reporting Overmedication and Seeking Justice

If you suspect your loved one is being overmedicated in a nursing home, report it to the facility administrator and your family physician immediately. Get unexplained medication regimens changed or halted. Consult an elder care attorney, as you may have grounds for a lawsuit if overmedication caused your loved one harm.

It is elder abuse to drug seniors unnecessarily to make them easier to deal with. Don’t let profit-driven facilities get away with jeopardizing residents’ health and infringing on their basic rights. Justice should be served.

Take Action Against Elder Abuse

Here at The Brown Firm, we are committed advocates for nursing home residents and elders. If your loved one has suffered injury, deterioration or loss of dignity due to overmedication or any form of elder abuse, contact us. We have a proven track record of taking on nursing homes and securing justice for victims and their families. Every senior deserves to live out their golden years with safety and dignity.

You can visit our offices at:

  • 7176 Hodgson Memorial Drive, Savannah, GA 31405 
  • 320 East Clayton Street, Athens, GA 30601 
  • 197 14th St. NW, Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30318 
  • 110 Traders Cross #226, Okatie, SC 29909 

Or call now for a free consultation on (800) 529-1441.

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Schedule your free consultation by calling (800) 529-1441 or completing our simple online form.

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What Constitutes Neglect in a Nursing Home?

An issue that doesn’t get enough attention in this country is elder abuse.

According to the Centers For Disease Control, more than 500,000 older adults over the age of 60 are neglected each year.

And those numbers are probably low because a majority of cases likely go unreported.

Nursing home neglect is a tragic but common problem in the United States.

It occurs if a nursing home doesn’t provide proper care to its residents which results in physical or mental health problems.

Fortunately, many nursing homes treat their residents with the respect they deserve and provide excellent care.

But sadly, not all nursing homes do.

Failure to meet the needs of a nursing home resident is neglect, and it is never acceptable.

In the article below, we will examine what constitutes nursing home neglect and how to find the best nursing home abuse lawyer. 

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What Are The Types of Nursing Home Neglect?

To put it simply, neglect occurs when a caretaker fails to provide the necessary care to an older adult.

Nursing home neglect can be broken down into 4 categories:

  • Medical Neglect: Medical neglect occurs when the nursing home staff fails to attend to or prevent the medical concerns of a resident. This can result in residents receiving inadequate diabetic care, bedsores, infections, mobility issues, and a plethora of other medical problems.
  • Neglecting Basic Needs: Another type of neglect is when a nursing home’s staff fails to provide residents with their most basic needs. This can include a lack of water, food, or a clean, safe environment.
  • Neglecting Personal Hygiene: Neglecting personal hygiene is when a nursing home fails to help residents with bathing, dental care, laundry, and other sanitary needs.
  • Neglecting Social or Emotional Needs: This occurs when the nursing home staff ignores their residents, leaving them alone too long, or fails to provide them with the needed social and emotional care.
Nursing home worker abusing an elderly woman

What Are The Signs of Nursing Home Neglect?

It can sometimes be tough to notice the signs of nursing home neglect.

It isn’t always as easy as spotting an injury because, depending on the type of neglect, there might not be any physical signs of neglect.

Neglect can take many forms, and unfortunately, many don’t have obvious warning signs.

Also, if elderly patients don’t live close to family or see their family regularly, it can be hard to spot behavioral differences.

Behavioral differences and signs of poor health are best identified when nursing home residents live close to family, friends, or loved ones.

Common signs of nursing home neglect to look out for are:

  • Unexplained weight loss and/or malnutrition
  • Bed Sores
  • Any unexplained injury
  • Dehydration
  • Withdrawn behavior
  • Unusual changes in behavior
  • Changes in personal hygiene or appearance
  • A lack of necessary medical treatments
  • No friendly interaction with the nursing home staff
  • A lack of interaction with the other elderly residents
  • Poor sanitary conditions
  • Environmental hazards like poor lighting, slippery floors, or unsafe furniture
  • Complaints from your loved one about the long-term care facility

What Causes Nursing Home Neglect?

The causes of nursing home neglect will vary depending on the situation, but many cases of neglect are due to inadequate staffing.

Caregivers stretched too thin or overworked are more likely to make mistakes and may not be able to provide the quality of care needed to keep residents healthy and happy.

Caregivers may receive improper training or be assigned too much to do throughout the day.

A lack of training and too much to do throughout the day is bound to lead to mistakes.

 Some nursing homes may not be able to vet who they hire or hire without running background checks.

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Who is Legally Liable for Nursing Home Neglect?

If an elderly person is neglected in a nursing home and doesn’t receive proper medical care or endures physical abuse or emotional abuse, the nursing home can be held liable if any of the following played a part in the neglect:

  • negligent hiring
  • breach of statutory or regulatory obligations
  • medication errors
  • understaffing
  • inadequate training

The facility is also “vicariously liable” for the negligent acts of its employees, including most actions taken in the course and scope of the caregiver’s job responsibilities.

Nursing homes will sometimes hire contractors or outsource various tasks to third parties, and those third parties can be liable for abuse or neglect of an elderly person.

What Should I Do If I Suspect Elder Abuse Or Neglect?

If you are an elderly person dealing with neglect, or you suspect someone you know or love is a victim of elderly nursing home abuse, you should immediately call the police or Adult Protective Services.

There is no burden of proof just to make a report.

Visit the National Center on Elder Abuse “Reporting Abuse” resource page to get started.

If you have any reason to suspect that there are problems in a nursing home, or you are worried about an unsafe condition, your state’s long-term care, call the U.S. Administration on Aging at 800.677.1116 or visit www.eldercare.gov.

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Preventing Neglect

There are several ways to protect your loved ones from nursing home neglect.

First, carefully review all the nursing home facilities before making a decision.

If you’re considering a nursing home for a loved one you need to look for signs of improper nursing home care.

Look for things like understaffing and unsanitary living conditions.

And don’t always count on price, appearance, and online ratings guarantee quality care.

Once you’ve decided on a nursing home, you should visit often.

Frequently visiting your loved ones will make it easier to see signs of poor care.

Things like poor hygiene, malnutrition, and behavioral changes will be easy to spot if you make routine visits.

If you can’t visit often, keep in touch through phone calls or other methods.

Simply knowing the warning signs of nursing home abuse and neglect can help spot problems early on.

Another common mistake many people make when dealing with their elders is dismissing what they say.

Never dismiss an older adult who complains of neglect.

Refusing to listen to a loved one may keep them from telling you about potential problems in the future and lead to more neglect.

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What Should You Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse?

When you’ve made the tough decision to place a loved one in a nursing home, you expect them to receive quality care.

That’s what nursing homes are for, after all.

They are there to provide your loved one with a level of care that you are unable to.

Fortunately, most nursing homes do this and provide excellent care to all of their residents.

But, if you ever suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, you need to take action right away.

In the article below, we will talk about what you should do if you notice signs of abuse and how to find the top nursing home abuse lawyer

 

I met with Harry Brown personally and he sat with me for 20 minutes at our initial consultation to explain everything. He even called after my surgery to see how I was doing. I met with him several more times after that and was kept informed about my case throughout. I highly recommend Harry Brown as an attorney.

STEVEN SWEENY, SAVANNAH 

Recognize The Signs

First, you need to be able to recognize the signs because nursing home abuse can be hard to spot, but can have a big impact on their lives.

Some signs of nursing home abuse include:

  • Bedsores
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Problems with medication
  • The unwillingness of staff to let you access your loved one without prior notice
  • Suspicious financial transactions
  • A new or unexplained injury or change in their behavior
Care Worker Mistreating Elderly Man

Document What Happened

Once you have reason to believe your loved one has been neglected or abused, you need to gather information to support your belief.

Write down exactly what you’ve noticed, the location of the abuse or neglect, and the date and time you noticed the incident.

You also need to take photos of the injuries or conditions that are causing your concern gather medical records and speak to other residents or trustworthy caregivers if possible.

The signs you’re noticing might be the result of something else.

This is also the time to raise your concerns with the nursing home.

Question the Nursing Home Staff

Hopefully, your suspicions are wrong, and there’s just been a misunderstanding.

You need to be willing to hear the staff’s side of the story before taking further action.

If they can’t or won’t explain the situation to your liking, you can start looking into more formal action.

The nursing home staff should be more than willing and able to explain any situation you see as possible neglect, whether it involves your loved one or not.

Nursing home worker abusing an elderly woman

Report Emergencies

If the suspected neglect you’ve observed is an emergency, call 911 right away to ensure that your loved one gets the immediate treatment or care that they need.

This ensures your loved one’s health is taken care of, and it gets law enforcement involved as they can witness the situation first- hand.

It is important to report any alleged abuse done to any of the nursing home residents so that a full investigation can be done.

You won’t be liable if you make your report in good faith, even if it turns out that no harm has been done.

Speak With Your Loved One

The first thing you should do is speak to your loved one privately if you’re able to.

If you aren’t allowed to speak to them, you need to take further action right away and seek the advice of an attorney with knowledge of nursing home abuse and neglect.

If neglect has occurred, your loved one might be hesitant to speak out about abuse to their family for several reasons, ranging from fear of further neglect to simply not wanting to worry you.

Remove Your Loved One

If your concerns are substantiated and the nursing home doesn’t take action to address the issue, remove your loved one from their care immediately and place them in a facility that can provide them with the care they deserve.

You also want to get your loved one somewhere safe before deciding to report the incident or file a claim.

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Speak With an Attorney

If neglect or abuse is all but obvious, you need to seek legal action and speak with an attorney who has experience representing nursing home abuse victims.

Lawsuits that allege nursing home harm or neglect must be brought within that state’s statute of limitations to avoid being barred.

Because you will be on a deadline, it’s important that if abuse is suspected, you contact an experienced attorney right away.

Most nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys offer a free consultation where they will be able to evaluate and better investigate your claim.

If your claim is substantiated, they will help you seek proper compensation for the resident who was abused.

If the facility decides to settle your case to preserve confidentiality, your lawyer will ensure that the settlement you are offered is sufficient.

Even though the vast majority settle outside of court, your case is unique, and the outcome of your case will depend on the circumstances surrounding your accident.

It will also depend on the skill and experience of your chosen personal injury attorney.

Some cases will settle long before a jury trial is ever considered, and others can settle just before a trial is set to take place.

Whether or not your case goes to trial is determined by the willingness of the insurance company to offer you a fair settlement after your slip and fall accident.

Contact The Brown Firm 

If you suspect nursing home abuse, you need to act quickly.

If you believe your loved one is being abused or insufficiently cared for, take action as soon as you can.

Reporting abuse and neglect is the only way to end the behavior, especially if your loved one can’t is unable to speak for themselves.

When you contact a lawyer, you are reinforcing the seriousness of the behavior.

This will often ensure that swift corrective action is taken.

Your actions improve the quality of life for your loved one and the residents of the facility. 

If you suspect that a loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse, schedule a free consultation with The Brown Firm so they can help you with your case.

There is never any cost or obligation for us to evaluate your case, and we work on a contingency fee basis. You don’t pay unless we win your settlement.

To schedule your free consultation, click the button below.

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Schedule your free consultation by calling (912) 324-2498 or completing our simple online form.

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If you or a loved one were injured and need help, our skilled personal injury lawyers will be at your side every step of the way.

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Protecting Your Loved Ones From Elder Abuse in Atlanta

This is one of those topics that you wish you didn’t have to talk about.

Something that shouldn’t be an issue.

However, no matter how much we wished it didn’t exist, it does.

Elder abuse.

This is something our parents and grandparents shouldn’t have to worry about as they enter the last stage of life.

We can help. We can look for signs of abuse, and we can do everything in our power to prevent it.

Maybe you’re still finding it hard to believe that people abuse the elderly.

It is unbelievable trying to comprehend nursing home abuse and other forms of abuse against the elderly.

However, according to the American Psychological Association, 2 million seniors are the victim of some form of abuse every year.

To make things worse, it’s estimated that for every case of abuse that is reported, there are five more that aren’t.

So that means there are well over 2 million seniors that are victims of abuse every year.

What can we do?

How can we put a stop to all of this?

We’ll discuss that and the different forms of abuse below.

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STEVEN SWEENY, SAVANNAH 

Paying Attention to the Types and Signs of Elder Abuse

Abuse can take many different forms. The abuse typically falls into one of the following categories: physical, mental, financial or sexual.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is the use of force to cause pain or injury to a person.

It can range from severe beatings to pinching and pushing, and everything in between.

Physical abuse can also be unintentional. Someone might be trying to help the victim, but end up hurting them instead.

The misuse of medications and restraints is also a form of physical abuse.

Mental Abuse

Mental abuse is typically verbal and can inflict as much damage to the victim as physical abuse.

Name calling and intimidation or common types of mental abuse.

Cursing, yelling, and insults are also abusive and can cause significant damage to the elderly.

Treating the victim as a child or being isolated through threats can also make them feel mentally abused.

Financial Abuse

Fraud, forgery, forced property transfers, and making purchases with the victims money without there consent are all examples of financial abuse.

Some forms of solicitation can also be financial abuse.

Salespeople and even friends or family can scam the elderly into overpaying for services they need or to pay for services they don’t need at all.

Sexual Abuse

This is the rarest form of abuse but is also likely the least reported form of abuse.

It often happens behind closed doors, making it harder to detect.

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Types of Neglect to Look Out For

Caregiver Neglect

If you aren’t capable of providing the care your loved one needs on your own, then you need to be sure to find a good caregiver.

The caregiver is left with the responsibility of providing all the basic needs for your loved one.

This can, unfortunately, lead to neglect, whether it’s intentional or unintentional.

Failure to provide food, water, clothing, and shelter are all forms of neglect.

Forgetting to, or purposefully refusing to give medications when they’re needed is neglect.

Some caregivers are also left in charge of the elderly’s finances and paying their bills.

If the bills aren’t paid and the finances are misused or used irresponsibly, this is a form of neglect and financial abuse.

Self Neglect

Often the abuse and neglect come from other people. However, self-neglect is still an issue among the elderly.

They might choose not to eat, not to go to the doctor, or take care of their hygiene.

They may also try to overdose or misuse their medications.

While neglect and abuse are much more common from outside forces, it’s still important to keep an eye out for self-neglect.

If you suspect your loved one is practicing self-neglect, please step in right away before it’s too late.

Related Post: Was your Child Injured at School in Georgia? Here’s what to do.

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Preventing Elder Abuse

It’s imperative to be sure our loved ones are well taken care of in their golden years.

Since elderly abuse is real, we need to do all we can to eliminate it and keep it from happening.

The following steps are great ways to eliminate and reduce the abuse of the elderly.

Keep them close

If you have to send them to a nursing home or retirement community, do all you can to keep them close to you.

This will ensure you’re able to check on them on a regular basis.

It will also keep them from feeling lonely and isolated.

Stay In Contact

While it’s unlikely you’ll be able to visit every day, you can call every day.

You’ll be able to keep track of their interests and daily activities, and you’ll be able to offer help when they need it.

Building that relationship will make it much more likely for them to reach out to you for help when it’s needed.

You will also be able to spot abnormalities in their daily routine or their tone over the phone, signs that abuse or neglect is an issue.

Encourage Them To Stay Socially Active

Adults typically start to feel more isolated as the years go on. Encouraging them to participate in social events will go a long way to keep them active and engaged.

They’ll also build a community of friends that will be able to spot signs of neglect and abuse.

Having a strong network of friends and activities to attend will also help prevent self-neglect from occurring.

Educate Them About Any Scams

While we can all be targeted by scammers and solicitors, the elderly are much more likely to be taken advantage of.

Make sure they know what to look out for when someone calls them or approaches them offering them services.

If any scams have been reported in your area, make sure they know about them.

Keeping them educated and up to date is important to combat financial abuse.

Put Them In A Safe Environment

This one is pretty obvious. Never leave your loved one with someone that has a history of violent or destructive behavior.

It would be best if you kept the elderly away from abusive people at all costs.

The elderly are already more vulnerable than most, so they make for easy targets.

Again, pretty obvious, but worth repeating.

Exercise

They don’t need a membership down at the local gym, but they need to stay active.

Even going for a short walk every day will work wonders.

Staying active can prevent depression and make them less vulnerable to abuse.

Use Support Groups

Watching your loved ones decline with age is hard for everyone, especially if it involves putting them in a nursing home.

A quick search online will reveal several options for support groups available to you and your loved ones.

There are also support groups for the elderly that are explicitly designed to fight or prevent elder abuse.

Joining groups like these will make abuse less likely to go unnoticed.

Having a strong social circle makes abuse less likely to occur.

Ready to Talk to a Lawyer Who Has Your Back?

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Time To Make A Change

Although elderly abuse is very real, it shouldn’t be, and it doesn’t have to be.

Use the information above to spot and stop any abuse from occurring.

If you or a loved one is suffering from abuse, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the proper authorities.

Taking legal action is another great way to put an end to elder abuse.

Here you can contact our Atlanta Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys.

It shows the world that elder abuse isn’t going unnoticed or unpunished.

If you’re ready to talk to a lawyer in Georgia about elder abuse, the caring lawyers at The Brown Firm are standing by.

Just click the button below to schedule your free consultation.

 The Original Article Can Be Found Here

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You’ll notice the difference when you contact The Brown Firm! Our local dedicated attorneys want to help you recover and rebuild.

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If you or a loved one were injured and need help, our skilled personal injury lawyers will be at your side every step of the way.

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Comprehending Nursing Home Abuse

No one wishes for abuse.

Everyone desires safety, happiness, and contentment in life. But there are times when things go the opposite direction.

It is these destructive things which make someone suffer from maltreatment.

A lot of elders living in nursing homes experience abuse. It can be quite challenging to detect elderly abuse, especially when everything involved takes place at a residential care facility.

For reported cases of elderly maltreatment, about 5 of them go unreported. This is because victims tend to be too weak or scared to look for help.

There are various factors that lead to and define, elder abuse.

I met with Harry Brown personally and he sat with me for 20 minutes at our initial consultation to explain everything. He even called after my surgery to see how I was doing. I met with him several more times after that and was kept informed about my case throughout. I highly recommend Harry Brown as an attorney.

STEVEN SWEENY, SAVANNAH 

The Involvement of the Abuse

Despite the absolute necessity for anti-elder-abuse laws, some nursing homes still exist that don’t quite meet the anticipated standard.

Here are things you need to know in seeing the involvement of abuse in a nursing home where a lot may suffer:

1. Neglect

Neglect might be unintentional, but it without a doubt falls under the category of abuse.

Patients need proper care here such as food, water, clothing, and personal hygiene. Medical conditions often worsen when the patient is neglected.

These include skin infections, bed sores, dehydration, and even malnutrition.

2. Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is incredibly harmful to the overall well-being of elders.

Physical abuse includes actions such as intentionally hitting, punching, or kicking someone. This is not the extent of, however. It can also tie into neglect, like lack of physical care and treatment or the overuse of restraints.

3. Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is the unwanted sexual exploitation or attention. It includes how sexual attention is given to the patient who is powerless to say his or her wishes.

Usually, victims of sexual abuse are those who are suffering from dementia. They are specifically targeted because their disorder makes it hard for them to remember experiences.

4. Financial Exploitation

Financial exploitation occurs when the caregiver takes advantage in accessing the patient’s financial matters.

This also occurs when the person steals or compromises the patient’s financial status. With this, suspects are targeted for direct theft from banking accounts of the victim.

This also is seen with the suspect supplying credit by writing the name of the patient.

Even less criminally intended actions can fall under financial exploitation. For example, if a caregiver takes a client shopping and uses the client’s allotted money, yet uses their own rewards card to garner benefits, that is still financial exploitation.

5. Psychological Abuse

Although this is difficult to be identified, still, there are ways to know if a nursing home is psychologically abusing an elderly or not. This commonly includes yelling, humiliating, disgracing, and criticizing a patient.

Patients who are psychologically abused in the nursing home typically have abnormal behavior.

6. Resident to Resident Abuse

This kind of abuse happens when one resident is permitted to abuse another. This can be physical, sexual, and even psychological.

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Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

It is regrettable that elderly abuse is so prevalent. There are visible ways to see if a patient is being ill-treated in the nursing home.

Let’s revisit the types of nursing home abuse and identify some of the signs associated with each.

Neglect

The caregiver who is not providing the necessary care is considered neglect. Whether intentional or not, neglect is still cruelty.

Signs included are:

  • Bed Sores
  • Skin Rashes
  • Weight loss
  • Inconsistent sleep
  • Poor hygiene
  • Emotionally detached
  • Unattended injuries
  • Untreated infections
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unhygienic living conditions
  • Absence of medical aids
Physical Abuse

This abuse happens when the patient is injured or impaired intentionally. It includes striking or restraining the patient inappropriately which brings these following signs:

Nursing Home Abuse in Georgia

  • Depression
  • Withdrawal
  • Burn marks
  • Hair loss
  • Soiled clothing
  • Mucky bedding
  • Fearfulness of caregivers
  • Unexplained anxiety
  • Unsanitary environment
  • Mysterious injuries
  • Untreated wounds
  • Poor skin condition
  • Dehydration and malnutrition
  • Bruising, punctures, and lacerations
  • Hesitation to talk openly
  • Injuries in areas covered by clothing
  • Sprains and broken bones
Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse refers to sexual contact towards the victim that is non-consensual. It includes nudity, uninvited touching, and rape.

Signs include:

  • Torn undergarments
  • Overly aggressive behavior
  • Unexplained bleeding from the private part
  • Difficulty walking or sitting
  • Unexplained genital infections
  • Unfitting interactions between the culprit and the victim 
Financial Abuse

A lot of nursing home caregivers have used the elderly for the manipulation of their real property and bank accounts.

Signs include:

  • Missing possessions
  • Feeling of guilt
  • Unpaid bills and notices
  • Numerous revisions to estate plans
  • Suspicious signatures on the account
  • Signed legal documents which the victim cannot explain
  • New names added to the account
  • Confusion about financial arrangements
  • Transfer or withdrawals which the victim cannot explain
Psychological Abuse

This is the intentional infliction of pain, distress, and agony either a verbal or non-verbal conduct.

Signs of this abuse include:

  • Depression
  • Sleeping problems
  • Confusion or withdrawn
  • Being non-responsive
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased levels of stress
  • Unusual behavior such as biting and scratching

For more information regarding identifying elderly abuse, visit the National Institute of Justice.

The Right Thing to Do When Suspecting an Abuse

When a loved one is placed in a nursing home, you expect them to receive the utmost quality care. Abuse should not even have to be a second thought.

But there are unfortunate times where just the opposite occurs. When such action is done, particularly when you suspect abuse, it is important to do the right thing here.

Be Rational

When a loved one is inside a nursing home, and you are suspecting abuse, you have to remain calm.

Do not lose your temper.

What you must do here is to look for a resolution in a reasonable manner.

Speak to your loved one regarding the situation

When talking to your loved one, do it privately.

If the nursing home staff will not allow you to do this for some reasons, then that is already a sign that some abuse might be happening inside the home.

With this, reporting the alleged abuse or seeking advice through a dependable lawyer should be done.

Ask the nursing home staff and management questions

Questions are important.

There are times when what you see may not turn out to be exactly what you believe. It is important to hear out, not just the sentiment of your loved, one but to everyone who is working inside the facility as well.

As for your questions, when they cannot explain things properly or are not willing to do so, then a formal action is the best response here.

Take Notes

Taking down notes when talking to your loved one and caregivers inside the facility is useful.

This is a great help to see and know things clearly. Aside from that, you may also take photos and get names of those individuals who you are speaking to.

Furthermore, you may talk to other residents in the house to gather more information you need. Writing notes down will help your memory stay up to par and details clear as time passes.

If abuse is obvious, report to the police immediately

Whenever you have found clear evidence regarding any action of abuse in the nursing home, calling the police is one of the best things to do here.

Filing a complaint must be done first so be abrupt with it.

Find a lawyer

For someone who is being abused, protection is rightly entitled to them. A lawyer is helpful in solving the abuse case.

You must not allow yourself to wait for someone to do it for you. You have to be fast before those abusive caregivers turn to maltreat all the other residents in the facility.

For injured residents, they may not show or tell you things regarding the situation, but if they are showing enough signs that they are neglected or abused, then it would be best to call for help right away.

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If You Are Working At a Nursing Home

If you work at a nursing home and find residents are treated poorly, then you need to find help right away. Some of the actions you can take are:

  • Immediately protect the resident from further harm, abuse, and misappropriation
  • Conduct a thorough investigation
  • Document your investigation and findings
  • Report your findings to the right authority

The Work of Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

There are important things that should be done when litigating a case of abuse.

With a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in Georgia, they are responsible for:

  • Investigating and developing any cases focusing on the mistreatment of a particular nursing home and resident.
  • Obtain an extensive knowledge regarding the nursing care home industry.
  • Research and comprehend both financial and medical records.
  • Dealing with proper resources, such as expert witnesses.

The Different Phases of Abuse Litigation 

There are well-known phases concerning abuse litigation against a nursing home, and these include:

1. The Investigation

This is where medical records of the resident are set up and reviewed keenly.

The investigation focuses on the residents time spent in the facility along with years before residency.

Mostly, these medical records will run to around 2,000-5,000 pages as the researcher appeals for more vital information and details to understand. These pages all hold the record of the victim’s medical diagnosis, abbreviations, and even with their language.

But aside from focusing the patient’s medical record, the investigation process is also kept on track with researching the history of the facility such as their previous lawsuits and violations.

2. The Discovery

It is vital to have the lawyer understand the nursing home industry.

With this, reviewing more pages focusing on the facility’s staffing, operation, purchasing, personnel, and financial documents are completed.

This specific phase is where the pattern, procedure people, and guidelines are determined. The lawyer works with specific documents to gather successful information.

More than that, they also work with the operational evaluation, financial data analysis, and purchasing policies concerning the cruelty.

3. The Preparation

When it comes to the preparation of the trial, this is where the lawyer holds thousands of pages of documentation to support the faced case.

Also, expert witnesses and some other witnesses are in the court to help the victim. With the jurors, they can aid with the success of the case as to how they respond to presentations of the shown abuse.

4. The Trial

It can be difficult to accumulate a solid case involving nursing home abuse, but with the right lawyer and their strong background, resources, knowledge, and commitment, things will go the right way.

The process can be exhausting, but for the sake of the resident’s safety and peace of mind, it is undoubtedly worth it.

Related Post: The Easiest 6 Steps you Can Take to Prevent a Georgia Auto Accident

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Variables That May Affect the Case’s Process

Unfortunately, sometimes there are prosecution challenges met during the process.

Even with the shown phases of abuse litigation, there are still a few things to see here that may affect the case.

This will then bring up the process as to how quick it can be solved. Of course, cases are different, and the lawyer will work on a lot of tasks to help their victims succeed.

Here are some of the variables which lead to affecting the lawsuit’s process:

  1. The statute of limitations: This is a law that is passed by the legislative bodies in the standard system. It helps set the maximum time right after an event within knowing which legal proceedings can be introduced.
  2. Finding a professional: The expert will work with the case evaluation to define whether abuse or negligence occurs.
  3. Report of the professional: The chosen expert takes the job of reviewing all the gathered information. They also discuss any significant specifics of those report outcomes for the defendant.
  4. The discovery process: This includes questions, documents, as well as testimonies of parties, witnesses, and experts. This can last 9-18 months.
  5. The disbursement method: This may diverge on a case by case method. This method helps in knowing the amount of time in which the defendant should provide or submit payments. Whenever there are outstanding bills, the lawyer must take responsibility for paying off those before expending the money right to the client.

Choosing the Best Lawyer

The right lawyer is your best line of defense which is why you have to be extra careful with your option.

Here are tips you must see to bring yourself to a satisfying decision.

Start by searching online

Searching online is the very first step you have to work with when finding the right lawyer.

And of course, you can also do it by talking to some of your relatives and friends. When it comes to this specific research, you need to find out the following:

  • The lawyer’s location.
  • The lawyer’s background.
  • The focus of practice.

Investigate the lawyer’s experience

You have to find a lawyer who is well-experienced in his field.

You have to check out a good one by:

  • Looking for reviews: This requires you to look up for positive reviews about the lawyer. This helps you determine the specific professional who is holding the strongest reputation.
  • Revisiting their websites: Experience is important with the lawyer which is why you have to be extra particular with this. Revisiting their website can help in knowing his years of expertise in this field.
  • Examining the state’s bar website: It is vital to check out the state’s bar website to see if the attorney you want to hire acquires a disciplinary record there. Looking out for transgressions that are filed against them is considerable assistance as well.
  • Considering a personal referral: A personal referral is extra helpful, especially when someone has experienced working with this lawyer in the past.

Talk to the lawyer

You need to make phone calls. Of course, this is one of the best ways to know and learn more about the professional. You may contact the state bar association to ask for any consumer assistance.

When you are set and ready to talk to a candidate, be sure to prepare your questions first.

Be keen with your questions as this brings you to choose a professional who can handle the case outstandingly. As for your questions, better check the following:

  • The type of statute of limitations to the case.
  • Their experience in handling the same case in the past and how often they have gone to trial. Do not forget to include asking about the outcomes of their past cases too.
  • The carried insurance presented to the clients.
  • The length of time to when your case is expected to be resolved.
  • Their particular way of charging clients – either a contingency fee or an hourly rate.

Take care of your decision

When handling your decision, it is important to keep an eye on their qualities. Their characteristics will help you know about them to see if they can really handle your case properly.

Take into consideration:

  • Commitment: A good lawyer is someone who is committed to his work. He spends a magnanimous amount of time researching and studying the case to see effective measures to win it. Even when it comes to deadlines, he is always right on time to meet them.
  • Communicative: Both verbal and written communication is essential for a lawyer to master. This is crucial to have both parties understand each other. When it comes to questions, which clients are always concerned about, the lawyer will begin answering all of them. Accurate explanations are provided with whatever questions are asked.
  • Patient: It is ordinary for clients to ask lawyers an extensive amount of questions. A worthwhile lawyer is someone who is patient enough in dealing all those queries, no matter how many they are. They calmly explain everything to them, such as the case procedures.
  • Analytical: A professional lawyer should be holding impressive analytical skills. They have to be a master of logical approach as part of their duties.
  • Prepared: A good attorney is someone who is always prepared. No matter what day or what time it is, he should be available when clients want to talk to him. Also, he must possess the great ability to build a strong case in favor of their clients.
  • Tenacious: The best lawyer is the one who knows how to fight for his clients. He takes responsibility in representing his client’s interests. When trials are asked, such will bring himself into it without any excuses.

For additional resources on positive lawyer qualities, check out Top 5 Qualities of a Good Lawyer.

Overall Impact of Abuse

Older folks who suffer from abuse are holding a greater risk of death compared to those who are non-abused.

This is because victims may suffer from psychological suffering and increased levels of stress.

Victims may also be affected by the lowered perception of self-efficacy. Many of these battered individuals are also risking their health as their unwanted experiences inside the nursing home may cause a lot of problems such as anxiety, depression, digestive problems, chronic pain, joint problems, bone troubles, and cardiovascular diseases.

Help should be sought immediately when someone is maltreated and neglected. The elderly deserve to be cared for and treated respectfully.

If you are in Georgia and suspect nursing home abuse, make no hesitation in contacting our Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys in Atlanta and click the link below for a free consultation today.

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6 Fraudulent Scams Targeting Seniors

Senior citizens have often been exposed to physical, mental, emotional, relational, and financial forms of mistreatment on a daily basis.

In this blog, we describe 6 Fraudulent Scams that are specifically targeted at seniors, common ones nowadays utilize technology to gather information that can be used in harmful ways.

Since the older generation is not as “up-to-date,” on the latest technological advances, financial scams are becoming a more prominent form of abuse along with the easiest to pull off for many swindlers.

Monitoring our loved one’s actions while on-line may be a very effective way to stop them from being the next victim of financial exploitation.

Below are a few of the internet scams that the older internet user needs to be aware of so they are not deceived in handing over their retirement funds, financial security, or identity. Learn what to watch out for! 

Click here to access our article Who Should Pay My Medical Bills After A Georgia Automobile Accident?

I met with Harry Brown personally and he sat with me for 20 minutes at our initial consultation to explain everything. He even called after my surgery to see how I was doing. I met with him several more times after that and was kept informed about my case throughout. I highly recommend Harry Brown as an attorney.

STEVEN SWEENY, SAVANNAH 
Royal Flush Phishing Scams

Phishing scams still operate in the same way as when the original scammer sent a fraudulent email claiming to be the royalty in need of financial assistance. If you get an email in your inbox claiming to be a royalty member from a rich family, and they need you to send them financial help so that they can get the money that is rightfully theirs, they are trying to scam you.

If you send them hundreds or thousands of dollars or whatever they request from you, they claim in return will send you half their million-dollar fortune or inheritance. This is ALWAYS a scam. Don’t even waste your time responding, if you are going to do anything, forward them to the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov.

This type of scam also will claim you’ve won the lottery or a sweepstake to accomplish the same goal (scammers say you are a lucky winner of the lotto or drawing, but that you need to send money to cover the taxes before you can get paid……) But you’re not getting paid.

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Phishing For Banking Info Scams

Phishing scams are getting much smarter and more common. Have you ever received an email from your bank requesting you to update your user profile or user information? If you have, you may want to double-check that was really from your bank.

Phishers typically use email addresses that are off by one or two letters so a @keybank.com email address would say @keybonk.com, for example.

Then, when you click the link, rather than getting directed to your bank (KeyBank), you get directed to www.3keybank.com or something to that effect. The site you get taken to will ask you for your personal information, your password, your social security number, and/or sometimes even your account numbers. Your personal and private information go directly to scammers.

Phishing For Personal Info Scams

Similar to the one above, scammers will establish fake websites and email accounts that look nearly identical to common services that people use, such as email or social media sites. Then, they deliver an email asking you to update your profile or user information. Finally, they use this information to steal your identity.

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Medical Services or Device Scams

For seniors, medical services or device scams are spreading and becoming a more serious concern. While there can be good services offering assistance for seniors, there are many active scammers that offer services to elders that get paid without ever providing an actual service, or only provide one service, but bill Medicare for ten services.

Help a Family Member Scams

Often known as The Grandparent Scam, the scammers call someone they know to be elderly and instantly say, “Hi grandpa (or grandma), do you recognize my voice”? Eventually, they will mistakenly think that it is their grandchild.

Once the grandparent has fallen for the trick, the scammer will ask for money to be sent for some emergency, and it has to be kept between the both of them. In the past, these used to be telephone scams, with internet phone services, which are virtually untraceable, these scams have become more well-known.

An identical scam is seen in e-mail form from a friend or family member, and will, in summary, explain they are in a foreign country, or on vacation, and have either been robbed or lost all their money, credit cards, ID, and phone some other way. The email will then request for you to send money so they can eat, buy a ticket home, etc.

 

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Home Improvement Scams

Sometimes rightful business owners scam seniors. Separate from merely overcharging for goods and services; a common scam involves selling home improvements that are not needed.

A handful of less-than-moral contractors, especially in states that do not require a contractor to be licensed, will knock on a home, sometimes impersonating a government inspector, then explain that work is required to be done by law. If this happens, contact a local independent contractor that can offer you a second opinion and estimate.

Always stay alert and sensible about the personal information or money you are sending to people you don’t know, and if it’s a family member, actually make sure the person you are communicating with is a family member.

If you are a victim of a scam, first contact the police and your bank, to file reports. Your bank may be able to reverse or cancel a transaction, and the police can further investigate or pass the matter along to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

Contact a personal injury lawyer in Georgia if your elderly loved one has been a victim of abuse, mistreatment, fraud, or a scam. Know your rights and understand which legal options you can take.

Our Recent Personal Injury Articles

Contact The Brown Firm

Get the Answers and Compensation You Deserve

You’ll notice the difference when you contact The Brown Firm! Our local dedicated attorneys want to help you recover and rebuild.

Schedule your free consultation by calling (800) 529-1441 or completing our simple online form.

Schedule Your Free Consultation

If you or a loved one were injured and need help, our skilled personal injury lawyers will be at your side every step of the way.

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