How to Report Nursing Home Abuse
Imagine you have a loved one in a nursing home and start noticing signs of neglect and abuse. Maybe they have unexplained bruises, bedsores, or changes in behavior. Perhaps you have noticed staff members being rude or dismissive, or your loved one seems afraid to speak up. What can you do to protect them, and where can you turn for help?
The elderly are one of our most vulnerable populations, and they deserve to spend their golden years being treated with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, sometimes the very people we trust to care for them are the ones that hurt them the most.
Nursing home abuse is a serious problem that can take many forms, including physical, emotional, sexual, financial, and neglect. It violates a vulnerable person’s basic human rights and can have devastating consequences.
If you believe your loved one has suffered nursing home abuse, take immediate action to protect them by calling our law firm. The nursing home abuse lawyers at Rainwater, Holt, & Sexton can help you protect your loved one from suffering future abuse while getting them the justice they deserve.
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- The Steps for Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
- Information to Provide When Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
- Who to Report Nursing Home Abuse To
- Arkansas Resources for Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
- Legal Options for Victims of Nursing Home Abuse
- The Benefits of Pursuing Legal Action
- Supporting Victims of Nursing Home Abuse
- Case Results
- Contact Us
The Steps for Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse causes physical, emotional, and psychological harm to elderly residents who trust and depend on nursing home staff. Their vulnerability makes them more susceptible to various forms of abuse.
If you suspect nursing home abuse, you must report this abuse immediately and remove them from danger. If you’re unsure how to proceed, call our law firm immediately.
The first step in reporting nursing home abuse in Arkansas is to ensure your loved one’s safety. You must remove them from harm’s way and take them to receive medical attention. Going to the E.R. or a trusted family physician can ensure they receive the medical treatment needed to begin healing. Your loved one’s safety is paramount and the top priority.
Documenting the abuse is a critical step that can help the authorities investigate your case. Without documentation, it might be your loved one’s word vs. the nursing home’s. When looking for documentation of abuse, gather evidence such as photographs or witness statements. If you cannot gather this information on your own, our law firm can do it for you.
The next step is to report the abuse to the appropriate authorities. In Arkansas, nursing home abuse can be reported to the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Adult Protective Services, or the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. Provide as much information as possible when reporting the abuse.
After reporting the abuse, follow up on the report to ensure that appropriate action is taken. This may involve contacting the agency to inquire about the status of the investigation or to provide additional information. Be tenacious and persistent to keep your report at the front of their minds.
Information to Provide When Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
When reporting nursing home abuse, what you put in your report will help agencies and law enforcement take the appropriate actions. When creating a detailed report, include the following information:
- Your loved one’s name and contact information
- The name and contact information of the nursing home where the abuse occurred
- Type of abuse suffered and details about the abuse you’re reporting
- Dates of the abuse
- The names of any witnesses
- Any other relevant information that can help in the investigation, such as previous incidents or complaints of abuse, and any medical or physical evidence of abuse
By providing this information, the authorities can investigate the abuse thoroughly and take appropriate action to ensure the safety and well-being of the victim.
Who to Report Nursing Home Abuse To
If you suspect nursing home abuse, it’s important to report it to the appropriate authorities as soon as possible. If you are unsure of where to report the abuse, just call our law firm, and we will help you through this process. Our lawyers know where to file reports and can take this burden off your shoulders, so you can focus on your loved one.
Here are the people and agencies where you can report nursing home abuse:
- State Agencies. Every state has an agency tasked with investigating and regulating nursing homes. This agency is often called the Department of Health or the Department of Aging. Contact your local health department for assistance reporting nursing home abuse to the appropriate state agency.
- Law Enforcement Agencies. You must report abuse to your local law enforcement agency when a crime has been committed. Law enforcement agencies have the power to investigate criminal activity and can arrest perpetrators. Criminal acts like financial abuse might result in an arrest for embezzlement or fraud, while physical abuse might warrant an arrest for assault and battery.
- Ombudsman Programs. Ombudsman programs advocate for residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. They provide information about the resident’s rights and help resolve disputes between residents and nursing home staff. To report nursing home abuse to the ombudsman program, call the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center at 1-800-677-1116.
- Long-term Care Ombudsman Programs. Long-term care ombudsman programs are similar to regular ombudsman programs, but they are specifically designed for residents of long-term care facilities. Long-term care ombudsmen can help residents resolve complaints and investigate abuse or neglect incidents. To report nursing home abuse to the long-term care ombudsman program, you can contact your state’s ombudsman office.
- Adult protective services agencies. Adult protective services agencies are responsible for investigating allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of vulnerable adults. To report nursing home abuse to adult protective services, contact your state’s agency or the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116.
- Professional licensing boards. Licensed professionals, including nurses, doctors, and social workers, staff nursing homes. If you suspect a licensed professional has engaged in abuse or neglect, you can report the abuse to their professional licensing board. Search online or contact your state’s health department to find the appropriate licensing board.
Arkansas Resources for Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
- Department of Human Services, Division of Aging, Adult, and Behavioral Health Services – 501-682-2441
- Department of Health, Office of Long Term Care – 501-682-1807
- State Police – 501-618-8000
- Attorney General’s Office – 501-682-2007
- Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program – 501-682-2441
- Adult Protective Services – 800-482-8049
- State Board of Nursing – 501-686-2700
Legal Options for Victims of Nursing Home Abuse
As a victim of nursing home abuse, your loved one has several legal options. To explore those options best, call Rainwater, Holt & Sexton to meet with us for a free initial consultation. We can review your case and the details of the abuse or neglect to help you determine the best legal action for you and your family.
Types of Legal Claims
Depending on the specific circumstances of the abuse or neglect, different legal claims may be available to you and your family to seek compensation and justice for the harm caused.
Personal Injury Claims
When a nursing home resident gets hurt due to the negligence or intentional acts of staff or administrators, they can file a personal injury claim. Negligence can take many forms in a nursing home setting, including failure to provide adequate supervision or assistance, neglect of basic hygiene needs, and inadequate staffing levels.
Types of personal injury claims that may arise from nursing home abuse and negligence:
- Wet floors, poor lighting, or cluttered walkways can all cause serious injuries and accidents. If a resident falls due to a lack of supervision or assistance, they may be able to file a personal injury claim.
- Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, can develop when a resident is not turned or repositioned frequently enough, leading to prolonged pressure on the skin. If a nursing home fails to provide adequate care to prevent bedsores, it can be held liable.
- Malnutrition or Dehydration. Nursing home staff have a duty to ensure that residents receive proper nutrition and hydration. When they fail to do so, either because of neglect, understaffing, or inexperienced staff, your loved one may suffer serious and life-threatening injuries.
- Unfortunately, nursing home residents may be physically, sexually, or emotionally abused by staff or other residents. If they suffer abuse in a nursing home or long-term care facility, our injury law firm can help them recover damages for their suffering by filing a personal injury lawsuit or claim.
Medical Malpractice Claims
Medical malpractice claims can arise when a nursing home resident suffers an injury due to a healthcare provider’s negligence. Healthcare providers have a duty to provide a certain standard of care to their patients, and when they fail to meet this duty, patients may suffer harm and may have legal grounds to file a medical malpractice claim.
Types of nursing home incidents that could result in a medical malpractice claim include:
- Inadequate staffing. Nursing homes should provide special medical care and attention to their elderly residents. But sadly, many nursing homes don’t have enough staff to care for their patients properly. Shockingly, up to 95 percent of all nursing facilities in the US are understaffed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When nursing homes don’t have enough staff, it can cause serious harm and injuries to elderly patients and residents who live there.
- Misdiagnosis or Delayed Treatment. Nursing home residents may suffer harm if they do not receive an accurate diagnosis or timely treatment for medical conditions. For example, you might file a medical malpractice lawsuit if your loved one fell and suffered a fractured hip but did not receive medical attention for several hours.
- Medication Errors. Medication errors are a leading cause of nursing home injury. When patients and residents are given the wrong medication or dosage, it can have severe health consequences.
Wrongful Death Claims
When a loved one dies due to abuse or negligence in a nursing home, the family may file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit holding the responsible parties accountable. This might include nursing home caregivers, staff, administrators, or the nursing home itself.
To file a wrongful death claim, family members typically need to demonstrate that the nursing home breached its duty of care and that this breach caused the resident’s death.
Examples of breach of duty of care could include failing to provide adequate medical care, prevent falls or injuries, or supervise or train staff adequately. It may also include intentional abuse or neglect, such as physical or emotional abuse, neglect of basic hygiene or nutrition, or failure to address medical issues.
The Benefits of Pursuing Legal Action
When you file a lawsuit or claim against abusive caregivers and nursing home institutions, you send a message to the responsible parties and their insurers that abuse and neglect will not be tolerated. Through legal action, you can hold these parties accountable for their actions and for the harm your loved one suffered.
Victims of nursing home abuse may be entitled to financial compensation for their injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Pursuing legal action can help victims, and their families obtain the financial compensation they need to move forward.
How Can a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Help?
When someone you love has suffered abuse in a nursing home, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to turn. That’s where we come in. At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, we understand the emotional toll that nursing home abuse has taken on you and your family. That’s why we work tirelessly to help you seek justice and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.
Our lawyers have extensive experience in nursing home abuse cases in Arkansas and will leave no stone unturned as we collect evidence, interview witnesses, and review medical records to build a strong case on your behalf.
Supporting Victims of Nursing Home Abuse
As a caregiver or family member, your main concern is their health and well-being. If you want to support your loved one after suffering nursing home abuse, you can do this in several ways.
Start by actively listening to them. Talk to them about their frustrations or concerns and let them know they are not alone and that what happened to them was NOT their fault.
You and your loved one may also benefit from seeing a professional counselor or therapist. Counseling can help your loved one cope with difficult feelings, such as PTSD, and work through their emotions in a safe and supportive environment.
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Contact Our Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Today
If your loved one suffered abuse in a nursing home or long-term care facility, you need a lawyer on your side to help you seek justice and protect them from further abuse.
At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, we take pride in our home and strive to ensure our neighbors and friends are always supported. With nine offices in Arkansas and Tennessee – Little Rock, Little Rock-Corporate Hill, Springdale, Conway, Hot Springs, Bryant, Jacksonville, Jonesboro, and Memphis we can serve a broad range of communities in the region. Our team is committed to providing exceptional legal representation and support no matter where you’re located.
At our law firm, we believe that justice should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial means. That’s why we offer our services on a contingency fee basis, meaning you only pay us if we win your case. We understand that recovering from nursing home abuse can be challenging, and we’re here to help ease the burden and fight for your loved one’s rights.
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