When Can You Sue A Nursing Home For Elderly Neglect
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Putting a parent or spouse in a nursing home is a tough decision, but at times, a person has to make this decision, as the senior is unable to care for themselves any longer. Usually, when a person is put into a nursing home, you hope that he/she will be well looked after and all the daily needs will be catered to. Most of the times this is true, but at times, you may end up finding signs of elderly neglect when you visit your loved one.
Elderly neglect means that your loved one is not receiving the 24-hour care the you envisaged, he/she is left unkempt and wearing soiled clothes, their hair is not combed, the bed linen is not changed, the person develops bedsores and/or is kept in a sedated state. If you notice these signs or feel that the nursing home is neglecting your loved one, you should immediately get in touch with a lawyer who is experienced in handling such cases. Obviously, one of your first questions to the lawyer would be when you can sue a nursing home for elderly neglect.
In order to sue a nursing home for elderly neglect, the lawyer would first have to prove that neglect took place or is taking place. However, most of the times, seniors admitted in nursing homes cannot communicate properly and this makes it difficult, though not impossible, to prove elderly neglect. Hence, as a family member, it is your responsibility to be aware of signs of elderly neglect. If your loved one appears malnourished or dehydrated, has bedsores, is losing weight without a reason, is dressed in soiled clothes when you visit them or seems to be depressed or reserved with you visit them, it could be a sign of elderly neglect. However, at the same time, it is important to note that just because these signs are present, it does not necessarily mean that your loved one is being neglected. Nonetheless, you should immediately report the matter to the nursing home supervisor. The supervisor would have to investigate your complaint and then file a report on the outcome with the relevant state agencies. Alternatively, you can also get in touch with the state agency for your area and file a complaint with them. This agency would be the Adult Protective Services, but is also known as Department of Aging.
At the same time, consult an experienced lawyer and speak about what you have seen. If you were able to take photographs of the appearance of your loved one, it would be of great help to the lawyer in proving that the nursing home is resorting to elderly neglect. Also, speak to the lawyer to find out what qualifies as elderly neglect. Once it is proven that the nursing home was neglecting the senior resident, the lawyer will file a case on your behalf and may be able to get damages for your loved one for the neglect.
It is best to speak to a lawyer and find out when you can sue a nursing home for elderly neglect. The lawyer would be in a better position to advise you correct and stop you from making frivolous claims. Remember, if you have a doubt, it is best to file a complaint with the nursing home supervisor. Do not feel embarrassed. After all, it is your loved one and you have all the rights to ensure that they are well looked after and treated nicely. Above all, the senior who is a resident of a nursing home has the rights to demand that he/she is well looked after.
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