There are more than 36 million people over the age of 65 in the United States today. Many will require some type of assisted living, whether it is in the form of an assisted care facility, nursing home, or in-home nurse. According to some estimates, between 1 and 2 million Americans aged 65 or older have been abused. That is despite the fact that nursing home residents have unique patient rights and certain legal protections. Resident rights include, but are not limited, the following:
- Respect: You have the right to be cared for in such a way that it enhances your quality of life.
- Services and Fees: You must be properly informed in writing about the services and fees before you enter the nursing home.
- Money: You have the right to manage your own assets and money or to choose someone you trust to do it for you.
- Privacy: You have the right to privacy, and to keep your personal property as long as it doesn’t infringe upon the rights, health, and safety of others.
- Medical Care: You have the right to information regarding your medical status, medications, and to see your own doctor. You also have the right to refuse medications and treatments.
Whether a caregiver physically or mentally abuses a resident or simply fails to meet his or her needs (defined as neglect), abuse in care facilities is not uncommon. The elderly are particularly susceptible to the risks of abuse, neglect, and abandonment. There are many common types of injuries and neglect suffered by the elderly in care facilities, including:
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Falls and fractures
- Theft of money and belongings
- Poor personal hygiene
- Improper, incorrect, or over-medication
- Untrained or insufficient staff
- Bed sores
- Lack of supervision (residents wandering away from the facility)
- Physical abuse or unexplained injury
- Weight loss or gain
- Physical or chemical restraints
- Septic shock
- Unexpected or wrongful death
- Unsanitary conditions
- Substandard medical care
- Defective equipment
- Sexual assault
Prior to possible litigation for nursing home abuse involving elder abuse, a review of medical records is crucial. All family members, friends, visitors, and other witnesses should be interviewed to determine if more information will help in evaluating the case. Important factors that will help determine the amount of damages include the level of abuse, any potential patterns of neglect and/or abuse, and whether injuries can be shown to have been caused by the negligence of the care facility and caregiver(s).
If you or someone you love has been victimized by medical malpractice while in the care of a senior citizen facility, call a Phoenix elder abuse attorney at Wattel & York, Attorneys At Law, now at (877) 572-4143 or submit a simple case form. (this links to the case form page) An initial consultation with us is free of charge, and if we take your case, we will work on a contingent fee (link to “contingent fee” is a link) basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Call us now! You may have a valid claim and are entitled to compensation for your injuries. But remember, a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires. An elder abuse attorney or one of our other three Arizona offices can help you now.