At Slater & Zurz, our Cincinnati nursing home abuse Lawyers are tough advocates for victims of elder abuse and their families. If you or your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse and neglect, we urge you to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our firm. Our qualified Cincinnati elder abuse lawyers will work diligently to investigate the circumstances surrounding the abuse, hold responsible parties accountable, and recover maximum compensation for your losses.
The Rights of Ohio Nursing Home Residents
In the state of Ohio, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are afforded several fundamental rights. Ohio Revised Code 3721.13 gives residents the right to the following:
- A clean and safe living environment
- Freedom from physical, mental, verbal, and emotional abuse
- Be free from financial exploitation
- Be treated with courtesy, respect, and dignity
- Adequate and appropriate medical treatment
- Have all reasonable questions and requests responded to promptly
- Participate in all decisions that affect their life
- Privacy during medical treatments and exams
- Refuse medical care
- Be free of physical or chemical restraints unless to prevent injury
- Voice grievances
- Retain and use personal clothing and possessions
Types of Abuse in Nursing Homes
Nursing home abuse takes place when a resident of a nursing home or other residential care facility suffers physical, emotional, or psychological harm caused by a caregiver’s negligent or intentional acts. Elder abuse and neglect are a widespread problem and, with a staggering increase in the number of elderly Americans occurring over the next few decades, the problem is expected to become much worse.
Nursing home residents can experience several types of abuse. All can leave a loved one with a lingering impact on their health and well-being. Forms of nursing home abuse include:
Neglect occurs when a caregiver fails to provide the victim with their basic life necessities. This may include denying the victim food, water, medication, a clean and safe environment, and assistance in maintaining personal hygiene. A common indicator of neglect is the development of progressed bedsores. Malnutrition, dehydration, and poor hygiene are other signs of nursing home neglect.
Physical abuse involves the intentional infliction of physical harm on a victim. This can include slapping, hitting, kicking, shaking, and shoving the resident. Improper or unwarranted use of restraints can also be considered physical abuse. Physical abuse can be committed by a staff member but is often perpetrated by fellow residents. Signs include cuts, bruises, broken bones, and head injuries. Other potential red flags are when the facility doesn’t allow you to be alone with your loved one or your loved one suddenly refuses to see you or other visitors.
Verbal and non-verbal acts that cause psychological harm or distress are considered emotional abuse. Forms of emotional abuse include embarrassment, bullying, intimidation, harassment, and name-calling. Common signs of emotional abuse include anxiety, depression, anger, withdrawal, sudden issues with self-esteem, and fearfulness.
This form of abuse involves any form of unwanted sexual contact. It can also include the abuser exposing themselves to the victim or forcing the victim to take their clothes off. Perpetrators of sexual abuse include nursing home employees, other residents, and visitors within the facility. Signs to look for include STDs, recurring urinary tract infections, bruising and bleeding in and around the genitals, and a sudden withdrawal from friends and family.
Financial exploitation is considered any improper or illegal use of the elderly victim’s financial assets or personal property. This abuse also includes coercing or convincing the victim to sign over property or make changes to their will. Signs of financial exploitation include missing cash, unexplained bank transactions, missing personal property, and unexplained credit card purchases.
Speak with a Cincinnati nursing home abuse lawyer today by calling (513) 496-3331.
When a Nursing Home Is Liable for Abuse
Nursing home abuse can occur under many circumstances and by many different people. But nursing home facilities have a legal responsibility to provide residents with a safe and clean environment that is free from abuse. A nursing home can be held legally responsible when:
The facility is understaffed – A main contributor to abuse and neglect is understaffing. Overworked, tired, or frustrated employees may intentionally or unintentionally commit acts of abuse.
Staff members are inadequately supervised – It is the facility’s duty to properly supervise all employees and visitors to prevent abuse and neglect from occurring.
The facility fails to report acts of abuse – Ohio law requires all nursing home facilities to report any and all cases of abuse and neglect.
There is inadequate security – The failure to thoroughly monitor the premises makes the residents more susceptible to abuse by staff, other residents, and visitors.
The facility fails to thoroughly investigate potential employees – A thorough investigation, including background checks, of all potential employees is necessary in identifying those who have abused in the past or those who may be inclined to abuse in the future.
Staff members are not properly trained – Nursing home neglect and abuse often stems from improper training of employees. As a result, the employees may not know how to properly care for and interact with the residents.
Compensation in Nursing Home Abuse Cases
If you or your loved one was abused or neglected while in a nursing home or assisted living facility, you can legally pursue damages. Victims and their families can recover for the following:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of enjoyment
- Lost wages
- Wrongful death
In extreme cases of abuse and neglect, the judge may award punitive damages. Punitive damages do not compensate the victim or loved ones for their losses. Instead, they aim to punish the wrongdoer or responsible party for their actions. They are also designed to help prevent the future abuse and neglect of nursing home residents.
Nursing Home Abuse Frequently Asked Questions
How common is elder abuse in nursing homes?
A recent study found that over 4 million elders are abused each year. Of those residing in residential care facilities, approximately 20% of elderly adults experienced some form of abuse. In addition, nearly 1 in 3 facilities in the U.S. were issued a citation for abuse. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, roughly 95% of residents were either victims or witnesses of neglect.
Is a nursing home allowed to restrain a resident physically?
In Ohio, it is not illegal to physically or chemically restrain a nursing home resident. However, any form of restraint must be necessary in providing protection for the resident and can never be used for purposes of “punishment, incentive, or convenience.” In addition, when physical or chemical restraint is used, it must be fully documented and approved by the attending physician.
How long does an Ohio nursing home abuse lawsuit take?
Any lawsuit can be a lengthy process. The circumstances of every case are different and greatly affect the time it takes to resolve the matter. However, the average nursing home abuse lawsuit generally takes anywhere from 18 to 24 months, sometimes longer, to resolve.
Legal Guidance from a Cincinnati Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
It is devastating to learn your loved one has suffered abuse at the hands of the very people you entrusted with their care. We understand you want answers as to how the abuse could have happened – and you also want to make sure those responsible for the abuse are held accountable for their actions.
At Slater & Zurz, our dedicated team of Cincinnati nursing home abuse lawyers are unwavering advocates for victims of elder abuse and neglect. We will thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the abuse and identify all responsible parties. Our skilled attorneys will build a strong, case-specific strategy to aggressively pursue justice on you and your loved one’s behalf and to maximize your recovery. There are strict time limits for filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit in Ohio, so it is important to act quickly. Begin the process by scheduling a free consultation with one of our qualified elder abuse lawyers in Cincinnati. You can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 888.534.4850.