Cases of Abuse and Neglect in Las Vegas Nursing Homes
It is a shocking fact that many residents of nursing homes are victims of abuse or neglect. If you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected, it is imperative that legal representation is retained without delay. At Cogburn Law Offices, a dedicated Las Vegas personal injury attorney will help families pursue justice and compensation after a loved was injured, neglected, or abused while a resident of a nursing home.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
The US population is aging, with more people over age 65 than at any time in history. A family member may require a level of care that cannot be provided at home, whether due to physical or cognitive impairments, or both. After choosing a nursing home and getting your relative situated, it is a shock to discover your loved one has been harmed while under the care of a licensed facility – but sadly, this problem is not rare.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) lists some of the serious consequences of elder abuse and neglect:
- Physical injuries: Injuries such as welts, wounds, bruises, lacerations, head injuries, broken bones, bedsores as a result of physical abuse or lack of proper care.
- Emotional injuries: Fear, anxiety, withdrawal, depression as a result of yelling, bullying, and threats from staff or from other patients.
- Dehydration: Lack of adequate liquid intake due to negligent care.
- Malnutrition: Lack of adequate nutrition leading to weight loss and dangerous risks to the health of the patient.
- Worsening of existing health conditions: Lack of proper medical care, medications, and medical evaluations leading to hospitalization for serious health conditions or in the most tragic cases, loss of life.
- Illness associated with poor hygiene: Various ailments can be the result of an extreme lack of sanitation and hygiene, including skin infections, dental problems, diarrhea, gastroenteritis, pneumonia, and others.
The Many Forms of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse takes many forms; it can be inflicted by a staff member or by another resident that was not monitored. The National Council on Aging reports the various types of elder abuse, including:
- Physical abuse: A nursing home resident who has been physically harmed by another, whether a staff member or another resident.
- Sexual abuse: Older persons can be victimized by sexual predators working within the facility, or other residents. In many cases, the older person cannot communicate what happened due to cognitive impairment, lives in fear due to threats, or is too embarrassed to reveal the abuse to the family or facility management.
- Emotional abuse: Ongoing threats, verbal assaults, intimidation, and bullying.
- Confinement: An older person punished by being confined unfairly and to the detriment of their physical and emotional health, often including the overuse of restraints.
- Passive neglect: A nursing home resident who is neglected, lives in unsanitary conditions, is not provided proper medical care, hygiene, food, water, or other basic need.
- Deprivation: Willfully denying a nursing home resident the basics of survival, including food, water, and medical care as a means of punishment.
- Financial exploitation: Nursing home staff gaining access to a resident’s finances through various illegal means.
- Over-medication: The overuse of prescribed medications performed to keep a resident passive and easy to manage.
Nevada Nursing Home Industry Snapshot: Abuse Statistics
The prevalence of nursing home abuse is a frightening situation; Las Vegas nursing homes are not exempt. Inadequately trained, the poorly-paid staff has exacerbated a serious problem. In Clark County, a report issued by the Aging and Disability Services Division revealed there were 4009 reported cases of elder abuse in a single year.
Nationally, nursing home abuse could be characterized as reaching epidemic proportions. A study cited by the National Center on Elder Abuse revealed elder abuse to affect about 10 percent of elderly persons. As an example, about 47 percent of dementia patients are reported to have been mistreated by their caregivers, with 88.5 percent suffering psychological abuse, 19.7 percent suffering physical abuse, and 29.5 percent suffering neglect.
In fact, 17 percent of all nursing home complaints registered directly involve neglect or abuse.
Nursing Home Complaints by Allegation: 2011-2015
Signs and Symptoms of Nursing Home Abuse
Over a decade, Nevada’s older population has dramatically increased. Many people living and working in Las Vegas have elderly parents who need professional care. The family searches for a Las Vegas nursing home where a loved one can get proper medical care and nutrition, in a friendly, caring, safe environment. Once a loved one is settled in the nursing home, a decline is observed. Some of the signs that your relative may be a victim of nursing home abuse include:
- Physical Abuse: Bruises, welts, scars, fractures, broken eyeglasses, restraint marks on wrists or ankles.
- Emotional abuse: A resident flinches, refuses to speak, acts withdrawn or depressed, or exhibits new symptoms such as rocking, sucking, or mumbling, or becomes abusive, mimicking the actions of the perpetrator.
- Sexual abuse: Bruises around breasts, genitals, bleeding, or torn, stained or bloody underwear.
- Neglect: Unusual weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration, bedsores, soiled bedding and clothing, resident left dirty and unbathed, rough flaky skin.
- Financial exploitation: Unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts, personal items missing, suspicious changes in a will, power of attorney, titles, etc., unknown person’s names on bank signature card, depletion of bank accounts.
- Medication abuse: Evidence that a relative has been consistently overmedicated due to lack of response, continual sleeping, grogginess, or resident has not been given prescribed medication on the correct schedule and is missing dosages.
Nursing Home Abuse in Las Vegas: Taking Legal Action
Contact an experienced Las Vegas nursing home abuse attorney at Cogburn Law Offices if you see signs that your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse. Unfortunately, some nursing home abuse cases have led to the untimely death of an elderly resident, while others suffer medical emergencies requiring hospitalization. If you have concerns about the condition of your family member, speak directly to the nursing home management staff. In more dangerous cases, where a family member is at imminent risk of injury or is suffering a serious illness, contact emergency services. File a report to the state agency and connect with our legal team at Cogburn Law Offices in Las Vegas.
How Cogburn Law Offices Can Help
Our elderly family members have lived a productive life; many have served in the military, raised children, built businesses, and worked for a lifetime in countless other professions. They deserve to be treated with kindness, respect, and compassion. While it is sad to see a cognitive decline in a family member or watch health deteriorate, families want the best for them as they live out their final years.
At Cogburn Law Offices, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of elderly Las Vegas residents. If your loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect while living in an assisted care facility or nursing home, we are here to help you seek justice. Those that take advantage of the elderly must be held accountable and brought to justice.
Document what you see with photos and notes, along with the dates. Ask for names of the staff on duty at the time you observed the signs of abuse. Contact a Las Vegas nursing home abuse attorney at Cogburn Law Offices and speak with us about filing a claim against the negligent nursing home. We take our duty to our clients seriously; we are dedicated to protecting the rights of elderly persons in nursing homes. Our services are provided to our clients on a contingency fee basis, with no legal fees paid unless we recover compensation.
Contact a Las Vegas Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
We take on cases of serious injury or death from nursing home abuse or neglect. Our team of Las Vegas accident attorneys is dedicated to protecting the rights of the injured. We can file a legal action against a negligent nursing home operator, staff members, medical professionals, or others who may be held liable.
If your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect in Las Vegas, connect with us at Cogburn Law Offices today for a free case consultation.