If you have a senior loved one who lives in a nursing home or other care facility, you want to know that they’re receiving the best medical and personal care possible. Though you may not be able to be there for them 24/7, you want to ensure that someone is and that they won’t suffer from elder neglect. If you’ve noticed any decline in health or wellness in the time since your loved one has been in elder care, you should take a closer look and determine whether or not elder neglect is the cause.
What Is Elder Neglect?
Unlike nursing home abuse or elder abuse, which can usually be easily defined by assault, battery, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, and/or abandonment, elder neglect can be harder to pinpoint. Unfortunately, though, it is also a very serious issue that can be fatal. In general, though, you can define elder neglect as the failure of any caregiver to fulfill their obligations concerning a senior person’s care.
Signs of neglect can include, but are not limited to:
- Poor hygiene
- Errors in medication
If you suspect any or all of these or you’ve seen any other signs that your loved one has been neglected, you should contact an elder neglect attorney as soon as possible. Any one of these symptoms, if left uncorrected, can be fatal to an elderly person with failing health.
Who is Responsible for Elder Neglect?
If you suspect that your loved one has suffered health consequences from elder neglect or that their death was associated with neglect, you will undoubtedly want to know who is at fault and who should be held responsible for the harm that’s come to someone you care about.
In some cases, the fault lies with the individual charged with caring for your elderly loved one, but in many cases their own negligence may not have been their fault. For example, if they were not given proper training and/or instruction for supplying elderly patients with the best care possible, the fault lies with the nursing home or institution. Cases like this include but are not limited to understaffing and negligent hiring, in which case background checks and other important research was not completed concerning the person being hired.
Because the facility hired and employs the caregivers responsible for your loved one’s wellbeing, it will – in almost all cases – be “vicariously liable” for their actions. Thus, when looking to pursue compensation for your loved one’s pain and suffering, medical bills, etc., you will most likely be suing the facility, not an individual employee.
If the person responsible for the neglect is a contractor or otherwise hired by a third party, they may also be liable for their actions. When you consult with an elder neglect attorney, be sure to bring all of the information you can gather on the case with you to help them give you the best advice for moving forward and pursuing the right parties.
If You Suspect Elder Neglect
If you are concerned that your loved one is being neglected, do not hesitate to take action. You may want to discuss the conditions in the facility with the facility’s manager, but whether you do this or not you should absolutely seek advice from an experienced elder neglect lawyer who can help you to understand the laws, whether or not you have a case, what constitutes neglect, and how to go about seeking compensation and correcting the situation. Call a qualified attorney today to help you with your case.