westwood Nursing Home Abuse lawyer
The dictionary may define “home” as “the place where one lives,” yet the ideal home is more than a place to eat and sleep. It should be a place where you feel comfortable, safe, and valued. Most nursing homes cultivate a friendly, supportive image. No facility would advertise abuse as a perk of living there. Yet, in 2019, 1 in 6 people aged 60 or older experienced abuse in a community setting. Adults with disabilities are 1.5 times more likely to be a victim of violence than non-disabled peers. Mental health issues quadruple the risk.
If your family member experienced abuse in a Massachusetts nursing home, you might wonder if anything can be done. The answer is yes. At Jason Stone Injury Lawyers, we use Massachusetts state law to protect the victims of nursing home abuse.
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What Rights Nursing Home Residents Have in Norfolk County, Massachusetts
A nursing home should have respect for its residents, regardless of their physical or mental conditions. You should be aware of your loved one’s rights. Medicare and Medicaid are federal programs that provide health coverage for Americans who are disabled or over the age of 65. When these programs certify a nursing home, they offer the following protections under federal and state law.
A home free from neglect
To neglect someone is to fail to care for that individual properly. Neglect might include doing something that should not be done, such as leaving an incontinent person in soiled bed linens for too long. Or if a nurse did not provide water for patients and they became dehydrated, this would be an example of neglect.
Nursing home staff have a big responsibility. Taking care of elderly, disabled, or sick patients is a big challenge. The management of a residential facility might try to explain their neglect, claiming that they are short-staffed or underfunded. The truth is, though, that there is no excuse for treating patients poorly.
Basic needs that can’t be neglected are:
- Food, according to dietary and religious restrictions
- Water, with assistance to drink it, if necessary
- Clothing appropriate to the temperature
- Hygiene (i.e. baths, oral care, grooming)
- Essential medical care
A place free from abuse
Treating someone improperly, especially by intentionally causing injury, is abuse. According to the CDC, there are 4 main categories of abuse:
- Psychological abuse affects the emotions, inflicting fear, pain, anguish, or distress on the victim. A person could do this with words, as in the case of someone who insults a patient with the intent of humiliating that person. Or it could be through a non-verbal action, such as isolating the patient from friends or family as punishment.
- Physical abuse may include hitting, kicking, slapping, shoving, burning, and handling patients roughly. This type of abuse causes impairment, injury, pain, and sometimes death.
- Sexual abuse is the “unwanted sexual interaction of any kind,” ranging from sexual harassment to penetration.
- Financial abuse is the “the illegal, unauthorized, or improper use of an elder’s money, benefits, belongings, property, or assets for the benefit of someone other than the older adult.” Your loved one has the right to have personal space and individual belongings.
Even if a nursing home is not certified by federal programs, they still have a responsibility to provide care that meets reasonable standards. A nursing home abuse attorney can help you protect your loved ones from nursing home abuse. Call the Westwood law office of Jason Stone Injury Lawyers at (781) 242-2311 or stop in for a visit to discuss your legal options with an attorney.
Nursing home abuse and neglect can be difficult to spot. Sometimes the victim is unwilling or unable to tell loved ones what is going on. Being aware of the signs can help you to identify and take action against abuse.
Keep an eye out for the following indications of abuse:
- Sudden changes in appearance or behavior – Has your family member stopped taking part in activities he or she once enjoyed? Have you noticed significant weight loss? Abuse is a trauma, so your relative may develop coping behaviors to deal with it. He or she may become withdrawn, aggressive, or agitated, or may start strange behaviors like rocking back and forth.
- Unexplained medical issues – Neglect may lead to preventable medical conditions, such as bedsores, malnutrition, or dehydration. Bruises, burns, cuts, and scars might indicate the presence of physical abuse. You might also look for signs that your family member has been restrained or isolated (e.g. broken eyeglasses, torn clothing).
- Poor hygiene – Hygiene and grooming are basic rights. Unwashed hair, soiled clothing, or unbrushed teeth are signs of elder neglect.
How to Detect Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Why You Should Report Nursing Home Abuse
People live in nursing homes when they are no longer capable of taking care of themselves. Therefore, they are most likely unable to prevent or stop elder abuse on their own. According to the National Institute on Aging, “someone needs to step in and help” them.
You should definitely alert the authorities if you suspect abuse. Nursing home abuse often gets progressively worse over time. Your loved one’s life could be in danger.
If the danger is urgent, call 911 or your local police station to get help. Chances are, if your family member is being abused, other nursing home residents may also be in danger. Remember, it is not your responsibility to prove abuse or neglect. Professionals can investigate and take action to protect your loved one from harm.
Once abuse is proved, you can recover damages. Of course, no amount of money can undo the harm caused by abuse. But financial compensation can provide the means for you to transfer your family member to a better healthcare facility.
Compensation may be awarded for:
- Medical expenses – After abuse, medical treatment might be necessary. If your relative needs surgery, occupational therapy, or prescriptions to recover his or her health, you can sue for compensation to cover the cost.
- Pain and suffering damages – Physical abuse can cause permanent disabilities. And long after the bumps and bruises fade, the emotional scars remain. Non-economic damages cover the intangible effects of neglect and abuse.
To claim compensation, Massachusetts sets a deadline called the statute of limitations. In general, our law firm must file a lawsuit or claim within 3 years of the time the incident occurred (or when you first became aware of it), depending on the circumstances.
Acting quickly is best in abuse cases. An attorney will need to collect evidence and documentation to build a strong case. As time passes, it becomes more difficult to prove what really happened. If you wait too long, you could lose your opportunity for justice for your loved one forever.
A compassionate nursing home abuse attorney at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers can let you know about state laws that concern neglect and abuse in nursing homes. Call us for free at (800) 577-5188. You can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or if you prefer, schedule a free consultation using this convenient contact form.
How Massachusetts Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Protect The Rights of Nursing Home Residents
Neither you nor your loved one will ever again have peace of mind if the nursing home is failing its duty. Our law firm is determined to help as many people mistreated by Massachusetts nursing homes as possible.
When you placed your relative in a nursing facility, you probably never imagined that you would need legal services. Not many people look forward to hiring a lawyer or going to court. But to stop nursing home misconduct once and for all, you might have to.
Confronting abuse is never easy. The goal of our law firm is to make things as easy and comfortable for you as we can. An injury attorney can take steps to hold Massachusetts nursing homes accountable for their mistreatment of the loved one you entrusted to their care.
The team at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers understands that you may be feeling angry, sad, and stressed out about your situation. We are here to listen to your concerns. Schedule a free initial consultation, without any obligation, at (800) 577-5188 or fill out this brief contact form. We can chat by Skype, Google Hangouts, or FaceTime – whatever is best for you.
Protecting Your Loved One's Rights
We understand that the discovery of nursing home abuse or neglect can have devastating effects on families, and we’re here to help you through this difficult time. If you believe your loved one was a victim of abuse in their long-term care facility, our legal team at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers can give you the help and personalized support you need. That is the Stone Cold Guarantee®.
Our commitment to your well-being and satisfaction is summed up in our Stone Cold Guarantee®. Our attorneys are ready to do the heavy lifting so you can focus on getting better.
Apprehensive about the costs of an attorney? Don’t be – we review nursing home abuse cases for free to help you determine if a case can be built to prove your claim. We handle these cases on a contingency fee basis so you will not owe us attorney’s fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf. With our Stone Cold Guarantee®, you can be sure you’re getting the high quality legal representation your family deserves. So don’t wait—contact Jason Stone today to see how we can protect your loved one’s rights.
I have never had such a good experience. He was fast, informative, responded to emails, and got the job done. I have no reservations in recommending him; you will be in good hands.
JESSICA L. | FORMER CLIENT