Bloomington Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
When elderly loved ones are put in the care of a nursing home, families expect the facility to provide adequate care that ensures the safety of its residents. Unfortunately, many facility operators fall short of their duty to provide that reasonable standard of care.
If you believe that your loved one has suffered abuse or negligence in a nursing home, you may like to consider contacting a lawyer about your concerns. At TSR Injury Law, we have a team of lawyers that are dedicated to seeking justice on behalf of nursing home abuse victims and a number of our attorneys have been selected within the top five percent in the state by Super Lawyers, including firm partners Charles D. Slane and Rich Ruohonen.
Contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation. We are available 24/7 and there are no upfront fees if we take on your case.
Call (612) TSR-TIME or complete our contact form.
Nursing Home Resident Rights in Minnesota
The rights of nursing home residents are protected by federal and state law. Each state has a specific bill of rights when it comes to nursing home laws. In Minnesota, these rights include, but are not limited to the following:
- The right to maintain their dignity and receive proper, courteous care in a safe environment
- The right to receive private medical care as needed
- The right to choose their own activities and create their own schedules
- The right to receive medical care outside of a nursing home facility
- The right to see their medical records, know in advance of the care and treatment he or she will receive, and refuse any medical care
Nursing home facilities that disregard a resident’s rights and cause him or her harm may be held accountable for abuse. That is why we recommend contacting an experienced Bloomington nursing home abuse attorney at our firm so that we may take the necessary steps in protecting the rights of your loved one. We are available to discuss your situation during a free and confidential consultation.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Signs to Look Out For
It is unfortunate that elder abuse is a common occurrence in the U.S. Approximately 1 in 10 adults ages 60 and older have become the victim to one or more forms of elder abuse.
It may be difficult to detect abuse right away however, there are certain signs to look out for. Our Bloomington nursing home abuse attorneys are prepared to handle cases involving a wide variety of abuse, such as:
- Physical abuse – Physical abuse may leave visible cuts and unexplained bruises on a resident from being hit, kicked, slapped or from other types of physical force. A resident may show a submissive persona around the abuser and may isolate themselves from others.
- Emotional abuse – This type of abuse may consist of threats, harassment and intimidation caused by yelling, swearing at your loved one and threatening him or her. A resident who is being emotionally abused may show signs similar to physical abuse, such as isolation and sudden shifts in behavior, as well as being non-communicative or unresponsive.
- Neglect – Neglect occurs when staff members fail to provide quality care to a resident and ignoring a resident’s basic needs like food, water, hygiene and comfort.
- Financial abuse – This form of abuse involves the unlawful and unethical control or access to a resident’s financial accounts. Signs to look out for include unusual banking transactions and uncommon discussions of money between a resident and staff member. Tragically, not all of the risks that residents face are natural consequences of old age or illness; some are posed by the nursing home staff members themselves. In an alarming study published by the American Society on Aging, 25% of interviewed nursing home workers suspected their co-workers of theft.
Turning a Blind Eye to Theft
Unscrupulous nursing home staff members may cheat or steal from residents for a variety of reasons.
- If they are having an ongoing conflict with one resident, for example, they may act out of a misguided need for “revenge.”
- They may also feel that residents’ poor memories or their own low wages somehow justify their actions.
- Sometimes an employee will befriend a rich resident in hopes of talking the resident into giving them large sums of cash.
Of course, none of these are excuses for exploiting innocent patients.
While dishonest nursing home workers cannot blame anyone but themselves for their actions, they are not always the only responsible parties. In many cases, nursing home management had reason to believe there was theft occurring in their facility, but failed to respond adequately. For example, they may have disciplined guilty employees without contacting the police or taking steps to end the theft.
- Sexual abuse – This type of abuse involves any form of forced and nonconsentual sexual contact between a resident and staff member. This may include coerced nudity, unwanted touching, sexual assault, rape, and nude photography.
Other signs of nursing home abuse to keep an eye out for include:
- Unusual behavior
- Trouble sleeping
- Overmedication– it is very important for nursing home staff to be fully informed about general prescription drug information, as well as each patient’s individual needs. Over-medicating and under-medicating patients can each have serious effects on their health and quality of life.
Incorrect Drug Use: Putting Patients’ Health at Risk
Senior citizens take prescription drugs for a variety of health conditions. The prescription drugs most commonly used in nursing homes treat gastrointestinal problems, cardiovascular problems, and mental health concerns. Any misuse of these drugs can have disastrous results for a patient.
Depending on the drug, as well as the individual patient’s overall health, potential consequences of overmedicating can include:
- Difficulty thinking clearly or communicating their thoughts
- Liver damage
- Trips and falls
- Increased risk of addiction (especially with painkillers and sedatives)
The consequences of under-medicating a problem, on the other hand, can include:
- Unnecessary pain
- Organ damage
- Spread of preventable infections
A Minnesota nursing home negligence lawyer can help if your loved one has suffered painful consequences like these.
- Easily agitated
- Emotional fluctuations
- Poor hygiene– at the very least, a nursing home should provide the following for all patients:
- Clean clothes and bedding
- Sleeping and eating quarters free of roaches, mice, and other pests
- Proper measures to prevent the spread of lice
- Clean floors clear of clutter, liquid, and other slip and fall hazards
- Staff well-trained in assisting residents with their personal hygiene
Unlike isolated cases of abuse or neglect, unhygienic conditions in nursing care are usually a systemic problem. In other words, they are not a case of one or two reckless nursing home workers. Instead, the problem usually lies with the way the home is managed, from hiring new workers to supervising them, to setting cleanliness standards for the facility.
- Bed sores or pressure ulcers– are a persistent problem in hospitals and nursing homes and the most common injury suffered by neglected nursing home residents. They can be caused whenever pressure is applied to one part of the body without relief for long periods of time. Heat, humidity, and incontinence all increase the risk of developing bedsores. However, these injuries are usually very easy to prevent.
The Risks of Pressure Ulcers
Bed sores are formed when unconscious or mobility-impaired patients are not shifted into different positions on a regular basis, or when patients’ restraints are not removed or shifted often enough. They can be made worse when a patient sweats or is incontinent.
Like burns, bed sores are divided into different stages depending on the depth of the damage done. The stages are:
- Stage 1: Only the outermost layer of skin is affected. At this stage, the sore is only a red patch that does not turn white when pressure is applied.
- Stage 2: The epidermis and possibly the dermis are damaged. The sore may become a painful blister or lesion.
- Stage 3: The damage extends through all layers of skin. This makes it difficult for the pressure ulcer to heal, increasing the chances of infection
- Stage 4: Muscle, tendon, and sometimes even bone tissue is affected. This stage is very painful and has a high risk for infection, blood sepsis, and other severe complications.
- Unexplained cuts, bruises or marks
- Malnutrition– the can be many reasons that senior citizens are at risk for malnutrition. Nursing home management can be held accountable if they fail to recognize and respond to problems like:
- Drug side effects causing nausea or loss of appetite
- Depression and other mental conditions that can affect eating habits
- A diet lacking important vitamins and minerals
- Chewing and swallowing difficulties
- Chronic conditions causing poor nutrient absorption
When malnutrition is not treated effectively, the consequences for a person’s health can be severe. A lack of adequate nutrition can:
- Damage a person’s immune system, increasing the risk of illness and infection
- Interfere with cognitive functioning
- Create loss of important fat and muscle tissue
The medical care needed to address these health problems can be costly.
- Stained or bloody clothing
- Changes in weight
Any form of abuse can drastically damage a person’s health and well-being. Reach out to our firm to review your situation and discuss your legal options. There is no risk in calling us.
Call us now at (612) TSR-TIME to set up your free consultation.
The Importance of Effective Training
Many nursing homes attempt to draw in new clients by boasting about their medical technology, luxurious facilities, or beautiful décor. However, the most important asset a nursing home can have is a well-trained and caring staff. Without this basic resource, high quality amenities barely matter.
Nursing home managers have a very important responsibility to make sure that all their workers are prepared for their jobs. Even if they hire people who have previous experience, they still need to train the new employees in the policies of their particular facility. If they do not, even talented workers may find themselves unsure of what to do in unexpected situations.
Contact TSR Injury Law today if your loved one has been injured because workers were not trained to:
- Recognize and respond to abuse or fraud
- Follow correct procedures in an emergency
- Provide adequate nutrition and hygiene for residents
- Work with residents who have special needs
- Prevent medication errors
With the assistance of a qualified attorney, you and your loved one could receive compensation for your medical expenses and pain and suffering.
How Can a Lawyer from TSR Injury Law Help?
If your loved one has suffered from nursing home abuse, it is important to notify the proper authorities and then contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss and determine if you are eligible to take legal action.
If you have a case and decide to proceed with our firm, we will work to prepare a strong argument for your damages claim, which may include conducting a detailed investigation of the facility, it’s staff and other areas that may benefit the case, which may include collecting medical reports, photographic evidence, witness accounts, and communicating with the nurses, staff members and caregivers.
Once enough evidence is collected, we will determine the value of damages and fight to obtain it. Depending on the specifics of your case, we may be able to help you recover the following forms of compensation: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are quantifiable damages, such as hospital bills, doctor’s visits, emergency services, prescription medications, assistive medical equipment and other medical expenses. Non-economic damages on the other hand do not have a specified dollar amount, such as physical pain and suffering caused by the abuse and emotional distress experienced after the abuse.
Our Bloomington nursing home abuse lawyers are also prepared to go to trial and represent your loved one throughout every step of the legal process. Building a strong nursing home abuse case is difficult, but our legal team has the experience, knowledge and the dedication to help.
Holding Negligent Nursing Homes Accountable
When a resident experiences abuse or neglect, the nursing home facility may be held liable for the following reasons:
- Negligent hiring – It is important that the nursing home takes proper measures in ensuring that the people they hire are descent and reliable. Failing to run a thorough background check can lead to hiring an abusive or negligent person.
- Understaffing – Not having adequate staff to look after each patient’s needs can lead to neglect and abuse. Staff may be overworked which could potentially lead to bigger issues such as medication errors.
- Inadequate training – Many residents require special care, especially if they have certain mobility restrictions. It is important that the facility properly train its staff to care for these patients and ensure the safety of each resident.
The nursing home facility is required to maintain a safe space. If abuse or neglect is taking place, the supervisor should be aware of it and make proper decisions to report and put an end to the abuse.
Where Can I Report Nursing Home Abuse in Minnesota?
If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of abuse, you may be concerned about his or her well-being and how to get them out of the situation. There are certain steps you can take to begin the process in protecting your loved one.
Speak With Members of the Facility
You can speak to the facility administrator directly and discuss your concerns. It may be possible that the administrator is not aware of the abuse and they can take measures to prevent further abuse.
Contact the Area Ombudsman
This is an advocacy agency that investigates complaints, such as nursing home abuse. The Office of Ombudsman for Older Minnesotans can be reached by calling one of two numbers listed on the site.
File an Official Complaint
Contact the Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center to make an official compliant. The center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It may be difficult knowing what to do in this situation. At TSR Injury Law, we can handle these steps on your behalf and ensure that this matter is taken seriously for the sake of your loved one’s health.
Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form to get started.
Schedule Your Free Consultation Today
It’s important for nursing home abuse victims and their families to understand that residents have rights and that help is available.
Schedule your free and confidential consultation with one of our lawyers today. There are no upfront fees or costs if we agree to handle your case and we only get paid if we recover compensation on your behalf.
Our office is located less than 15 minutes from the Minnesota Masonic Home, a nursing home in Bloomington with nearly a century of service.
We are available 24/7 to take your call or chat online. Ph: (612) TSR-TIME.