If your family member or loved one has recently moved into a nursing home, you may be worried that their needs may not be met. Families rely on the compassion and care of nursing care staff to look after their love but sadly, sometimes these are simply not met.
The majority of nursing home residents across the US enjoy a great level of care, but sadly a minority suffer abuse which causes their death.
The injury attorneys at Phoenix Accident and Injury Law Firm near you have significant experience in helping clients who have lost loved ones to nursing home wrongful death. Our offices are conveniently located in nearby Chandler, Peoria, and North Phoenix, and we can meet in-person at our nearby offices, over the phone, or video call. You can contact us for a free consultation, or read on to find out more.
To figure out how the nursing home you have chosen for your family is rated and to see if the home has any prior violations, check out our nursing home index. We’ve compiled all of the nursing homes in Arizona as well as their health code reports.
Additionally, take a look at our Nursing Home Glossary– an index of important words you need to know in a nursing home abuse case and their definitions.
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Wrongful deaths in a nursing home can happen for a variety of reasons, but the many of the common types of abuse have been directly associated with wrongful death cases in nursing homes.
Professional attorneys work hard to establish the relationship between abuse or neglect ultimately causing death, representing families who has lost someone directly to the more common types of nursing home abuse.
In this article, we look at five of the most common types of abuse that occur within nursing homes that can be directly related to wrongful death cases;
1: Physical abuse
Physical abuse doesn’t just include simply being a hit or violence, which is why it can be really difficult to spot when visiting a loved one.
Physical abuse in a nursing home can include:
- Moving them roughly causing harm or pain
- Leaving a resident in soiled or dirty clothing
- Burns, marks and bruising caused by carers
Physical abuse can be hidden by clothing, band-aids, and even some weak excuses as to why your family member may be injured.
If you have even the slightest suspicion that your loved one might have been the victim of abuse, some signs to be vigilant for include:
- Unexplained trips to the emergency room
- New or unexplained injuries or bandages
- A change in their emotional behavior (becoming teary, withdrawn or scared)
- Loss of hair
- Loss of appetite
These examples can sadly and tragically end in wrongful death, particularly if the physical abuse is allowed to continue or is not dealt with.
Often, it isn’t the immediate injuries that a person dies from, but subsequent complications or the ongoing trauma of enduring abuse. Wrongful death is often the verdict in nursing home abuse cases when it becomes clear to legal professionals that a resident has died as a direct result of some form of physical abuse.
Always report any suspicious behavior and ensure that there is no possibility of your loved one enduring physical abuse at the hands of their carers whilst living in a nursing home.
2: Complications after a fall
Statistics on falls in nursing homes in America show that for every 100 residents in a nursing home, between 100-200 falls a year happen.
Over 1,800 Americans die after having a fall in nursing homes each year, making them a common factor when it comes to wrongful death claims.
Some falls directly result in wrongful death as residents can suffer fatal head injuries or are left undiscovered after a fall and die.
Most falls are preventable within a nursing home, so if a resident does fall and they then develop complications that lead to their death, there is often a case for wrongful death. Some of the more common reasons falls can happen include:
- Uneven flooring or hazards in the way
- Residents being left for hours unattended and needing to move
- Broken or damaged furniture
- Ill-fitting shoes or clothes
There are a number of reasons why falls happen but ultimately they can be prevented. In cases where a resident falls and dies shortly after, a legal professional would advise the family to pursue a wrongful death case.
3: Sexual abuse
Tragically, sexual abuse cases within nursing home settings are a growing problem across the US. This is due to a number of reasons including updates in regulation around qualification requirements for nursing home staff.
Sexual abuse can be very tricky to spot as many of the signs and symptoms are hidden due to the nature of abuse. Perpetrators of sexual abuse use the vulnerability of people living in a nursing home with memory loss and other diseases that make it very difficult for them to understand or communicate their feelings.
Some signs visiting family members can look for include:
- Unexplained bleeding in underwear or visible on genitals
- Problems sitting down or expressing discomfort when doing so
- Bruises on upper thighs, legs or buttocks
- STI’s or regular water infections
- Pelvic injuries
- Becoming withdrawn or confused
- Discussing sexual or inappropriate topics or acting out
- Panic attacks or increased anxiety
Stay especially vigilant to any changes in behavior when visiting your loved one as sexual abuse is becoming increasingly common as a type of abuse.
Wrongful deaths occur as a result of sexual abuse particularly if the abuse happens over a sustained period of time. Being subject to such violation can cause trauma and post-traumatic stress which can lead to further health complications.
If you’re concerned your family member may be subject to any form of sexual abuse, it’s important to seek legal advice from a specialized attorney. If your family member has sadly died and you feel there were unexplained or suspicious circumstances surrounding their death, speak to a legal professional today.
Neglect is another common type of nursing home abuse that often results in wrongful death as residents living in nursing homes are very vulnerable and when suffering neglect, can quickly deteriorate often resulting in death.
Sadly, neglect takes many forms and can sometimes be overlooked by family members who may still be regularly visiting as nursing homes are often understaffed and busy.
If you’re unhappy with the visible state of your family member or loved one, raise your concerns with the management ome signs to look out for include:
- A lack of changed clothes
- Physically unclean or unhygienic
- Unshaven or messy appearance
- Signs of dehydration eg. dry mouth
- Bruises or signs of injury
Should you feel that your family member or loved one suffered any form of neglect before they died or died under unusual circumstances, speak to an experienced wrongful death attorney today.
5: Emotional or psychological abuse
It is important to recognize abuse isn’t just physical, as many forms of emotional abuse such as intimidation and bullying can lead to health issues, causing health to quickly decline and become fatal. Emotional or psychological abuse is often hidden by the perpetrators as part of the abuse, common traits include:
- Intimidation or humiliation
- Refusing access to places or withdrawing the individual from group activities
- Threatening behavior
- Bullying in all forms
- Name-calling and other forms of verbal abuse
These are just a few examples of how emotional or psychological abuse can take shape in nursing homes but there are many other examples of it taking place.
Emotional or psychological abuse is sadly another common type of nursing home abuse that can often trigger further health conditions that ultimately result in wrongful death situations. Conditions such as;
- Post-traumatic stress
These can all bring on the onset of other diseases such as dementia and Alzheimers or accelerate existing conditions that lead to wrongful death.
Recognizing when you should consider a wrongful death case
Abuse in any form can bring on wrongful death for residents of a nursing home but identifying its happening can prove the biggest challenge. If your family member or loved one has started showing any of the signs in this article, it’s important to raise concerns and seek legal advice.
Nursing home abuse doesn’t need to result in wrongful death if the abuse is dealt with quickly. However, if you have lost a loved one or family member due to an unexplained or confusing circumstance there may have been underlying issues.
Nursing home abuse in any form can result in a wrongful death due to the very nature and vulnerability of residents. If you feel like your loved one may have died under these circumstances, speak to an experienced wrongful death attorney today.
Our team of abuse attorneys is dedicated to seeking damages on behalf of those family members who are being abused and help you find better accommodations for them in the nearby area. We’ve worked on a number of nursing home abuse cases previously in your area and take the time to understand the family’s concerns as well as the situation they believe their loved one is in.
At Phoenix Accident and Injury Law Firm near you, we have more than 15 years of experience helping clients obtain compensation for their loved one’s personal injuries, including nursing home wrongful death in the Phoenix area. When you’re ready to talk, please contact our office to arrange a free initial consultation by phone or at our Chandler office, conveniently located near you.
If your loved one has been the victim of nursing home wrongful death, contact Phoenix Accident and Injury Law Firm in nearby Chandler, AZ to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. We provide personal injury legal services to clients in your area including Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, and Peoria.