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Indianapolis Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

Injury Lawyer Team > Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer  > Indiana Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer > Indianapolis Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
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Indianapolis Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

When we admit our loved ones into a nursing home, we expect they will be given the care we cannot provide. It is frightening to consider that someone could abuse or neglect our loved ones when they cannot care for themselves.

Sadly, abuse and neglect occur frequently in Indianapolis nursing homes and other healthcare facilities nationwide.

Our nursing home abuse lawyers at Injury Lawyer Team, sponsored by Rosenfeld Law Offices, are experienced in handling serious and complex abuse and neglect cases. We are dedicated to providing the best representation and guidance needed to victims of nursing home abuse.

Call our affiliated nursing home abuse attorney, and we will schedule a free case evaluation. Our entire team looks forward to assisting you and answering any questions you may have.

How Often Does Nursing Home Abuse Occur?

Nursing home abuse is prevalent around the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 1 in 6 people aged 60 years and older endure abuse in community settings.

In nursing homes, 2 in 3 staff report they have abused an elderly person in the past year. These statistics on elder abuse show that nursing home abuse continues to be a huge problem.

Many elderly people and those suffering from disabilities require round the clock care which can put these patients at a high risk of being injured due to abuse or neglect.

According to the Office of Inspector General, approximately one in five emergency room visits from a nursing facility result from abuse. Unfortunately, some nursing home staff and family members are taking advantage of this vulnerable population of adults every day.

One major injury sustained by elderly patients is traumatic brain injuries which are mainly caused by falls, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sustaining this injury can be especially dangerous due to an elderly person’s body weakness, difficulties with balance, and vision problems.

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Indianapolis Nursing Home Abuse

An indication that abuses in an Indianapolis nursing home may be an issue could be found in the Medicare ratings of the facilities. Of the 97 nursing homes in Indianapolis, 49 have ratings that are below average standards.

In one Indianapolis nursing home, Homestead Healthcare Center, an 80-year-old was raped and killed by another resident. According to an IndyStar news report, inspectors continued to find serious problems with understaffing, substance abuse, and neglect in this facility.

In Indiana, approximately 7% of older adults reported having experienced physical or emotional abuse in 2017, according to a report by the Central Indiana Senior Fund. Unfortunately, many times abuse goes unreported due to the fact that the victim may not be cognitively aware or they may be fearful of retaliation by their abuser.

Why Does Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Occur?

The COVID-19 pandemic that began in 2020 exposed many issues that nursing homes struggled with for many years. Apart from bringing to light the problems in nursing homes, more neglect and abuse occurred when inspections were suspended for months.

Some causes of abuse and neglect in nursing homes are understaffed facilities, poor management, and unqualified staff. Patients who require extra attention and care are likely to suffer when a nursing home is lacking in these areas.

Understaffed Nursing Home Facilities

Nursing home patients’ lives are at risk when neglected due to a lack of staff. The Herald Bulletin reported that in 2018 and 2019, Indiana inspectors found that nursing homes in the state were behind on getting patients medical testing, providing proper nutrition, and updating their care plans.

Nursing home negligence was already a massive problem in the state and worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents not only need proper medical care for their medical conditions but also help with receiving basic needs and performing activities of everyday living.

An understaffed nursing home may not be able to provide residents with the necessary time and care. This means patients could go unbathed for days, live in an unclean environment, or miss having their medication administered on time.

Overworked Nursing Home Staff

Another related issue that nursing homes struggle with is overworked nursing staff and medical professionals. Understaffed assisted living facilities may need to schedule their employees to work more shifts or longer hours.

The added stress from working long hours combined with the lack of help from an understaffed facility can create a demanding work environment for the nursing home workers.

When there are not enough people to care for patients, it may lead to frustration by the overworked health care workers and increases the likelihood that they may lash out at the residents.

Unqualified Nursing Home Staff

Hiring unqualified nursing staff is also an issue that results in abuse and negligence. Hiring untrained staff members presents a high risk of error in nursing homes.

Nursing home management that hires unqualified staff when they fail to perform thorough background checks or if they need to fill positions at a low cost, may put the residents at risk.

Each nursing home patient has their individual plan of care where they may need certain medications administered, testing performed, and special needs met.

An unqualified staff member may neglect or harm a patient either intentionally or unintentionally. Medications may not be administered properly (medication errors) or a nursing facility worker may injure an elderly resident when providing basic hygiene (proper care). These scenarios could cause immense harm to the residents.

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What Is Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse?

Abuse in a nursing home is an intentional act against a resident to cause pain or suffering. The different types of abuse a patient may experience include physical, emotional, sexual, and financial.

Nursing facility residents are usually suffering from physical and cognitive impairments. Abuse in any of these forms can be devastating to their physical and mental health.

A nursing home resident can feel discomfort and pain when a caregiver provides improper care. When patients are neglected for long periods, complications may lead to a decline in a patient’s mental and physical state.

Nursing home negligence and abuse are dangerous for patients, and proper measures should be taken to protect residents.

Physical Abuse in Nursing Homes

Physical abuse involves an act against an individual that causes bodily injury (such as broken bones) and harm. Nursing home patients who suffer this abuse will likely have visible marks or suffer a serious injury.

Patients in long-term care facilities are fragile and may suffer cognitive and physical impairments. Physical assault can worsen a health condition.

There is also a chance they can suffer a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, or die from a sudden blow or fall caused by an abuser. This type of abuse can include:

  • Hitting
  • Kicking
  • Slapping
  • Pushing
  • Pulling
  • Pinching
  • Choking
  • Smothering
  • Burning
  • Misuse of physical restraints
  • Using an object to assault a resident

Signs of Physical Assault

  • Unexplained bruises
  • Cuts
  • Scratches
  • Scars
  • Fractured or broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Unexplained injuries

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Psychological Abuse

Emotional or psychological abuse involves an intentional act used against someone that causes mental anguish. Both physical and emotional abuse is detrimental and can lead to a decline in a resident’s health.

There may be no visible signs of emotional abuse at first, which makes this type of abuse difficult to recognize. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), psychological abuse is the type of abuse most older people experience.

In nursing homes, some residents may decline their cognitive functioning and suffer from conditions such as dementia. These residents and many others cannot defend themselves or may not know how to ask for help.

There are verbal and non-verbal forms of this type of abuse which can include:

  • Insulting
  • Threatening
  • Humiliating
  • Intimidating
  • Isolating
  • Harassing

Signs of Psychological Abuse

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Resident is withdrawn
  • Weight loss

Sexual Abuse in Long-Term Care Facilities

This type of abuse involves a nonconsensual act forced upon an individual. In nursing homes, many residents suffer from health conditions that would prevent them from giving consent.

Caregivers and others may take advantage of vulnerable victims in nursing homes. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), women and nursing home residents with dementia are the two groups most likely to suffer from sexual abuse.

Some examples of this type of abuse include:

  • Unwanted touching
  • Rape
  • Masturbation in front of unwilling resident
  • Forced nudity
  • Showing photographs or videos that are pornographic
  • Verbal sexual harassment

Signs of Sexual Assault

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Genital infection or sexually transmitted disease
  • Avoidance of a staff member or other resident

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Financial Exploitation of Residents

Financial abuse involves illegally using someone else’s money, assets, and possessions. Financial exploitation is a common type of elder abuse, but those who may suddenly suffer disabilities are also at risk of becoming victims.

Caregivers, nursing facilities, and even family may take advantage of residents who may be unable to handle their finances. Friends and family may exploit a resident who does not have a trusted person in charge of their accounts.

Nursing facilities may also financially abuse a resident in various ways if no one is monitoring their finances. Some examples of financial abuse include:

  • Stealing money
  • Stealing possessions
  • Unauthorized use of assets
  • Manipulating a resident into signing financial documents
  • Forgery
  • Unnecessary additional charges to the resident’s account

Signs of Financial Abuse

  • Unusual bank activity
  • Large amounts of money withdrawn from bank accounts
  • Sudden change in will or other financial documents
  • Missing possessions
  • Unpaid bills
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Nursing Home Neglect

Nursing home neglect is when a caregiver either intentionally or unintentionally fails to provide care and does not meet the needs of residents. Many residents need help with everyday tasks such as changing their clothes, bathing, brushing their teeth, eating, and going to the restroom.

Patients are left in discomfort and pain when basic needs are not met for prolonged periods. Complications and infections can develop in patients when they are not repositioned or kept clean.

Apart from these tasks, residents may also require individualized care for their medical needs. Failing to administer medication, provide treatment, or perform required testing may put the lives of residents at risk. Lack of appropriate skin care puts a resident at risk for bed sores.

Residents in nursing homes require care around the clock, and neglect can result in a decline in their health condition, leading to premature death. Some forms of neglect in nursing homes include:

  • Failing to bathe a resident regularly
  • Failing to clean and change a resident and their bed sheets when they have soiled themselves
  • Leaving a patient unattended in a wheelchair or in bed for a prolonged period
  • Failing to administer medication
  • Failing to provide proper wound care
  • Failing to provide basic daily hygiene
  • Ignoring a patient’s complaint
  • Not providing adequate nutrition and fluids

Signs of Nursing Home Neglect

  • Bed sores
  • Malnutrition
  • Weight loss
  • Poor hygiene
  • Unsanitary living conditions

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Nursing Home Residents’ Rights

Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987

The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act defines what services nursing homes and other residential health care facilities must provide residents as well as it establishes standards for these services. This law aims to protect the legal rights of nursing home patients, including:

  • Freedom from abuse, neglect, or mistreatment
  • Voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal
  • Freedom from physical restraints
  • Privacy
  • Accommodation of physical, psychological, medical, and social needs
  • Participation in resident and family groups
  • Be treated with dignity
  • Exercise self-determination
  • Communicate freely without fear of reprisal
  • Participate in one’s plan of care review and be fully informed in advance about any changes in care, treatment, or status change (such as bedroom change) in the facility

What Can I Do if I Suspect a Patient’s Injury Was Caused by Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?

If you suspect your loved one or other facility resident is being abused, it is crucial to take steps immediately. The first step is to notify the director of nursing or administrator of the facility of the situation.

Even if the nursing home addresses the issue, you may want to report the incident to the Indiana State Department of Health by calling toll-free at 1-800-246-8909. You can also submit an online complaint form here or email their office.

The Indiana Department of Health will perform an investigation into the report, and you will be informed about the investigation findings. If the abuse is severe, you should also consider calling law enforcement to stop the mistreatment your loved one may be experiencing.

You may also be referred to Indiana’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman program for assistance and resources for your situation. Your local ombudsman is a public advocate who will work to resolve the issues you may be having with a facility and can assist in a transfer to a suitable nursing home.

You can contact the Office of the Long Term Care Ombudsman by calling 800-622-4484 or emailing LongTermCareOmbudsman@ombudsman.IN.gov to get the information for an ombudsman that is assigned to your area.

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How an Indianapolis Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Can Help 

Consulting with a personal injury attorney is also beneficial if your loved one sustained serious nursing home injuries and other losses due to negligence. Your personal injury attorney can help you with the legal process of filing an injury claim, wrongful death claim, and possibly a lawsuit.

Your nursing home abuse attorneys will ensure the nursing facility is held liable and can negotiate for the compensation your loved one and your family deserve. You may be able to receive compensation for medical bills, future medical expenses, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and funeral costs (in cases of wrongful death).

Holding a nursing home liable through a legal claim will help your family recover losses and can help another endangered adult and fellow residents in the same facility.

Consulting with our attorneys who are experienced in handling nursing home abuse cases can give you a better idea of the types of compensation you may receive. Many personal injury attorneys will offer a free case review during the initial consultation.

Consult With Experienced Indianapolis Injury Attorneys

Any abuse or neglect can be incredibly harmful to our family members living in long-term care facilities. Residents should never be in a position where they may suffer harm at the hands of a caregiver.

Our personal injury attorney can help you recover damages and seek justice for your case. We must hold the nursing facilities accountable for their mistreatment of vulnerable victims.

The personal injury lawyers at Injury Lawyer Team, sponsored by Rosenfeld Law Offices, are committed to protecting the rights of victims who have suffered from nursing home abuse. We serve clients in personal injury cases involving nursing home neglect, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and elder abuse.

Our experienced nursing home abuse lawyers are ready to provide you with a free case review and discuss your options to seek compensation. Call our personal injury law firm today, and we will schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys.

All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.