Manhattan Nursing Home Attorney
You and your loved one may have worked closely together to choose a nursing home in Manhattan you thought you could count on. You found a reliable facility where you believed your loved one would have a high quality of care, including medical assistance when needed, scheduled meal preparation, and assistance with the tasks your loved one can no longer manage alone. You wanted your loved one to have a high quality of life during the years they spend in a nursing home, including an active, engaged social life and the care they need for any medical concerns.
Unfortunately, not every nursing home provides the high standard of care that you expect for your loved one. If your loved one suffered neglect in a nursing home, the effects could be devastating. Our experienced nursing home abuse lawyers will evaluate your situation, help you better understand your rights and, if needed, advise you about how to pursue compensation from the nursing home on your loved one’s behalf.
Contact the experienced Manhattan Personal Injury Lawyers of Jacoby & Meyers, LLP today for an evaluation of the abuse your loved one suffered and the compensation your loved one deserves.
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What Constitutes Nursing Home Neglect?
Nursing home neglect is abuse. While it may not leave physical marks on your loved one, it can have far-reaching implications for your loved one’s overall health, including the treatment and management of many common medical problems. Neglect occurs when a nursing home fails to provide the care your loved one needs to maintain their quality of life while residing in that facility.
This could include:
- Failing to provide adequate food or water. As many seniors age, they lose some sense of smell and taste, which can lead them to avoid eating—especially foods that do not have a strong flavor. Seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia may refuse to eat outright. A nursing home, however, should identify any potential nutritional problems and help ensure that the seniors residing there receive nutritious food and the opportunity to eat. Seniors refusing to eat or showing signs of malnutrition should receive additional care.
- Neglecting basic hygiene. Many seniors, especially those with disabilities, require assistance with the tasks of daily living. Your loved one may, for example, need help bathing or remembering to get dressed or change clothes daily. They may also need assistance keeping their room clean, including changing bed linens, wiping down surfaces, and taking other precautions to ensure they stay healthy. A nursing home that fails to take care of these basic hygiene tasks is neglecting the resident.
- Failure to provide needed medical care. Many patients in a nursing home require substantial medical care. Seniors may have more health problems than younger people: heart problems, diabetes, and cancer, for example. Not only that, seniors may be more prone to illness and injury than younger people, since the immune system deteriorates and bones often grow more brittle with age. A nursing home must not only manage each senior’s current medical conditions, but also provide care for any illnesses or injuries that arise while the individual lives there. A nursing home is neglectful any time the residents of that nursing home do not receive adequate care, either for conditions that existed before they went into the nursing home or for conditions that arise after entering the nursing home. Neglect may include attempts to hide or failure to treat injuries sustained in the nursing home.
- Failing to take steps that prevent injury. Not every injury suffered by a senior in a nursing home is the result of neglect. Preventable injuries sustained due to a lack of appropriate assistance on the part of the nursing home staff, however, could indicate neglect. For example, the nursing home should not leave a senior at a high fall risk unattended in an area where a fall could occur. The facility should also take care to observe seniors showing signs of dizziness or suffering from illnesses that could raise the risk of a fall. Many facilities need to take additional precautions to keep individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia from wandering off. Failure to take adequate precautions, especially when that failure results in injury to the seniors in the care of the nursing home, could constitute neglect.
Signs of Nursing Home Neglect
A senior suffering neglect in a nursing home might not speak up. In many cases, a resident’s loved ones identify signs of nursing home neglect based on the symptoms their senior family member displays, rather than due to anything that the senior says directly.
These symptoms could include:
- Signs of malnutrition or losing weight rapidly without an underlying medical condition. While some medical conditions can cause seniors to lose weight rapidly, in the absence of those conditions, your loved one should not lose weight rapidly while under the care of the nursing home. This could be a sign of malnutrition and neglect.
- Signs of dehydration. The nursing home should provide adequate water and other beverages for your loved one. If you notice ongoing signs of dehydration, this could indicate either a medical concern that needs to be brought up with a doctor or neglect on the part of the nursing home.
- Not changing clothes over several days. If you notice your loved one wearing the same clothes every time you visit, especially if you visit several days in a row, this could be a sign of neglect.
- Increased body odor. If your loved one starts to smell, especially more than usual, it could indicate that the nursing home staff does not assist with regular baths. Also take note of any smells within the room itself, especially around the bed linens or in areas where your loved one spends a great deal of time. In some cases, the nursing home may try to clean your loved one up for visitors, but may fail to properly clean the room to hide some of the signs of neglect.
- Medical conditions that suddenly seem uncontrolled when they were previously controlled with medication. If your loved one successfully managed a condition with medication under a doctor’s supervision before going into a nursing home, your loved one should continue to manage that condition with medication. Some medical conditions may worsen over time on their own, especially as your loved one ages. A medical condition that suddenly becomes uncontrolled and seems to stay that way, however, could indicate neglect. Pay particular attention to symptoms like uncontrolled blood sugar or blood pressure when your loved one previously had no trouble with those symptoms while on medication.
- Inadequate or delayed medical treatment for any conditions or injuries. The nursing home should seek medical treatment for your loved one any time the staff members notice symptoms of any type of illness or injury. Failure to seek treatment for illness or injury, including delayed treatment, could indicate neglect or even abuse on the part of nursing home staff. Make sure your loved one receives the care they need for any medical concerns. Check in regularly to make sure appointments occur at the right time, especially if you suspect abuse or neglect.
- Increased injuries, including minor injuries. Your loved one may naturally suffer more bruises with age, and bruises may take longer to heal. If you notice a sudden increase in injuries, however, this could indicate neglect; nursing home staff who, for example, fail to offer assistance with tasks that could lead to injury or who do not adequately monitor your loved one.
- A loved one who suddenly becomes withdrawn. Moving into a nursing home can prove incredibly difficult for many individuals, especially those who preferred to live at home for as long as possible. While you may notice some emotional changes, a loved one who suddenly becomes withdrawn after living in the nursing home for some time or who seems to shut down or not want to discuss their living conditions could be the victim of abuse or neglect. Many seniors will attempt to hide neglect or abuse out of a sense of shame or fear.
- A nursing home staff that always seems overworked and too busy. Pay attention to the staff at your loved one’s nursing home. While they may not tell you directly about any problems, the staff may show signs that they cannot adequately care for the seniors in the nursing home. If you notice regular turnover among staff members, this could indicate that staff are overworked or burned out and therefore unable to provide adequate care to residents. Staff members who constantly seem busy may have too few hands to provide adequate attention to every resident. Also note staff members who seem to spend more time chatting with one another than caring for residents, especially if you notice them ignoring residents during your visits.
Seeking Compensation After Nursing Home Neglect
Any time you suspect your loved one suffered neglect in a nursing home, you need an attorney to assist with your legal claim. An attorney can help collect evidence, estimate the compensation your loved one deserves for any injuries they suffered due to that neglect, and aid you in pursuing that compensation, including negotiating with the nursing home or the nursing home’s insurance company.
How much compensation should your loved one receive for nursing home neglect?
Neglect can cause your loved one’s overall health to deteriorate, not to mention leaving them with a much lower quality of life than they should expect while in a nursing home.
Your loved one deserves compensation for their losses, including:
- Compensation for any medical expenses related to the neglect. You may need to take your loved one to the doctor or even to the hospital following suspected neglect in a nursing home. Not only do you want to be sure your loved one receives a full evaluation of their physical state following neglect, you may need to seek treatment for any injuries they suffered due to that neglect. Your loved one may require a hospital stay to help combat symptoms of malnutrition or dehydration, or require rehabilitation or physical therapy to aid in recovery from injuries. Your loved one’s personal injury claim may help provide compensation for those medical expenses.
- Assistance moving into a new facility. After your loved one suffers neglect at the hands of the nursing home staff, you may not want to leave them in the care of those same staff members. In some cases, you may choose to move them to another facility. Their personal injury claim may help pay for the move into that new facility, including the cost of packing and moving personal possessions. In some cases, the claim may also include payment for increased expenses faced due to that move: if the new nursing home is more expensive, for example, the at-fault nursing home may need to make up the difference.
- Compensation for pain and suffering. It can prove difficult to quantify the full suffering your loved one faced due to neglect in a nursing home, especially if your loved one does not want to talk about that suffering. Suffering may include a decline in overall health as well as the emotional anguish of not receiving adequate care—not to mention the physical discomfort that comes with many types of neglect. Consulting an attorney can help you better establish how to quantify pain and suffering associated with nursing home neglect.
Who bears liability for neglect in a nursing home?
Most of the time, the nursing home itself bears primary liability for neglect suffered by its residents. This includes neglect suffered due to inadequate staffing as well as neglect suffered because staff members failed to follow appropriate policies. In some cases, you may need to pursue a personal injury claim against the doctors who treated your loved one during a stay in a nursing home, especially if the nursing home has its own care providers on staff.
Did Your Loved One Suffer Neglect in a Manhattan Nursing Home?
Our experienced nursing home attorneys will evaluate your loved one’s situation, help you better understand your rights and, if needed, advise you about how to pursue compensation from the nursing home on your loved one’s behalf.
New York, NY 10006
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