In a city like Toledo, with its strong work ethic and historically industrious economy, folks save for a lifetime to enjoy a peaceful and restful retirement. With 80,000 residents under the care of skilled nursing professionals at 1,000 facilities statewide, the risk for abuse is much too high. Nursing home abuse is one of the most deplorable acts of personal injury, and the dedicated Toledo nursing home abuse attorneys at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault can assist victims and their families in the aftermath of this sickening situation.
Types of nursing home abuse
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, an elderly individual can face six separate types of mistreatment at the hands of a caregiver:
- Physical abuse: Assault and battery, can also include force-feeding, over-medicating, and unnecessary use of restraints
- Sexual abuse: Assault, rape, offensive touching, coerced nudity, explicit photography (either taking pictures or forcing the victim to look at pictures)
- Emotional & psychological abuse: Infliction of emotional pain and anguish without the use of physical force or touching, including ridicule, bullying, and humiliation, e.g., intimidation, treating the victim like a child, isolating the victim, threats of violence
- Neglect: Failure to meet the basic needs of the resident, including food, water, medical care, toileting & self-care
- Abandonment: Desertion of an elderly person by someone responsible for her care
- Financial abuse: Unlawful coercion of the elderly person to make bank transfers, estate plan amendments, or transfers of personal property
Oftentimes, abuse of the elderly goes unreported or ignored, particularly if the victim is under the auspices of dementia or medication that may have an impact on mental capacity. Because of this, experts believe that elder abuse may be one of the most underreported crimes in the United States, and thousands of senior citizens may be suffering in silence.
Recognizing the signs
The signs of elder abuse may be subtle or virtually undetectable – which is why knowing the red flags of abuse is an integral component to securing justice for the victim. In all instances, family should look for signs their loved one is fearful or mistrustful of certain caregivers or if caregivers refuse to leave the elderly individual alone with family during visits.
Who is responsible?
First and foremost, elder abuse is a crime and you should report it to both the facility’s manager and law enforcement immediately. If you suspect Toledo nursing home abuse, you may contact police directly, call the Lucas County Adult Protective Services agency at 419-213-8663, or call your region’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
From there, you can work with a dedicated personal injury attorney from Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault to help secure fair and adequate compensation for your loved one, who has undoubtedly suffered a great deal of trauma and turmoil throughout the ordeal.
Determining liability can be a complex matter in a nursing home abuse case, and often the best place to start is with the facility responsible for hiring and overseeing the staff charged with the victim’s care. As with any healthcare facility, a long-term care facility is responsible for maintaining the accepted standards of medical care within the nursing home context, and can be liable for any deviations from this standard.
While each case is unique, the following are several examples of nursing home negligence at the management level:
- Failure to properly vet employees or conduct in-depth background checks
- Hiring employees with a known criminal history
- Failure to adhere to acceptable provider/patient ratios
- Failure to adequately monitor and supervise staff
- Failure to follow protocol in the event of a resident complaint
In addition to holding the facility responsible, victims may also be able to hold the individuals who inflicted the abuse personally responsible.
What can I do next about Toledo nursing home abuse?
Once you have properly reported the abuse and filed an injury claim, make sure you do the following.
First, move your loved one to a safe environment free from abusive or neglectful providers. Make sure that you explain to the facility why it is you are removing your loved one. If you move your loved one to another nursing home in the area, be sure to check out ratings for nursing homes in the area. You may find this list of nursing homes in Toledo from U.S. News helpful.
Second, get your loved one the help she needs. If you suspect physical or sexual abuse, be sure to have a doctor check her out. If you suspect emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, see if she would be open to going to counseling sessions to talk through the abuse.
If the abuse is financial, take immediate steps to rectify her financial losses if possible, such as stopping all automatic transfers, disputing charges, and ensuring valuable personal property remains in the victim’s possession.
Third, be sure to document everything pertaining to the case no matter how seemingly innocuous. You should document everything from discussions with doctors and facility employees to medical expenses and travel costs associated with a counseling appointment as you can use all to establish liability and damages.
Lastly, avoid accepting a settlement too early – especially without speaking to a qualified nursing home abuse attorney from Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault Oftentimes, facilities will attempt to sweep these reports under the rug to avoid negative publicity and unwanted press. In so doing, administrators may offer victims a paltry sum to make the problem “go away,” which they may accept not knowing the true value of their claim.
Make sure you have considered everything before accepting a settlement. Be sure you have taken into account future medical bills, such as physical exams and counseling appointments, and other damages such as pain and suffering. You may also be eligible to receive punitive damages in especially egregious cases.
Contact an elder abuse attorney in Toledo today
Nursing home abuse is an abominable crime and we will not tolerate it. If you need help holding your loved one’s abusers accountable, please contact a compassionate elder abuse attorney from Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault today at 419-843-6663. Toledo nursing home abuse needs to be reported and stopped.