Signs of Oklahoma City Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Many elderly people suffer from serious medical conditions, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, which cannot be adequately cared for at home. In theory, nursing homes fill this care gap by providing professional, around-the-clock supervision and assistance to help keep seniors comfortable and safe. In practice, many facilities fail to meet even the most basic standards of care and quality.
The disturbing reality is that physical abuse, psychological abuse, neglect of residents, financial exploitation, and sexual abuse are rampant in nursing homes throughout Oklahoma. Issues like understaffing, inexperience, lack of supervision, lack of qualifications, and sloppy or non-existent employee background check procedures all contribute to the poor quality of care suffered by so many elderly residents throughout the state.
At Hasbrook & Hasbrook, our nursing home abuse attorneys are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help put an end to elder abuse in Oklahoma City. We will fight aggressively on your family’s behalf in an effort to obtain the maximum possible compensation for any physical, financial, or emotional injuries suffered by your loved one. Call our law offices right away at (405) 698-3040 to discuss your legal options in a free and private consultation.
Common Warning Signs of Elder Abuse and Neglect
Spotting the signs of nursing home neglect and abuse can be difficult. As the victim’s relative, you are not physically present in the home to witness any abuse or mistreatment that might be taking place. In addition, the victims themselves are often unwilling or unable to report abuse, as they may fear retaliation or eviction from the home.
Since you cannot see abuse occurring and might not receive information from the victim, you must learn how to detect the warning signs of elder abuse through your own powers of observation. While these warning signs can vary from person to person, the following are all red flags that your loved one may be suffering neglect or mistreatment:
- Physical Abuse
- Bleeding, cuts, and lacerations.
- Bruises (contusions), often located on the wrists, inner arms, neck, or thighs. The bruises may be present in groups or clusters, or may seem to form the shape of restraints.
- Burns, which might be very small if they were caused by cigarettes.
- Signs of overmedication or improper dosage, which may include cracked or dry lips, excessive sleepiness and fatigue, drooling, staring off into space, or moving with an unusual gait or unsteadiness.
- Unexpected or sudden death not preceded by illness or health problems.
- Emotional Abuse
- Depression, which doesn’t always manifest as sadness. Sometimes, depression takes the form of excessive sleeping, changes to appetite (increase or decrease), loss of enjoyment in leisure activities, social withdrawal, apathy, and feelings of guilt.
- Unusually high levels of fear, anxiety, anger, and/or agitation, especially when the nursing home or its employees are mentioned.
- Unwillingness to discuss one’s emotional state or the level of care being provided.
- Sexual Abuse
- Bleeding or pain in the genital area.
- Cuts, bruises, or discoloration on the external genitalia or inner thighs.
- Difficulty sitting or walking.
- Stained, bloody, or torn underclothing.
- The presence of any sexually transmitted disease (STD). Chlamydia, genital herpes, gonorrhea, and syphilis are all STDs.
- Nursing Home Neglect
- Bedsores, which are not a natural effect of aging. Bedsores usually develop because nursing home employees do not change a residents’ sheets or physical position frequently enough.
- Bruises or bone fractures from frequent falls.
- Dirty or uncut fingernails.
- Knotted or greasy hair that hasn’t been washed and brushed.
- Poor dental or personal hygiene.
- Rapid or excessive weight loss, which could indicate malnutrition.
What to Do if You Think Your Family Member is a Victim of Nursing Home Abuse in OK
If someone you care about is showing symptoms like those described above, he or she may be a victim of nursing home abuse. So what should you do?
If you suspect that mistreatment or neglect is occurring, the first step is to question your loved one and the nursing home staff – and watch their reactions carefully. Your loved one may seem to be frightened, in denial, or hesitant to talk, which communicates just as much information as an explicit admission of mistreatment. The staff might offer explanations that seem hard to believe, or express complete ignorance about the matter. Explanations from your loved one and staff may be completely different. All of these are further indication of possible abuse.
If the elder care facility doesn’t respond appropriately to fix the problem and put your mind at complete ease, you should file a formal complaint with the Oklahoma State Department of Health. You should also seek legal help immediately, because your loved one’s safety could be in danger. The sooner you act, the sooner you can get your parent, grandparent, or spouse out of a potentially life-threatening situation.
Remember: nursing home residents and elderly persons have guaranteed legal rights under federal laws like the Elder Justice Act, the Older Americans Act, and the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. State laws, such as Oklahoma’s Protective Services for Vulnerable Adults Act, provide additional rights and protections. When these laws go violated and ignored, the facilities and individual employees in violation should be held accountable.
To learn more about getting your loved one the help he or she needs, call the elder abuse lawyers of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040. Your initial consultation is free of charge, and we will keep your information completely confidential.