Possible Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Washington is a hotbed for nursing home abuse; Senior List, one of the most trusted sources for nursing home quality, has deemed the state to be the worst in the nation by far in terms of facility upkeep, with an average of over 18 deficiencies per home. Washington has also ranked first in total nursing home complaints for many years. The unfortunate part is that these numbers are likely lower than they should be, as a large number of cases are unreported.
Occasionally, elderly victims will report their abuse or relay it to loved ones. However, most cases are not so obvious, as victims are unwilling to come forward out of fear for further harm. Some victims may also just be physically or mentally unable to talk about the abuse. In any case, there are some signs you can look for that may point to nursing home abuse or neglect, such as:
- Unusual changes in personality such as increased depression, anger, or paranoia
- Any broken personal items or torn clothing
- Unexplained injuries, such as cuts, scrapes, bruises, or even broken bones
- Physical ailments such as weight loss or bedsores
- Unwillingness or avoidance of being left alone
- Genital infection, STDs, or bleeding from orifices
- Unexplained increased in financial costs or spending
- Untidy appearance (messy clothes/hair, body odor, messy room, etc.)
Holding Parties Liable: Nursing Home and Third Party Liability
Elder mistreatment is an issue that only continues to worsen, as abuse numbers tend to increase at every new survey. According to the National Association of Nursing Home Attorneys, about 5 million elderly residents are abused each year in some form. Sadly, only about 1 out of every 14 cases of abuse is actually reported to the proper authorities.
When abuse happens in Washington nursing facilities, multiple parties can be held as liable, including the perpetrator(s) themselves, the facility owners and administrators, or certain outside parties.
Nursing Home Liability
When elderly residents are abused, the facility owners and employees are the first suspects to be considered. Nursing homes can be held responsible for a number of different violations, such as direct harm or assault, insufficient care or monitoring, erroneous handling or distribution of medication, hazardous conditions, negligent or unsafe hiring and training of employees, overuse of sedation or restraints, improper food and nutrition, and more.
Third Party Liability
If a resident’s injuries are caused by defective equipment or products, such as a motorized lift, walker, wheelchair, or bed, then the product’s manufacturer can be held liable under a defective product claim. In addition, any maintenance crew that is responsible for inspecting and repairing this equipment may be found negligent, in the event that the equipment malfunctions and injures your loved one.
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