Frequently Asked Questions

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Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect FAQ

What are the signs?

Some of the signs of Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect are:

  • Bedsores (also known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers) — especially advanced wounds
  • Frozen joints may indicate a failure to turn residents in their beds or move residents appropriately (which also may lead to pressure ulcers)
  • Falls resulting from lack of adequate precautions or assistance and a general failure to take adequate precautions that results in injury to the resident
  • Dropping of resident by nursing home staff
  • Skin rashes, particularly when attended by urine and/or feces odor
  • Failure to take residents to the toilet and/or a lack of attention to a resident’s personal hygiene (leaving them in soiled garments or beds)
  • Failure to recognize or treat heart attack or other serious medical condition and failure to transport resident to hospital for treatment in the appropriate time frame
  • Significant weight loss may indicate a variety of problems, including malnutrition or dehydration.
  • Skin tears, bruises, lesions, burns, bone fractures, sprains or contusions, particularly those that appear with no explanation, may indicate neglect or a pattern of physical abuse
  • Unjustified chemical or physical restraints
  • Over-medication or failure to give medication resulting in harm to the resident
  • Evidence of slapping or other physical abuse, emotional or verbal abuse
  • Changes in mental status, depression or isolation, unexplained mood shifts, disorientation and confusion
  • Fear and anxiety, particularly if accompanied by a reluctance to communicate the reason for the fear may indicate physical or sexual abuse
  • Torn, stained or bloody undergarments and/or unexplained sexually transmitted diseases may indicate sexual abuse and/or rape
  • Refusal of staff to allow visitors or to allow visitors to be alone with resident may indicate abuse by staff
  • Missing possessions, mysterious bank account withdrawals, or changes in financial documents can be a sign of financial abuse and/or theft
  • Retaliation for filing a complaint
Should I bring a lawsuit for nursing home negligence?

Oftentimes, family members of nursing home residents provide the only protection a nursing home resident may have. Family members cannot take a resident’s care for granted or assume that adequate protections are in place. Abuse and neglect in nursing homes may manifest in physical harm, sexual abuse, financial abuse, mental and psychological damage, and even the death of your loved one. If you are concerned that your loved one is being victimized by a caregiver or is suffering from neglect or abuse in a nursing home, please do not hesitate to call us. We can help you determine whether a lawsuit is the appropriate course of action to protect your loved one and put a stop to any abuse or neglect that may be happening.

Why does nursing home abuse/neglect occur?
  • Understaffing in nursing facilities in attempts to enhance profits;
  • Staff may be poorly qualified, undertrained, overworked and/or underpaid;
  • Nursing home residents have a demanding array of daily needs not easily met by under-qualified staff;
  • Nursing home neglect and abuse victims often have difficulties in communicating the extent and occurrence of their neglect or abuse due to their vulnerable state.

BEDSORES FAQ

What is a bedsore?

The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel defines a pressure ulcer as a “localized damage to the skin and underlying soft tissue usually over a bony prominence or related to a medical or other device.” Pressure ulcers are also called bedsores, pressure sores, and decubitus ulcers.

How are bedsores caused?

Bedsores occur when a person does not move from one position for an extended period of time. Staying in just one position can put “pressure on certain areas of the body.” This pressure “can reduce the blood supply to the skin and the tissues under the skin.” If a person doesn’t move around often enough, “the blood supply gets too low, [and] a sore may form.”

Are bedsores a sign of elder abuse?

Yes, bedsores are a sign of elder abuse. If your loved one is a resident in a nursing home or other elder care facility, the staff should be providing them with the care and treatment that they require. For example, if your loved one is immobile and unable to move him or herself, a part of your loved one’s treatment would be to make sure that he or she is repositioned frequently, so as to prevent a bedsore from developing.

What complications can result from bedsores?

A bedsore that is not properly treated can become infected. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the signs that a bedsore may be infected include “thick, yellow or green pus, a bad smell coming from the sore, and “redness or warmth around the sore.” In addition, if the sore is swollen or tender this can also be a sign of infection. If the infection spreads, other symptoms may also occur including: fever, weakness, rapid heartbeat, chills, and “[m]ental confusion or difficulty concentrating.” Complications can also include sepsis, cellulitis, and bone or joint infections, according to a Mayo Clinic report.

How can I check for bedsores?

Bedsores occur in certain areas of the body, often in “bony parts of the body that don’t have much fat to pad them.” The lower back, heels and hips are a common place that bedsores can develop. These wounds can also occur on “the base of the spine (tail bone), the shoulder blades, the backs and sides of the knees, and the back of the head.”

There are four stages of bedsores. At the earliest stage, Stage I, “[t]he affected skin looks red and may feel warm to the touch. The area may also burn, hurt or itch. In people who have dark skin, the pressure sore may have a blue or purple tint.” At Stage 2 the sore will be painful and possibly discolored. It may be an open wound “that looks like an abrasion or a blister.” At Stage III the sore is even worse, taking on a “crater-like appearance due to increased damage to the tissue below the skin’s surface.” At Stage IV “[t]he skin and tissue is severely damaged, causing a large wound. Infection can occur at this stage. Muscles, bones, tendons and joints can be affected by stage 4 pressure sores.”

What should I do if I’ve spotted bedsores?

If you suspect your loved one has developed a bedsore, it is important to take them to see a doctor so that they can get the appropriate medical care they need. If the sore has developed in the nursing home, the nursing staff and physician should be alerted immediately.

Can I bring a lawsuit if a loved one has suffered bedsores?

Yes, bedsores are avoidable injuries. Bedsores develop from a failure to reposition a patient. As a result of this neglect, you can bring a negligence lawsuit against the medical professionals, person or facility responsible for the injury your loved one sustained. For example, if your loved one was immobile and not repositioned on a regular basis at the nursing home and developed a bedsore as a result, then you may have a claim against the nursing home for negligence.

Contact a nursing home abuse attorney

If your loved one has been the victim of neglect in a nursing home in Tennessee, please do not hesitate to contact The Ebbert Law Firm today. Eric Ebbert has extensive experience fighting on behalf of those who have been mistreated in nursing homes and other care facilities. Contact our office today to discuss your case at 865-229-8509, or fill out our online form https://ebbertlaw.com/