Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Houston, TX
Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Houston, Texas
Protecting the Elderly from Nursing Home Abuse Enlist the Help of a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Houston, TX Families Trust
Protecting the Elderly from Nursing Home Abuse
If you or someone you love has suffered from abuse and neglect in a nursing home, it may make sense to contact a nursing home abuse lawyer in Houston, TX from John K. Zaid & Associates. Abuse and neglect are two words that many people do not want to consider, especially when it comes to their elderly parents whom they have placed in a nursing home. It can be shocking to hear that abuse in nursing homes is all too common.
Unfortunately for some, the trauma from abuse can leave a lasting impact on a person for several years. When the emotional impact is coupled with physical injuries, the results can be devastating. We can file a personal injury claim on your family’s behalf against the nursing home. Call us for a free case review with one of our attorneys.
Protecting Elders’ Rights
Our Texas nursing home lawyers protect the rights of elders from persons and facilities that may have harmed them. At John K. Zaid & Associates, we work with families who wish to pursue personal injury claims against those who were abusive toward their loved one. Elder abuse is not uncommon, and it is a serious issue with potentially long ranging effects for victims. A claim against those responsible may prevent further abuse of residents as well as provide the financial resources that families need in order to provide needed care for their elders.
A nursing home abuse lawyer in Houston, TX has years of combined experience in pursuing compensation for deserving families. Call us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.
Legal Rights of Nursing Home Residents
There are many federal and state laws that are designed to protect residents who live in nursing homes from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Much of this legislation was introduced within the last 20 years or so, as the older population became to need nursing homes. With the incidence of rising nursing home injuries and abuse showing a marked increase, federal and state have placed fourth regulations upon nursing homes to protect older people.
There are many federal laws that have been enacted with the specific and intention of protecting older citizens.
Title XX the Social Security act is a program for which federal funds are provided to the states to provide community-based care for elderly and disabled people. Among the programs that are funded by this program are efforts to prevent abuse and neglect of nursing home residents. The long-term care of Bunsen program exists in every state. This advocates for nursing home residents and they work to resolve issues that are associated with the care of individual residents. The individual office in each state will investigate individual complaints about nursing home abuse, neglect, facilities and exploitation.
The older Americans act aims to provide comprehensive services to the elderly through a network of state and community agencies. This is primarily focused on nutrition and health. The nursing home Reform Act which was enacted in 1987 is designed to ensure that nursing home residents are receiving quality levels of basic care on a minimal level. This is to help standardized nursing home care. And now each nursing home resident is the beneficiary of a Bill of Rights and the nursing home.
Some of the rights that the nursing home Reform Act has established are:
- The right to freedom from abuse, mistreatment, and neglect for all residents in nursing homes.
- The right to freedom from physical restraint in the nursing home.
- The right to privacy while living in a nursing home.
- The right to accommodation of medical, physical, psychological and social needs in a nursing home.
- The right to persist to pay in resident and family groups while in a nursing home.
- The right to be treated with dignity, and to ensure that you have your dignity and that nothing is ever done without your consent.
- The right to exercise self-determination.
- The right to communicate freely.
- The right to participate in the review of your own care plan to be fully informed about your medical changes and care, treatment or status in the facility.
- The right to voice any grievances or issues without worrying about discipline.
The legislations put forth by federal and state governments is put forth to insure that elderly people in nursing homes can continue to have a say in their care (where they are able) and to help establish a standard of care that is expected on a base level.
Why Many Families Choose Nursing Homes for Their Elders
Whether or not to place your aging loved one in an assisted living community or nursing home is a decision that should be carefully contemplated. Taking this step can be an emotional decision for all involved. Every TX nursing home abuse lawyer in Houston from John K. Zaid & Associates understands that there are a number of reasons for a family to choose a nursing home for their parent:
- Their health and medical needs have advanced beyond what you are able to manage alone. For instance, your loved one may be suffering from ailments that require constant medical care.
- It may no longer be safe for a person to live on their own because they cannot take care of themselves. This is especially the case for those suffering from dementia, depression, or a type of chronic disease
- Nursing homes can be more cost-effective than taking care of an elderly family member in one’s own home.
Some Quick Stats on Nursing Home Abuse
The National Council on Aging, or the NCOA, has worked with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) to get statistics that may help you better understand nursing home abuse. It’s a well-known problem, but that doesn’t mean it’s understood by everyone.
Nursing home abuse is just one type of elder abuse, and it’s very hard to get accurate numbers because not every elderly person wants to admit they’re being abused.
The above organizations have found that women are more likely to be abused than men, lower socioeconomic status can lead to elder abuse, and individuals who have past trauma in their lives are more likely to be abused again. Furthermore, poor mental health or physical health can increase the risk of being abused.
The NCOA found that roughly 6 out of every 10 elder abuse cases were caused by family members, and in 2020 the WHO found through a study that roughly 64% of nursing home staff members were committing some form of abuse towards their patients.
Environments that can worsen abuse are another factor to take into mind, such as social isolation where the elderly have no family or friends who visit, poor-quality nursing homes that are lacking in facilities and resources, and household size. The more people in a household, the greater the risk of abuse.
When you look at the four types of abuse: emotional, sexual, financial and physical, the above organizations were able to get some stats regarding those as well. Keep in mind, these stats are skewed as not every case is reported.
When it comes to physical nursing home abuse, the studies found that roughly 24% of residents would experience one instance of physical abuse while in the nursing home.
Emotional abuse is the most prevalent type reported by nursing home staff members in 2020, according to the WHO. Almost 1 out of every 3 staff members admitted to emotionally abusing their patients. Furthermore, verbal abuse is the most often reported elder mistreamnet when it comes to family members committing abuse.
Sexual abuse was the least commonly reported, as the WHO found that less than 2% of nursing home residents reported cases.
Financial abuse happens if an individual’s finances are exploited or withheld from them. Elders are most likely to experience this form of abuse, especially elders who have dementia and other issues remembering things. 1 in 20 older adults indicated that they suffered from financial abuse.
Understanding the overarching types of abuse can help you catch signs of said abuse. That’s probably why you invested in a nursing home, and you want to know they’re safe and being cared for. A nursing home should be a safe, regulated place for your elderly family members to live their lives, ensuring their medications are correct and taken at the right times and correct dosages, and that they’re not isolated from the community they live in.
If you’ve noticed signs of nursing home abuse, reach out to a nursing home abuse lawyer.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
You will want to make every attempt to ensure that your loved one is not being harmed when they are placed in a nursing home. In some situations, no matter how many precautions you take, abuse may be something that you cannot prevent. It is not uncommon for an abuse victim to keep the abuse a secret. They may feel ashamed and fearful. They may also be scared of the repercussions if they report the abuse to you. Because of these reasons, you cannot rely solely on your loved one to report abuse. It will be important that you are visiting frequently and know the common signs that nursing home abuse is occurring. Here are some tips for spotting abuse or neglect:
- There will be more obvious signs of physical abuse that include:
- Unexplained broken bones.
- Bruises or lacerations on a person’s body.
- Marks on their wrists from being restrained or grabbed.
- Living conditions that are dirty or unsafe.
- Venereal disease or infections, bruising, etc.
- If the caregiver will not leave you alone with your loved one, it may be a sign that they do not want the elderly person to disclose anything to you.
- Bedsores are a serious symptom of neglect as it means that the patient was left in bed for a period of time without being turned.
Although the details of abuse can be disturbing, it is important to be able to recognize the signs. If you notice any of these signs, report them to a Houston nursing home abuse lawyer in TX from John K. Zaid & Associates.
Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been abused and/or neglected in a nursing home, give us a call. We have experience handling cases that are of a sensitive nature. Let us protect the rights of your loved one by filing a personal injury claim against the facility or caregiver who inflicted pain upon your loved one. If you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected, request a free consultation with a member of our compassionate legal team from John K. Zaid & Associates.
How Staffing Plays a Significant Factor
When a nursing home does not employ a sufficient number of trained staff members, the residents may not receive the degree and quality of care that they need. As a result, the resident may be neglected and develop bed sores or other physical as well as emotional conditions. In addition, when a nursing home is short staffed, the overburdened employees may become disgruntled and take out their frustrations on the residents by being abusive physically or verbally.
Nursing homes can experience a number of issues. With the elderly population on the rise, nursing home facilities are faced with an influx of people needing nursing home care. As a result, nursing homes are under particular stress to provide their residents with appropriate levels of care. It can be a tough balance for nursing homes to keep residents safe while also giving them the freedom they require to live their lives with dignity. Nursing homes today may be susceptible to serious problems when it comes to developing customized plans for residents. Ultimately, the results of this can have a significant impact on the quality of life for residents.
Understaffed and Underpaid
Nursing homes require staffing 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Because of this, it can be difficult to always have the number of staff needed to keep the nursing home up and running. This can result in staff who are overworked, overwhelmed, underpaid and stressed. Unfortunately, when people feel overworked and underappreciated, they may be more likely to experience frustration in the workplace. Elderly residents are a vulnerable population that may be more susceptible to experiencing abuse when placed in settings where staffing is an issue.
Substandard Training of Staff
If a nursing home employee has not received the specialized training that is required to properly care for residents, the residents will suffer. A resident may develop a physical or emotional injury that causes them significant pain. Hiring of staff members without proper background checks. If a nursing home does not perform a thorough background check of an individual before hiring them, the individual might be someone with a record of theft, violence, or abuse. A Texas nursing home abuse lawyer from Houston is aware of how this can place residents at risk of financial abuse, negligence, physical abuse, or emotional abuse.
Putting in Place a Comprehensive Plan of Care
Often staffing issues may result in problems providing residents with the comprehensive care that they require. The reality is that all patients should receive a comprehensive plan of care outlining the services and needs of the patient. Care plans should be completed each year and reviewed every three months and implemented on a daily basis. Care plans should be developed in collaboration with the resident’s doctors, nurses, and family to ensure that the resident is receiving the best care possible.
It’s important for the resident’s guardian or family member to advocate for the resident to ensure that the plan being developed is tailored to their loved one. In order to do so, it’s important for families to come to the table with an idea of the type of care and needs of their loved one to ensure that it is incorporated into the plan.
Senior Residents Can be Impacted
When nursing home facilities struggle to implement state and federal standards, it’s the residents who ultimately suffer. Because the elderly are such a vulnerable population, poor treatment and care may be all too prevalent. As a result of their age and fragility, the damage done to a nursing home resident can be irreparable. Their decline can, at times, be directly related to common hardships nursing homes may struggle with.
A Texas nursing home abuse lawyer can give concerned family members examples of ways that residents may be impacted, including:
- When residents do not receive individualized care, their preferences can be lost, causing them to lose their own identities
- More susceptible to mistreatment or abuse if in a setting that is chronically understaffed
- Lack of enrichment activities can socially and mentally impact residents
- May be neglected and not cared for: lacking proper hygiene, isolated in their room for long periods of time, restrained inappropriately
A large number of nursing home residents require medication of one type or another, or various medications that are prescription as well as over-the-counter. If a resident is not provided with the correct dosage of their medications as well as at the prescribed times, they may suffer as a result. Great harm can be done to them due to the carelessness or negligence of the nursing home staff.
Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing Home Law, Explained
If your loved one has been a victim of negligence in a nursing home, you may not know where to start when it comes to getting justice. This can be a confusing time and you may have a lot of questions, so to make sure you are as informed as possible, a nursing home abuse lawyer from Houston at John K. Zaid & Associates can answer some frequently asked questions about nursing home law:
What Rights Do Nursing Home Residents Have?
If the nursing home is federally funded by Medicare, there are specific guidelines the nursing home must abide by. This includes being free of verbal, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse as well as prohibits the use of chemical or physical restraint for disciplinary purposes. Additionally, if the nursing home is state-funded, there are specific laws each institution must follow, which vary from state to state.
What Exactly Qualifies As Nursing Home Neglect?
Nursing home neglect is defined as the patient going without specific services that are essential to their health and safety, such as adequate food, shelter, medicine, and medical supervision. It is also important to note that under nursing home law, it doesn’t matter if these cases of neglect were intentional or careless, they are all under the same jurisdiction. At the end of the day, if your loved one has been hurt under the care of a nursing home, their rights deserve to be fought for and a Texas nursing home abuse lawyer can help.
Is There Such Thing As Nursing Home Exploitation?
Yes, and nursing home exploitation can definitely be tried in a court of law. However, it does vary by state what exactly is defined as exploitation. Some of these definitions include:
- A nursing home taking wrongful use of another person’s resources for a personal advantage
- Misuse and exploitation of a patient’s funds, their property, or their person
- Resources were obtained through extreme pressure, deception, duress, and/or false pretenses.
- Identity theft, cheap labor, and extortion
Are There Specific Signs of Nursing Home Neglect to Look Out For?
While neglect and exploitation can show itself in many different ways, there are some specific signs to look out for. These symptoms can show themselves through:
- Cracked lips (shows signs of dehydration)
- Lack of energy
- Fast weight loss
- Lack of eye contact
Additionally, there are some things to look for when it comes to confronting the nursing home staff about your loved one’s condition. When you ask them about what happened, make sure to keep an eye out for:
- Refusal to answer what happened
- Excessive verbiage and speaking on and on
- Differing stories from multiple staff members
- Excessive reassurance that everything will be fine
These signs show that there is not a standard of care being followed at the nursing home, and can be a cause for alarm that something is amiss.
Listen to Your Loved One
As people get older their memories can sometimes begin to play tricks on them. Certain memories may have faded, and other memories may have been created that didn’t really happen. From these memories can come some stories that sometimes sound outlandish. While it may be your first inclination to brush off some of these stories as being a bit out there, this is not always the case. Always listen to your loved one who lives at the nursing home. If there are any stories coming from them that sound a bit odd, but at the same time are still realistic, make sure to pay extra careful attention. It could be that they are giving you a true story of abuse from the nursing home. Even things that sound basic like not getting water here and there or maybe missing a medication day from time to time on behalf of the staff’s mistakes is important to take note of. If these things seem to be happening more and more, then there could be a serious issue at play. Your loved one may be not getting the care that they signed up for. As previously stated, these nursing homes guarantee in the contract to care for your loved one and provide a safe and comfortable place for them. When they fail in this endeavor it is time to get in contact with a nursing home abuse lawyer in Houston, TX. Our lawyers at John K. Zaid & Associates, PLLC are skilled, experienced, and ready to take on your case.
Keep Track of Possible Evidence
Listening to your loved one is crucial so that they know you care for them and are on their side. When they tell you a story, do not just take a mental note of it. You should also either make note of it in writing or even record the stories that your loved one is telling you. This could be used as evidence later on if it is determined that the nursing home is neglecting or even abusing your loved one. Having a record of the neglect and/or abuse is crucial to your case and will help your Houston, TX nursing home abuse lawyer down the road. It will also help if your case is deemed to have to go to court. These recorded conversations along with other evidence could be the most important points of your case. Lawyers from John K. Zaid & Associates, PLLC are standing by and waiting for your consultation. We are here to assist you with your case and hold the abusers and neglectors accountable for their actions. Those who were supposed to be professional caregivers for your loved one should not be allowed to fail at their jobs leaving your loved one and your family in stress and turmoil. Whether it was due to poor training, lack of staffing, or other reasons there is no excuse for the lack of care, respect, and waste of money that this nursing home has caused you. Contact us today to get your case going.
Assessing Liability on the Part of a Nursing Home
At the core of a personal injury claim or lawsuit against a nursing home is determining liability. When representing victims, our team can investigate and identify factors that indicate liability. Proving negligence is key for a successful outcome. In this way, the family can collect maximum compensation for their damages which may include pain and suffering, medical treatment, permanent injuries, and more. There are many ways in which negligence can occur.
Seek Legal Intervention Immediately
All of these and more can be a direct impact of problems nursing homes face. As a result, your loved one could be put at risk for mistreatment. It’s important to take the time to search for the right facility for your loved one and recognize signs there may be a problem later down the road.
If someone you love has been placed in a nursing home and you suspect they are being harmed or not cared for properly, you may want to take the time to ensure their safety. Depending on the severity of the situation, it may be in your best interest to speak with a member of our legal team for intervention.
If your loved one has been a victim of nursing home exploitation or neglect, make sure to contact our professionals at John K. Zaid & Associates, PLLC so we can fight for the rights your loved one deserves. A nursing home abuse lawyer in Houston, TX can bring you the peace your family needs at this time, so call today!