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Birmingham Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
Alabama Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
Elderly and disabled Alabama residents who reside in nursing homes or similar long-term care facilities are extremely vulnerable to serious injury through abuse or neglect. The anguish of discovering that a loved one has been injured at a nursing home is compounded by the fact that nursing homes are paid well to protect residents from harm.
If you suspect someone you know has been injured by abuse or neglect in a nursing home, this is a serious matter that demands immediate action. If staff at a nursing home are mistreating your family member, many other residents could also be in jeopardy. Your determination to protect your loved one could end up saving others, too.
At the Serious Injury Law Group, our compassionate Alabama nursing home abuse attorneys have a long track record of holding facilities and their staff accountable for negligence and wrongful acts. We can make sure your suspicions are reported to the state, and our legal team will launch our own independent investigation into the allegations. We will work quickly to protect your loved one from harm and demand the compensation required to cover medical care and other losses, including pain and suffering.
Schedule a free and confidential consultation now to discuss how we can help you and your loved one. Call 1-855-SERIOUS or fill out our online form to get started.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Alabama
If you suspect an elderly loved one is being abused, neglected, or exploited, you (or your attorney) will need to file a report with the Alabama Department of Human Resources – Adult Protective Services. To file a report, you will need to include as much information as possible, including:
- Victim’s name, date of birth, and Social Security Number
- Description of the victim
- Type of incident that occurred (abuse, neglect, or exploitation)
- Nature of the incident (physical abuse or neglect, sexual abuse, psychological/emotional abuse or neglect, medical neglect, environmental neglect, etc.)
- Date and location of the incident (including the address of the facility)
- Results of the incident (physical injury, psychological/emotional injury, financial exploitation, deteriorating physical condition, improper medical care, etc.)
- Name of person responsible for victim
- Name, gender, race, and other available information about the person accused of abuse or neglect
At the Serious Injury Law Group, our compassionate Alabama nursing home abuse attorneys can walk you through the process of filing this initial report and then begin the necessary steps to build a case for compensation. We urge you to demand to speak with a supervisor at the facility as soon as you suspect something is wrong. And be sure to document any contacts you have with the nursing home related to the allegations.
Schedule a free consultation with our team today to discuss what to do if you suspect your loved one is being abused in a nursing home.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
You should always be wary of any physical wounds, illness, or sudden mental decline that is not promptly and clearly explained to your satisfaction. This includes the signs of physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, or neglect:
- Cuts (lacerations), scrapes (abrasions), bruises (contusions), or welts
- Ligature marks around wrists, ankles, arms, or chest (signs of physical restraint, which is illegal in nursing homes except in strictly defined situations)
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Untreated (neglected) illness, or lingering sores or wounds
- Bruising in the genital areas or other signs of sexual abuse
- Withdrawing from activities previously enjoyed and/or becoming uncommunicative
- Sudden changes in alertness, i.e., diminished or hypersensitivity
- Fear or agitation in the presence of specific individuals, such as nursing home staff members or certain other residents
- Sudden changes in eating or sleeping habits
- Poor hygiene (i.e., lack of bathing or brushing teeth, unkempt hair, etc.)
- Sudden indications of clinical depression and/or appreciable cognitive decline
Another potentially dangerous consequence of neglect in nursing homes is elopement or wandering. “Elopement” refers to leaving the premises without authorization. This is a problem among residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, which cause patients to wander, as well as among residents unhappy about being in a nursing home.
Nursing homes have a duty to keep residents secure and protected from potential hazards. If you see signs of nursing home neglect or abuse, report it immediately and speak to a knowledgeable attorney about your options for protecting your loved one.
Common Types of Nursing Home Injuries
It is understood that many nursing home residents already suffer from chronic illness or injury that requires regular medical care and assistance. Illness and age will take their course and cause an inevitable physical and mental decline.
However, federal law says a nursing home resident’s health or well-being should not decline due to care provided by nursing home staff or because of the failure to provide care.
Certain kinds of injury are often seen in cases of nursing home negligence and elder abuse, including:
- Injuries from falls. Falls are the most common and most dangerous accidents among nursing home residents. Fall injuries can occur if a nursing home resident who is at risk of falling is neglected instead of being properly monitored and/or assisted with mobility needs. Seniors who recover physically from a fall injury may be psychologically injured thereafter by a fear of falling again, which limits their mobility and enjoyment of life. The most serious injuries seen in falls among the elderly include:
- Head and traumatic brain injury (TBI): A blow to the head suffered in a fall may cause a concussion or a more severe TBI. A head wound can bruise brain tissue, damage nerve cells, and tear blood vessels. Damage may be localized or throughout the brain (diffuse axonal injury) and cause lasting physical and cognitive impairment, as well as other debilitating medical problems, or death.
- Broken hip: Our bones become weaker as we age, and a senior who falls can easily suffer a fracture to the wrist, arm, ankle, or hip. More than 95 percent of hip fractures are caused by falling, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In most cases, a broken hip requires surgery, which may include implanting a partial or full artificial hip. A hip replacement requires months of physical therapy afterward. In many cases, a broken hip in an elderly adult leads to steady physical decline and premature death.
- Bedsores. A bedsore is an open wound caused by disintegration of the skin and underlying tissue that has been under constant pressure because the individual was left lying or sitting in a stationary position for long periods of time. Bedsores are also known as “pressure sores” or “pressure ulcers.” Anyone who enters a nursing home or hospital without a bedsore should never develop one that progresses to an advanced stage. Pressure sores occur through neglect. Nursing homes should establish protocols that staff follow for assisting or turning residents who are unable to move themselves.
- Infection. Bedsores and other open wounds can easily become infected. Infections are a result of negligence that has allowed unsanitary conditions or that results in staff members ignoring sanitation protocols for patient care. Infections often seen in nursing homes, known as “health care-acquired infections” (HAIs), include urinary tract infections (UTIs), antibiotic-resistant staph infections, pneumonia, and gastro-intestinal (GI tract) diarrheal diseases. They often require hospitalization and, if not treated quickly, may lead to death.
- Burns. Serious burn injuries (third or fourth degree) are potentially fatal for anyone, especially the elderly or infirm. In addition to an open flame, burn injuries may result from exposure to hot liquids or steam, electrical current, or the sun (sunburn) among neglected nursing home residents. More typical, unfortunately, are friction burns from being improperly restrained with straps, belts, or ropes, or intentional wounds inflicted by matches, lighters, cigarettes, etc., in egregious cases of abuse.
Intentionally withholding care or inflicting harm upon a nursing home resident (or any vulnerable person) is considered to be abuse. Allowing lapses in the provision of appropriate care is considered neglect. Either is actionable by law enforcement (criminal complaints) or in a civil claim of personal injury or wrongful death.
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Contact Our Birmingham Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
If you suspect a nursing home resident is in immediate danger from abuse or neglect, summon emergency medical responders immediately and, as soon as you can, contact our experienced Alabama nursing home injury attorneys.
With offices in Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile, and Lowndes County, our personal injury law firm is prepared to assist clients anywhere in Alabama. We can meet with you wherever and whenever is most convenient, including at your home or at a nursing home.
Call us at 1-855-SERIOUS for free legal advice about suspected nursing home abuse or neglect. We are ready to take your concerns seriously and to assist you and your loved one.