DALLAS NURSING HOME ABUSE & NEGLECT
Q: Why is there abuse and neglect in nursing homes and how common is it?
A: Abuse and neglect in nursing homes typically arise from lack of supervision, untrained staff and understaffing at nursing home facilities. Congressional investigators found 1 in 5 nursing homes failed to report abuse and 1 in 3 nursing homes have been cited for physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect.
Q: What are the signs and symptoms of physical abuse at a nursing home?
A: Signs and symptoms include: bruises, black eyes, welts, rope marks, laceration, broken/fractured bones, sprains, dislocations, broken eyeglasses, sudden behavior changes, untreated wounds, internal bleeding.
Q: What are the signs and symptoms of sexual abuse at a nursing home?
A: Signs and symptoms of sexual abuse at a nursing home include: bruises in the genitalia and breast area; sexually transmitted diseases, vaginal or anal bleeding, and stained or bloody undergarments.
Q: What are some signs or problems that may indicate there is nursing home abuse or neglect?
A: Problems that may indicate nursing home abuse or neglect can include:
- open wounds, cuts,
- bruises and welts,
- emotional and agitated residents,
- malnutrition and dehydration, pressure or bed sores,
- unclean living conditions,
- weight loss,
- medication errors,
- over sedation,
- residents smelling of urine or fecal matter,
- begging for food,
- verbal and physical abuse,
- unsociable residents, and
- inability of nursing home staff to explain medical or behavioral conditions.
Q: What are some signs and symptoms of malnutrition or dehydration and can these conditions is prevented?
A: Sign and symptoms of malnutrition or dehydration can include:
- cracked lips,
- weight loss,
- unhealed pressure sores,
- unhealthy skin,
- mouth sores,
- confusion, and
- urinary tract infections.
Q: Can residents with normal weight be malnourished?
A: Even residents with normal weight can be malnourished if there are deficiencies in vitamins and nutrients. Malnutrition and dehydration can be avoided through a proper dietary care plan that addresses problems such as difficulty in swallowing, need for multiple small meals, and prompting the residents for food or drink.
Q: What are pressure sores and can they be prevented?
A: Pressure sores, also known as bed sores, are lesions caused by damage to tissue due to improper resident care. Failure to recognize and treat pressure sores can cause pain and if untreated can cause infections and damage to bones and other tissue. With proper nursing care and resident supervision, pressure sores can be avoided through patient repositioning, proper diet, and ensuring patients are clean and properly clothed.
Q: What is negligence in a nursing home or assisted living center?
A: Negligence means the failure of doctors, nurses, therapists, aides or other healthcare providers to treat residents within the reasonable and prudent standard of care and that this failure was the cause of the residents injuries. The law provides for compensation for this type of negligent action.
Q: Should nursing homes have written policies and procedures on dealing with resident care and addressing injuries and abuse?
A: Yes. If a nursing home is licensed, it should have written policies and its staff is required to be familiar with the written policies. You have a right to ask for the copies of these written procedures.
Q: What do I do if I think a family member or loved one is being neglected or abused in a nursing home?
A: You should contact the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) at (800) 458-9858 to file a complaint with the State of Texas. You can also take pictures of any injures, gather a list of witnesses and contact a nursing home attorney so the attorney can review the medical records and inform you if there is a case against the nursing home.
Q: Who regulates nursing homes?
A: Nursing homes are regulated by the Federal government and The State of Texas. Inspections are typically handled by the State of Texas but the Federal government may impose fines and penalties based on state inspections.
Q: If a person dies from a nursing home abuse or neglect, can a claim still be pursued?
A: Yes, under a wrongful death statute a claim can be pursued by spouses and children.
Q: What types of compensation can one receive for nursing home abuse or neglect?
A: One can receive compensation for lost wages, medical bills, future medical care, pain, mental anguish, disfigurement, and impairment.