Knoxville Attorneys Advocate for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Victims
Fighting to keep parents and seniors safe during their golden years
Nursing homes should be a place where your mother, father, aunt, or uncle can enjoy their elder years in good health and with the joy of friends and social activities. Sadly, too many nursing home managers and staff hurt, punish, or take advantage of their patients. Seniors with dementia are especially prone to abuse because of their poor cognitive abilities. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, there are currently close to 50 million seniors. The number is expected to rise to 70 million in just 13 years. As these numbers rise, more and more seniors are expected to spend their last years in nursing home facilities.
Our Knoxville nursing home abuse lawyers explain that filing claims against the home is more than just holding those responsible accountable. Lawsuits also deter nursing homes from harming every other senior in the home. At Banks and Jones, we fight to hold nursing homes to the highest standard of care, and to see justice served for our clients.
Types of nursing home abuse
It is no excuse for a nursing home to say it didn’t actively cause the abuse. If they knew of the abuse and failed to stop it, they are liable. If they should have known a patient might be abused and failed to take precautions, our Knoxville abuse lawyers demand that the home and the abuser be held liable. Examples of precautionary steps include background checks, creating safety protocols and standards, responsible supervision, and constant review of staff performance. The care of the senior should be rotated to increase the awareness of patient symptoms and mistreatment.
There are four types of abuse your loved one can suffer:
- Physical Abuse. This includes physically striking a patient, forcefully restraining a senior, and administering drugs that aren’t required or are beyond the usual dosage. Failure to treat a patient in distress is also physical harm. Physical harm can cause death, require surgeries, shorten a senior’s life, and cause long-term agony and pain,
- Emotional Abuse. This kind of mistreatment can often be as bad, or worse, than physical abuse. Seniors who suffer isolation, depression, anxiety, humiliation, and ridicule require more than just psychological help. They often fail to demand their rights to medication, communication, and the comfort of social communication.
- Sexual abuse. Sadly, too many doctors, nurses, medical staff, and nursing home staff take advantage of the seniors they work with. Sexual abuse includes rape, assault, improper contact, and other misconduct. The emotional scars often stay with the senior for the rest of her/his life.
- Financial abuse. Staff often use their personal relationship with a patient to pressure seniors to sign powers of attorney, wills, withdrawal slips for bank accounts, and other documents against their will. At Banks and Jones, we demand that wrongdoers return any wrongful gains, pay punitive damages, and that procedures be implemented to protect seniors’ income and assets.
Many patients suffer pain due to the negligence of the nursing home. Nursing home rooms, hallways and community areas should be designed to minimize the risk of falls. There should be room for patients with canes, walkers, or in wheelchairs to maneuver. A priority should be placed on cleanliness to reduce the risk of infections. Patient medications should be routinely monitored. Breathing tubes, colostomy bags, and other medical devices should be constantly checked and cleaned. If the doctors neglect your loved one’s needs, you may be able to file a claim for medical malpractice.
Signs of abuse our Knoxville lawyers review in nursing home abuse claim
There are 25 nursing homes in the greater Knoxville area – and some of them are in really bad shape. Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare puts places like Summit View of Farragut and Westmoreland Health and Rehabilitation at much below average in their overall rating, and Concordia – Northhaven and Island Home Park at below average. (You can find a complete list of facilities and rankings here.)
Seniors rely on their loved ones to notice if abuse or neglect is taking place. In some cases, a son or daughter can readily see that his or her parent has broken an arm, is malnourished, or is withdrawing. In other cases, the senior may hide the abuse, or the abuse may be hard to detect.
Some of the many signs of nursing home abuse and neglect are
- Physical abuse:
- Weight loss and malnutrition
- Bruises, broken bones, and cuts
- Hair loss
- Poor hygiene
- Unexplained injuries
- Emotional abuse:
- Lack of communication
- Refusal or unwillingness to leave a room or spend time with others
- Behavioral changes
- Sexual abuse
- Developing a sexually transmitted disease
- Underwear that is torn or stained
- Social withdrawal
- Difficulty walking or sitting
- Financial abuse
- Unusual bank withdrawals
- Payments to medical staff and people who normally wouldn’t be expected to benefit
- Notices for nonpayment of premiums or other default notices
Patient rights in nursing homes
Seniors do have rights that are set forth in federal and state law. Our Knoxville nursing home abuse lawyers fight aggressively to show these rights were violated and that the violation caused your loved one’s pain and suffering.
Nursing homes that receive Medicaid or Medicare for their patients are required, by federal law, to:
- Develop a plan of care for the patient
- Have enough trained staff to treat the patients
- Be prepared to treat common senior ailments and needs
- Provide pharmaceutical services
- Ensure that seniors can make choices about their health care and social activities
Tennessee nursing homes are subject to licensing requirements which regulate building standards, Alzheimer services, infectious and hazardous waste, disaster preparedness, and many other patient safety issues.
Included in the Tennessee licensing law is the requirement that nursing home residents and families be informed of the patient’s rights. These rights include the right to:
- Promote their religious, social, and psychological well being
- Receive and send unopened mail
- Meet with and see anyone privately
- Be free from physical or chemical restraints
- Informed consent for medical treatments
- Choose their medical services including doctors and pharmacy
- Voice grievances
Patients and families should get a written copy of these rights.
Talk to a respected Knoxville nursing home abuse and neglect attorney now
Don’t let your parent or loved one suffer in silence. At Banks and Jones, we take immediate action to stop the abuse by filling a lawsuit and notifying the proper agencies. We fight tirelessly for seniors because we know everyone deserves to enjoy their remaining years with dignity, respect, and without fear of harm. We meet with seniors in convenient locations. To discuss your claim please phone us at 865.407.2122 or contact us today.