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Cases of Elder Neglect

Elderly individuals who require personal care to ensure that their health and wellbeing are well maintained often reside in nursing homes to acquire the attention they need. Unfortunately, some of these facilities exhibit practices that are far from the standards expected of them. Not only have many nursing homes been accused of abusive behaviors, many more have been connected to neglectful practices that can cause significant problems for the residents under their care. In fact, in our 30+ years of legal practice, we have found that general neglect accounts for a large portion of the nursing home abuse claims that are brought to our attention.

Manifestations of Neglect

When individuals enlist the help of DominaLaw Group, they can expect to receive nothing less than the very best legal services available. The same should be true of elderly individuals who enlist the help of a caretaker or nursing home facility. It is never expected that the same support staff that you believe will be catering to your needs could ever turn a blind eye to the health issues that you are currently experiencing. Unfortunately, for too many people, neglect has been a common cause of their health issues.

From dehydration, to malnutrition, to infection, any number of symptoms could be acute warning signs of a significantly larger issue. It can be easy to excuse a senior's progressive weight loss or their retreat from social activities as symptomatic of their adjustment to a new way of living. It can be even easier to discount a sore or deterioration in health as symptomatic of the typical aging process. Doing so, however, can be a detrimental oversight, as these are not often symptoms of aging or adjusting to a new lifestyle; they are the adverse effects of elder neglect.

Nursing home staff members are tasked with many responsibilities, none of which can afford to be discounted or carried out only half-way. Dependent on the support and care being provided to them, elderly individuals can quickly begin to experience poor health, hypo- or hyperthermia, sores, rashes, lice and other uncomfortable and preventable medical conditions. For these reasons, it is absolutely essential that caretakers never fail to provide dependents with the one-on-one attention they need, right down to assistance getting in and out of bed (to prevent falls) and delivering nutritional meals at their appropriate times.

Identifying Neglect

One of the most difficult tasks involved in addressing the issue of elder neglect is the initial ability to identify the mistreatment itself. A progressive and generalized deterioration in health is much more challenging to identify than a rapid change in health. Unfortunately, symptoms of neglect often tend to appear slowly and over a prolonged period of time. Therefore, friends and family members must be extra vigilant in their efforts to keep a close eye on their elderly loved ones. Common identifiers of neglect include:

  • Open, untreated sores
  • Frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Weight loss
  • Persistent odor of urine or feces
  • Rashes
  • Lice
  • Bed sores

These, and other medical conditions, can be warning signs of mistreatment. Individuals who are concerned that neglect may be the cause of an elderly person's decline in health can ask themselves a simple question to help determine whether or not their suspicions are founded: Is there any justifiable explanation for the symptoms that have arisen? Medical conditions that are not easily explained are often indicative of neglect. For example, it is relatively uncommon for individuals to develop a bed sore unless they are not being turned in their beds frequently enough.

Take Legal Action

Neglect is often the result of a general indifference that is expressed by one or more members of a care staff team. Unconcerned with the wellbeing of their patients, negligent caretakers are much more likely to fall short of the duties expected of them. When a patient with specific dietary needs is delivered the wrong meal or a bed-ridden dependent is not moved / turned often enough, physical health issues are likely to result. Sores, rashes, UTIs, and other medical conditions that are easily avoidable and / or treatable are cause for concern, especially when your elderly loved one is relying upon the professional support of another to remain healthy.

At DominaLaw Group, we are prepared to help individuals aggressively tackles cases of nursing home abuse and elder neglect in court. Experienced in the field, we know the warning signs and we know how to effectively address such matters before a judge. Under no circumstances should a resident's family be contacted in a delayed fashion after an injury or illness has developed; under no circumstances should an elderly resident be forced to wear long sleeves or baggy clothing to cover up bed sores; and, under no circumstances should inadequate restraints be used to "prevent" an elderly individual from falling. Although these acts of neglect may not be easy to identify, they need to be revealed, and we are professionals who can help you do it.

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