When a nursing home harms a resident who it’s supposed to care for, the resident’s family needs a nursing home lawyer Brookhaven GA trusts. Nursing homes—particularly those who mistreat their residents—often try hard to hide the evidence. They may falsify medical records, conceal the names of witnesses, and create shell corporations so that the families of residents can’t figure out who did what. Fighting through that coverup takes know-how and hard work, which is why families in need turn to a nursing home lawyer Brookhaven GA relies upon.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
As a nursing home lawyer Brookhaven GA turns to, we know the signs of nursing home neglect or abuse. Here are some of the signs:
- Pressure sores. Pressure sores, also known as decubitus ulcers, often show that the nursing home isn’t taking care of its residents. When a resident has to spend a lot of time in bed or in a chair—because the person is older, disabled, or both—the nursing home has the responsibility to turn, move, or reposition that resident every few hours. If a nursing home fails to do that, the person’s skin can break down. If the nursing home doesn’t then provide the right medical care, the skin problems can turn into open wounds. The wounds—called pressure sores, pressure ulcers, or decubitus ulcers—can be several inches wide and deep. They are very painful and can give off an unpleasant odor.
- Dehydration. Obviously, nursing homes should give their residents enough water—but sometimes they don’t. Hydration is important both for health purposes and for comfort, because nobody likes to be chronically thirsty. When a nursing home resident lacks the ability to get water for himself or herself, it is the responsibility of the nursing home to provide it. But at bad nursing homes, the owners won’t hire enough nurses to keep the residents hydrated. Sometimes, in fact, nursing homes will leave a glass of water on the bedside table of a resident who is desperately thirsty, but lacks the ability to reach and lift the glass. So the dehydrated resident must stare at the glass that he or she desperately wants and needs, but cannot reach. It is torture.
- Fingernails and toenails. As a nursing home lawyer Brookhaven GA turns to, we have learned to think about residents’ fingernails and toenails. When a nursing home is failing to care for its residents, one indicator may be nail care. In bad nursing homes, fingernails or toenails may be left uncut and allowed to grow uncontrolled. They can become ingrown, which hurts and can lead to infection. It also shows that the nursing home was ignoring its resident.
- Drops and falls. When nursing homes don’t provide enough nurses to care for their residents, residents may be left unattended and may fall. Or nursing home staff, who should help residents move from beds to wheelchairs and back again, may drop residents. Drops like this can break bones, which is obviously painful and harmful. Broken bones can also lead to hospitalization and other problems down the road.
When a company decides to take care of older residents, the nursing home’s ownership has a moral and legal responsibility to do it right. Among other things, that means hiring enough nurses to care for people. With bad nursing homes, however, owners may skimp on hiring nurses so they can keep more money in their own pockets. As any nursing home lawyer Brookhaven GA trusts can tell you, the consequence of putting profits over safety, and not hiring enough nurses, is that the residents don’t get the care they need and deserve.
Fraud upon Taxpayers
On top of harming the residents they’re supposed to care for, bad nursing homes may defraud American taxpayers. As a nursing home lawyer Brookhaven GA relies upon, we have learned to look at how much money the nursing home is receiving from taxpayers through the Medicare program. Often, nursing homes who neglect their residents report to Medicare that they have lots of very ill residents, which means that the nursing home owners will receive a lot of money from Medicare. But then the nursing home doesn’t hire enough nurses to take care of all the ill residents that the owners have reported. That means two things—first, it means that the residents aren’t getting the medical care they need, and second, it means that taxpayers aren’t getting the care for senior citizens that they’re paying for.
Nursing home abuse and neglect is a serious problem—and sorting through the nursing home’s coverup can be a big job. That is why families in need of legal help should turn to a nursing home lawyer Brookhaven GA trusts.