Knoxville Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Knoxville Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawyers, Protecting Your Loved One’s Rights
Every year, extreme ill health and an inability to provide the required medical care lead thousands of people to admit their loved ones into nursing homes. While many nursing homes have excellent reputations and treat their residents with care and attention, some tragically allow abuse and neglect to run rampant.
The Knoxville nursing home abuse lawyers at Fox Willis Burnette, PLLC are dedicated to safeguarding the lives of our elders and ensuring that they are not taken advantage of or harmed. If you believe that a loved one’s nursing home is abusing or neglecting patients, we will take all necessary steps to investigate and eventually litigate your claim. If you or a loved one sustained an injury due to neglect or abuse, please contact our legal team, so we can help you get started on the road to recovery.
Elder abuse can take a variety of forms, including:
- Physical abuse;
- Emotional abuse;
- Sexual abuse;
- Financial exploitation; and
- Healthcare fraud.
Physical abuse is the non-accidental use of force against an elderly individual. Some of the devastating results include pain, injury, impairment, and disfigurement. The improper administration of drugs or restraints also qualifies as physical abuse in nursing home settings. Typical signs that physical abuse is being committed include:
- Unexplained injuries, such as bruises and welts;
- Dislocations, sprains, and fractures;
- Broken glasses;
- Marks on wrists and/or ankles that indicate the use of restraints;
- A caregiver’s refusal to allow visitors to see the patient alone;
- Evidence that medication is not being taken regularly; and
- Reports of a drug overdose.
Emotional abuse exists if a nursing home attendant speaks to or treats an elderly person in a manner that causes emotional distress. Emotional or psychological abuse can be either verbal or non-verbal. Evidence of verbal abuse includes:
- Humiliation or ridicule; and
- Continuous blaming.
Non-verbal abuse, however, usually take the form of ignoring, terrorizing, or isolating an elderly victim. Behavior mimicking dementia, such as sucking, rocking, or mumbling, may indicate that a nursing home patient is being abused.
Sexual abuse is contact of a sexual nature with another person who does not give his or her consent. Sexual abuse can involve physical sex acts, but also activities like forcing an elderly individual to watch pornographic videos or sex acts or forcing him or her to undress.
Financial exploitation is one of the most common types of non-physical nursing home abuse committed against the elderly. Financial exploitation may occur through:
- The misappropriation of an elder’s checks or credit cards;
- Theft of personal belongings;
- Forging signatures;
- Withdrawing or transferring funds from an account; and
- Identity theft.
Evidence that a caregiver may be exploiting an elderly patient includes:
- Large withdrawals from an elderly person’s account;
- Missing personal belongings or cash;
- Unpaid bills, despite an elder’s ability to pay for them;
- Charges for unnecessary services or goods;
- Abrupt changes in an elderly resident’s finances;
- Unusual changes in wills or power of attorney designations; and
- The addition of names to an elder’s signature card.
Many elderly nursing home patients are also duped into investing in fraudulent companies or charities or are tricked into accepting “prizes” that require sending or depositing money in another person’s account.
Healthcare Fraud and Abuse
This type of abuse is unfortunately not uncommon in nursing home communities and is most often carried out by unethical doctors, nurses, or other professional caregivers. It includes:
- Overcharging or double-billing for care;
- Inappropriately prescribing or administering medication;
- Medicaid fraud;
- Recommending fraudulent remedies for a medical condition;
- Charging for healthcare services, but not providing them; and
- Receiving kickbacks for referring a patient to another provider.
Whether your loved one has sustained physical, emotional, or financial abuse, our Knoxville nursing home neglect lawyers at Fox Willis Burnette, PLLC will do all that we can to prevent the abuse from happening to others while also helping you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home neglect is very similar to nursing home abuse, but the two differ in important ways. Elder abuse involves a specific intent to harm the elder, while nursing home neglect requires a breach of duty that results in harm to the patient. While neglect can be intentional, it can also be the result of ignorance or a lack of training on the part of the nursing home employee.
There are four main types of nursing home neglect:
- Basic needs neglect: This takes place when a nursing home does not provide reasonable access to food, water, and a safe environment.
- Medical neglect: Medical neglect occurs when a nursing home does not provide adequate attention, medication, or prevention for health concerns such as diabetes, cognitive problems, and mobility issues.
- Personal hygiene neglect: This covers situations in which patients do not receive help with laundry, bathing, cleaning, or other hygienic practices.
- Emotional/social neglect: This occurs when an elderly person is repeatedly ignored, intimidated, left in solitude, or treated with impatience.
There are a number of signs that can indicate these types of nursing home abuse or neglect are being committed, including:
- Unsanitary conditions, such as soiled linens or clothing;
- Unexplained bruises, abrasions, or infections;
- Environmental hazards;
- Injuries sustained in falls;
- Sudden weight loss;
- Unusual change in behavior;
- Lack of friendly interaction with nursing home staff or residents; and
- Improper administration of medication.
Risk Factors for Caregivers
Many nursing homes are understaffed, and caregivers are unable to give patients the attention they need. The stress of providing elder care can lead to mental and physical health problems that cause a nurse or attendant to behave impatiently or neglectfully. Significant risk factors for elder abuse among professional caregivers include:
- Difficulty coping with stress;
- Substance abuse;
- A poor attitude; and
- A lack of support from other caregivers.
Nursing home employees are especially prone to commit elder abuse if they lack training, are overworked, are generally unsuited to caregiving, or work under poor conditions.
There are a few ways to ensure that a nursing home resident is receiving the care they deserve, including:
- Continually monitoring changes in his or her mobile or mental abilities;
- Listening to complaints;
- Checking bank account and credit card statements for unauthorized transactions; and
- Ensuring that medication prescriptions are accurate and up-to-date.
Contact the Knoxville Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers at Fox Willis Burnette, PLLC Today
The Knoxville nursing home neglect lawyers at Fox Willis Burnette, PLLC have been litigating claims of abuse and neglect for over thirty years. Please contact us at 866-862-4855 for a free consultation.