Texas Elder Abuse and Nursing Home Abuse LawyersServing clients in Southeast Texas throughout Jefferson, Orange, Hardin, Newton and Jasper counties, including cities such as Beaumont, Jasper, Liberty, Lumberton, Port Arthur, Nederland, Groves, Silsbee, Vidor, Orange and Winnie Record numbers of baby boomers are retiring today. That fact combined with the escalating inadequacy of nursing home staffing, training and medical care makes a disastrous combination. The National Center on Elder Abuse Facts still reports that no nationwide tracking system of abuse exists, which prevents accurate analysis of abuse prevalence and incidence. However, private studies show that in 2003 an estimated 1 to 2 million Americans age 65 and older were financially exploited, physically injured, abused, or neglected by caregivers. Estimates also show that for every abuse case reported, five or more go unreported. In conjunction with the rising concern over elder abuse, our nursing home abuse lawyers in Beaumont and Orange work diligently to handle such cases throughout Southeast Texas. By 2050, there may be as many as 90 million people living out their days in nursing homes. It is crucial that you contact an experienced nursing home negligence attorney if you suspect a loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect. The Beaumont, Texas area law firm of Bush Lewis P.L.L.C. has years of trial experience and know how to legally pursue those who abuse, neglect and exploit the elderly.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse and NeglectAs parents age, physical ailments or mental incapacity cause many to become dependent on others for their daily care. However, aside from relying more on others, their degenerating condition also makes them increasingly vulnerable and they cannot recognize or explain to their loved ones the abuse or neglect they experience. Family and friends must observe, detect abuse and be the voice for their loved ones. Many types of nursing home abuse occur. According to the Elder Abuse Foundation, elder abuse is defined as “any act, failure to act, or incitement to act done willfully, knowingly, or recklessly through words or physical action which causes or could cause mental or physical injury or harm or death to an elderly resident.”
Types of abuse and neglect that occur in nursing homes include:
- Physical abuse – Using force against an elderly resident that causes physical pain, injury or impairment. This includes hitting, kicking, biting, and shoving, as well as using restraints, confinement or inappropriate drugs.
- Sexual abuse – Although a kind of physical abuse, and one that may include acts that cause bruising or bleeding, this kind of abuse is sexual contact without consent. It includes physical contact of any sexual nature, but can also include forcing the resident to look at pornographic material or forcing the resident to undress or exposing the resident to inappropriate sexual views of others.
- Emotional abuse – Emotional or psychological abuse that causes emotional pain or distress can be verbal or nonverbal. Verbal forms of abuse include intimidation through yelling, humiliation and ridicule, and constant blaming or scapegoating. Nonverbal abuse may include ignoring the resident, isolating the resident from friends or activities, and menacing or terrorizing.
- Financial exploitation – Using a resident’s funds or property without permission can devastate the ability of a resident to meet financial obligations. Financial exploitation includes unauthorized use of checks, credit cards, or accounts, stealing cash or personal items, forging the signature of the targeted resident, or engaging in identity theft. These are all types of exploitation. It can also include coercing or persuading a resident to change wills, execute powers of attorney or otherwise sign over property or claims.
- Neglect and abandonment – Failure to care for a resident, either actively or through passive or unintentional means is very common in nursing home neglect cases.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and NeglectBe alert and look for the following abuse signs in your loved one: Physical Abuse
- Unexplained bruises, cuts, abrasions, burns
- Unexplained broken bones
- Sudden weight loss
- Hidden injuries
- Forced restraints
- Use of drugs to restrain or immobilize
- Resident complaints
- Depression or withdrawal
- Unwillingness to communicate
- Sudden changes in behavior
- Agitation, fear or hesitancy
- Confusion or disorientation
- Unusual behavioral patterns
- Forced isolation
- Derogatory, rude, or humiliating comments by staff
- Resident complaints
- Missing or stolen money or property
- Sudden selling off of property
- Drastic changes in personal or financial situations
- Resident complaints
- Unsanitary environment
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Unkempt appearance
- Smell of urine or feces
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Untreated medical condition
Underlying Reasons for Nursing Home Abuse and NeglectWhen low pay, mass turnover, poor training and supervision, unequal workloads, daily stresses, and frustration among nursing staff and attendants mount up, nursing home residents become easy targets. Many nursing homes are part of larger conglomerates or corporations. Like any other industry, the nursing home industry has goals of being profitable. In efforts to hold down costs, facility administrators reduce the numbers of nursing home staff and doctors, cut expenses on training attendants, and skimp on necessary equipment. Despite poor working conditions, there is no excusable reason to injure, neglect or exploit elderly residents. The elderly and their families expect residents to receive standard levels of medical and assistive care from nursing home facilities. Under the law, it is their right to receive it. Ken Lewis is also a member of the National Crime Victim Bar Association (NCVBA), which offers assistance to lawyers in civil cases who represent crime victims of sexual assaults and other intentional torts.
Your ResponsibilityAfter noticing your loved ones may have suffered abuse or neglect, your priority is to move them quickly to safety. However, your job should not end there. Sadly, the probability is high that your loved ones were not alone in their misery. The extent of institutionalized neglect that goes unreported means that many more residents suffer on a daily basis than we know. You also have a responsibility to make authorities aware of the situation and seek civil and criminal proceedings. Only then can you ensure that others will not suffer similar mistreatment. If your loved one has suffered nursing home abuse or neglect in the areas of Beaumont, Orange, or Port Arthur, or anywhere else in Texas, please contact the experienced nursing home abuse lawyers at Bush Lewis P.L.L.C. today.
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