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Nursing Home Abuse

Lawyers in Connecticut

Connecticut Lawyers Practicing in the area of Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse is a pervasive societal problem that has grown greater in recent years as the "baby boom" generation and their parents grow older.

While many nursing homes present a competent well-run face to the public, they are frequently staffed by overworked, badly trained, and underpaid workers. Moreover, nursing home owners are often under tremendous monetary pressures giving rise to corresponding pressure to cut corners and skimp on training and staff.

This environment of neglect is made more dangerous and troubling when it involves an elderly person in an extremely vulnerable state as a result of old age and declining health inflicted with a wide range of ailments.

Moreover, many elderly people are either unable or unwilling to complain and management is often unaware that a problem exists due to the lack of adequate reporting systems or oversight.

Forms of Abuse

Nursing home abuse can take many forms, including non-physical forms such as verbal abuse or forced isolation.

Emotional abuse may include insults, humiliation, threats, and attempts to frighten the resident; it can also be a crime of omission, as when the resident is ignored, disregarded, and/or isolated against his or her will.

Emotional abuse may include insults, humiliation, threats, and attempts to frighten the resident; it can also be a crime of omission, as when the resident is ignored, disregarded, and/or isolated against his or her will.

Obvious signs of abuse include:
  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • open wounds, sores or cuts
  • burns and abrasions
  • sudden and unexplained change in weight
  • soiling, poor hygiene, smell of urine or feces
  • infections
  • loss of hair
  • torn, stained, or bloody clothing or bedding
Less obvious signs may consist of:
  • listlessness or unresponsiveness
  • infantile or other strange behaviors
  • physical or emotional withdrawal
  • disappearance of personal items
  • sudden and unusual financial transactions

If you note any of these signs you may have questions on what to do. First you should begin by notifying the facility management. Of course, just because your loved one is displaying possible signs of abuse doesn't mean someone directly abused them. However, it could be one of many signs of nursing home neglect.

More Red Flags

If you arrive at a facility to visit a resident during regular visiting hours and the staff refuses or delays access - or a staff member refuses to leave the room during your visit - these may be signs that they are hiding something. Again it is important to begin by registering your concerns with the management, but if you are not satisfied, you have the legal right to file a complaint with the appropriate agency. And, of course, you can always, and are urged to, make use of your right to legal counsel.

Legal Remedy

Fortunately, there are a number of legal remedies that Spinella & Associates has employed on behalf of clients who have been the victim of nursing home negligence.

For example, The Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA), passed in 1987, provides federal statutory protection for residents of certified nursing facilities with a list of rights set forth in Federal Regulations at 42 C.F.R. § 483.10. Prior to the Act, there was no minimum standard of care. The Act is comprehensive and provides numerous rights. Among the more pertinent are:

  • The right to freedom from abuse, mistreatment, and neglect
  • The right to freedom from physical restraints
  • The right to privacy
  • The right to accommodation of medical, physical, psychological, and social needs
  • The right to participate in the review of one's care plan, and to be fully informed in advance about any changes in care, treatment, or change of status in the facility; and
  • The right to voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal.

Unfortunately, victims are often not capable of expressing pain or reporting the neglect or abuse on their own. If you think there may be nursing home abuse or neglect occurring in a loved one's life, then you may be right.

If you engage our firm to act on behalf of you and your loved one, it doesn't mean that you will necessarily have to go to court. In fact, a nursing home abuse attorney with experience and knowledge of nursing home and elder abuse issues may be able to help negotiate an appropriate settlement without going to trial. But regardless of whether you expect to file a lawsuit, to have the best chance of obtaining appropriate compensation it is a good idea to obtain legal help quickly.

Don't Delay

Statutes of limitations--that is, the period of time after an injury or incident in which one can file a suit--vary based on the type of injury (whether physical, emotional or financial) and on the location in which the abuse or nursing home neglect took place. Federal legislation may also affect how long you and your loved one have to pursue compensation through the court system, as well as the type and amount of damages that can be awarded.

Because laws and regulations regarding nursing homes are complex and vary from state to state, it is important to consult with a nursing home abuse lawyer who has experience in dealing with nursing home cases where your loved one resides -- a factor to consider if the nursing home is in another state. It is also important to select a nursing home abuse attorney who has experience with and is knowledgeable about the many issues--medical, social, financial, and legal--that affect seniors and their families. In addition to expertise in these matters, Spinella & Associates has access to expert witnesses (physicians, therapists, nutritionists, etc.) who can review the situation and testify as to the quality of care provided by the nursing home. This is vital if you end up needing to file a nursing home medical malpractice suit on behalf of your loved one. If the unthinkable has happened, and you suspect that the death of your loved one was caused or hastened by abuse or neglect in a nursing home, we can help you determine whether or not to file a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit.

We Can Help

Spinella & Associates is a qualified nursing home abuse law firm waiting to help you and your family receive the justice you deserve.

To learn more about our experience and how we can help you, please call us at 860 728-4900.