When you select a nursing home for your loved one, you expect the staff to provide the proper care. Unfortunately, some people discover that employees neglect their duties, which can lead to serious harm.
In such cases, it may be possible to seek restitution. Before you pursue a claim, there are a few important elements that you should be aware of.
There is a duty of care that living facilities must provide, which includes upholding each resident's rights as defined by the Texas Health and Human Services. These include the rights to the following:
- Dignity and respect
- Freedom of choice
- Privacy and confidentiality
- Transfer and discharge
- Participation in care
Any treatment that violates these rights may fall under breach of duty.
Signs of abuse
Some of the most common injuries in nursing homes include bruises, cuts, lacerations and bed sores. Even if your loved one does not have visible signs of abuse, you may notice emotional trauma. This may manifest as sudden shifts in mood or attitude, particularly in the presence of staff members. Extreme weight loss could be another sign of trauma, or it could indicate that your loved one is not receiving proper nutrition.
Records of abuse
As with any personal injury case, it is important to have evidence. Not only must you have documentation of the harm done to your loved one, you must also be able to prove a connection between the injuries and the actions that caused them. In addition to taking pictures of the injuries, speaking to witnesses and documenting incidents, you will want to obtain medical records from the doctor who evaluates and treats your loved one's injuries. It may also be beneficial to seek a psychological evaluation.
You may report any suspicion you have to the state's long-term care ombudsman, who will conduct an investigation. However, if you know that your loved one or any other resident is in danger, you should report it to the authorities immediately.