Empathetic Chattanooga Nursing Home Injury Attorneys Helping Victims of Misconduct and Neglect
Our dependable legal team stands by your side after nursing home abuse
Your elderly family member does not have to have visible bruises to be a victim of nursing home abuse. The Chattanooga nursing home injury lawyers at Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law strive to educate families on the many ways in which abuse can occur.
Unfortunately, abusers often use fear and intimidation to keep residents quiet. In most cases of abuse, it is the family members who are ultimately responsible for bringing the mistreatment to light. If you are worried about your loved one’s behavior, and you think that abuse or neglect may be taking place, do not hesitate to act on your suspicions.
Examples of common injuries in nursing homes
There are many types of injuries that can happen to nursing home residents. Physical abuse is perhaps the most obvious form, but staff members can also engage in the subtler types of emotional abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and theft. If you believe your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, there are signs you can look for to help confirm your suspicions.
Neglect occurs when a nursing home employee withholds basic care in order to punish or intimidate a resident. For example, denial of food and water, medication, treatment, social interaction, phone calls, and visitation are all considered forms of neglect. It might also include not changing an immobile patient’s position or not providing adequate medical attention when needed.
Injuries and medical conditions caused by neglect are:
- Rapid weight loss
- Unexplained medical conditions
When you visit your loved one, look for signs of unsanitary conditions, such as unchanged bed sheets, dirty bathrooms, and pest infestations. These are all red flags.
Physical abuse occurs when a nursing home staff member inflicts physical harm on a resident. This can include hitting, kicking, slapping, restraining, shoving, and over- or under-medicating. Signs of physical abuse could include:
- Scratches, wounds, and/or welts
- Broken bones
- Unexplained marks on the body
- Swollen body parts
- Head and facial injuries
If your loved one was unexpectedly taken to the ER or has some unexplained injuries, this may be cause for concern.
An elderly resident may become a victim of emotional abuse if a staff member uses degrading language, name-calling, threats, and other intimidation tactics to control them. This type of abuse may also coexist along with physical abuse, for example, when a staff member threatens to harm a resident’s family members if they “tell.” Your friend or relative could be experiencing emotional abuse if he or she is:
- Withdrawing from family or friends
- Seems agitated or afraid during visits
- Reluctant to speak in staff members’ presence
- Afraid to be touched
- Wandering around the premises or trying to escape the home
- Biting his or her nails, or displaying other signs of nerves
- Isolating him or herself
You know your loved one best. If his or her behavior suddenly changes, be concerned and aware. Do your best to address his or her emotional needs.
While it may seem unthinkable, sexual predators working in nursing homes may prey on the weaknesses of residents and use their medical conditions to take advantage of them. In some cases, if administrative persons failed to do thorough background checks, hiring registered sex offenders or criminal staff, they may be held responsible for the abuse as well. Signs of sexual abuse include:
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Bruising, fractures, wounds, or welts
- Isolation, withdrawal, and lack of communicativeness
- Signs of restraint
- Sudden behavioral changes
- Fear of staff members
Theft occurs more frequently than you might think in nursing homes. Staff members are often found to be responsible for stealing small personal belongings, using extortion to gain money or belongings, or tricking residents into handing over life savings, benefits, and other assets. If you notice the following warning signs, your loved one may be financially exploited by staff members:
- New credit cards opened in his or her name
- Strange withdrawals from bank accounts
- Changes to your loved one’s power of attorney
- Missing items from the room or missing money
Turn to our compassionate Chattanooga nursing home injury attorneys for help
If you are uncomfortable with the way your loved one is being treated and you suspect abuse or neglect, talk to our Chattanooga nursing home abuse lawyers immediately. We can discuss your concerns, begin a full investigation, and make sure your loved one is moved to safety. Please contact us or call us today at 423-756-7923. We have been helping clients in Chattanooga and Cleveland, TN, in North Georgia, and all the surrounding counties since 1945.