The state of Oklahoma is home to over a hundred nursing homes with thousands of residents. In and around Oklahoma City, there are over thirty different options available to families who have made the tough decision of entrusting the care of their loved ones to a long-term facility.
While most facilities take excellent care of their residents, there are others that do anything but. An astounding one in six elderly nursing home residents has experienced some type of abuse or neglect each year.
Elderly abuse and neglect can sometimes be difficult to detect. However, if you suspect anything untoward going on with your loved one, an Oklahoma City nursing home abuse lawyer could help you get to the bottom of it before any more maltreatment occurs. Call today to schedule a consultation and see how a compassionate attorney can help.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
When people think of abuse, they commonly think of physical or emotional abuse. These types of abuses are common in everyday life and in nursing homes, as do sexual and financial abuse. However, there are other types of abuse that are more specific to nursing homes, such as neglect and chemical restraint.
Neglect occurs when the nursing home fails to ensure that its residents are well-fed, clean, do not get bed sores, or otherwise cared for to an appropriate degree given their condition. Chemical restraint involves improperly medicating a resident to make them more docile.
Common Injuries of Nursing Home Neglect
Bed sores, or pressure ulcers, are one of the most common injuries which result from neglect. Pressure ulcers are not a natural effect of aging, but on the contrary, are normally preventable with basic hygiene measures.
Bed sores tend to develop on the boniest areas of the body, such as the hips, ankles, and wrists. They may take weeks or months to develop, depending on the individual. In addition to being extremely painful, bed sores can also lead to serious medical complications, including:
- Cancer – Chronic wounds that never heal, called Marjolin’s ulcers, can develop into an aggressive type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.
- Cellulitis – Cellulitis is a bacterial skin infection capable of spreading rapidly and causing death.
- Osteomyelitis – Osteomyelitis is a bone infection which typically requires surgical treatment to remove the infected bone.
- Sepsis – Sepsis occurs when bacteria from open bed sore wounds passes into the bloodstream, potentially leading to organ failure and death.
Broken bones are also highly common. While it’s true that older adults are more susceptible to fractures due to factors like reduced bone density and difficulty balancing, that still doesn’t excuse or explain a preventable injury, especially since nursing homes are supposed to monitor residents who are known to have a high risk of falling.
Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuit
If a nursing home resident in Oklahoma City suffers abuse, they have a right to file a civil lawsuit against the facility to recover damages. In addition, the state allows for third parties close to the resident to bring a suit on behalf of the injured resident.
To bring a successful suit based on negligence by a nursing home, the injured party must prove that the nursing home had a duty of care for its residents that it subsequently breached, and that breach of duty directly caused damages to the resident filing the lawsuit.
Because the Nursing Home Care Act sets forth required standards for nursing home facilities, it should be fairly easy for the injured party to prove that the nursing home has a duty of care to avoid injuring its residents. Furthermore, a breach of such a duty is generally a qualitative question that can be answered with evidence of abuse. Lastly, the injured party will need to prove that the negligence of the nursing home directly caused their injuries, as opposed to some outside source. an experienced nursing home abuse attorney in Oklahoma City could help a plaintiff prove negligence.
Contact an Oklahoma City Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today
When vulnerable populations are abused, they need family members and experienced legal professionals to stand up for them. If you suspect a nursing home of abusing someone you love, contact an Oklahoma City nursing home abuse lawyer today to see what your options may be.