Neglecting Vulnerable Adults
The decision to place an aging parent or other loved one in a nursing home is a very difficult one. Even under the best circumstances, the choice is often accompanied by significant guilt and worry. How will your loved one cope? Will they be lonely? Is the nursing home safe?
Unfortunately, circumstances are often far from ideal, and the latter question becomes an important one. Nursing home abuse and neglect are significant problems in facilities in Washington and across the United States. Sadly, the problem is becoming more widespread as America’s baby boomers reach retirement age and the population skews older.
According to the Washington State Office of Attorney General, nursing home residents are classified as vulnerable adults, which means they are unable to provide for their own basic needs independently due to age, disease or disability.
The term carries legal implications for those who commit abuse or neglect, but it is also an important descriptor that reminds us of the difficult position nursing home patients are in. Despite their decades of age, experience and wisdom, they must usually rely on others to meet their most basic needs. Therefore, it is critical for the rest of us to hold nursing home staff to the highest levels of care and professionalism. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to speak with a Southeast WA nursing home neglect lawyer if you suspect that your loved one is suffering from mistreatment, even if you don’t know that mistreatment is happening “for sure.” By speaking with a knowledgeable attorney and exploring your options, you’ll be able to rest assured that you’re taking action if doing so is warranted or that your situation is actually less dire than you perceive it to be. Speaking with an attorney can help to uncover the truth, whatever that may be, and to clarify your loved one’s rights under the law.
Examples and Evidence of Nursing Home Neglect
Even in the absence of intentional abuse, neglect of vulnerable adults can lead to devastating consequences. If you notice any of the following in your loved one, it may be time to contact our firm:
- Poor hygiene
- Bed sores or other bodily sores
- Significant weight loss without an underlying diagnosis
- Sudden changes in behavior, like agitation, without an underlying diagnosis
- Reports that your loved one has wandered off the premises
- Unexplained injuries that could be consistent with falling
- An unkempt living space, including unchanged linens and unemptied bed pans
- Wearing the same outfit for days in a row
Taking Action and Protecting Your Loved One
What can you do if you suspect that your loved one is being neglected? There are a number of options. If the danger or harm is imminent, you can immediately call 911 and stay with your loved one to ensure they are taken to safety. If your loved one is not in immediate danger, you can contact our firm to discuss legal options, including filing a civil lawsuit against the at-fault facility for endangering or harming your loved one through neglect.
Learn More In An Initial Consultation
Our attorneys are committed to helping injury victims throughout Southeast Washington, including nursing home residents and their families. To discuss your concerns during a confidential consultation, call us to speak with an experienced Southeast WA nursing home neglect lawyer today.