Many nursing homes in Greeneville and throughout East Tennessee provide attentive, quality care to their residents. However, some facilities are understaffed or careless, allowing tragic incidents of nursing home abuse or neglect to happen to the people they are supposed to protect. No matter how highly rated a nursing home is, abuse can unfortunately happen.
If your loved one is suffering from obvious signs of nursing home abuse or neglect, or you simply have the suspicion that something isn’t right, you should contact a knowledgeable nursing home abuse attorney right away. Your family member’s health or security could be at stake. It’s important to respond immediately.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Greeneville
Many people find it hard to imagine that any healthcare providers could victimize the same innocent and elderly patients they have promised to look after. However, nursing home residents often present easy targets for overworked and unethical individuals.
The following types of nursing home abuse and neglect are unfortunately common:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Financial abuse
- Confinement or passive neglect
- Intentional deprivation of care
- Medical malpractice
If you suspect the presence of any of the above forms of nursing home abuse or neglect, it’s important to act quickly. You don’t want an abusive situation to lead to prolonged agony or wrongful death for your loved one. Continue reading to learn more about recognizing the signs of elder abuse and what you should do if you believe your loved one is at risk.
Injuries That Can Happen as a Result of Greeneville Nursing Home Abuse
In some cases, nursing home patients suffer bodily injuries from physical abuse, physical neglect, or medical malpractice. Common examples of such injuries include:
- Bedrail injuries
- Pressure sores
- Skin tears
- Bone fractures
- Soft tissue sprains
- Dental trauma
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord trauma
- Disease or illness
Certain injuries also tend to occur specifically as a result of elder sexual abuse, such as:
- Genital bruising
- Genital bleeding
- Breast injuries
- Mouth injuries
- Urinary tract infections
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
Though physical trauma and bodily injuries are sadly common, they are not the only signs of potential nursing home abuse or neglect. The presence of one or more of the following could also indicate possible physical abuse or neglect:
- Unexplained illnesses, injuries, or infections
- A disheveled appearance
- Inappropriate dressing or bathing habits
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Unexplained weight loss
- Signs of physical restraint
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Jaundice or unusual paleness
- Broken eyeglasses or personal items
- Overmedication or drug overdoses
- Lack of needed medication or care
- Chronic or worsened pain
Common signs of possible mental, emotional, or psychological abuse include:
- Uncharacteristic anxiety or depression
- Difficulty relaxing or sleeping
- Recoiling to the touch
- Rocking back and forth
- Confusion or disorientation
- Withdrawal from pleasurable activities
- Violent or aggressive outbursts
- Caregiver refusal to allow the family to visit the patient alone
- Unfriendly or tense interactions with staff or residents
- Learned helplessness and low self-esteem
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Substance abuse
- Suicidal ideation or attempts
- Other unusual changes in behavior
The presence of the following signs could also indicate possible sexual abuse:
- New STIs or STDs
- Unusual interest in sexual activities
- Sexual aggression
- Inappropriate relationships
Elder abuse can also take the form of financial exploitation, which may look like:
- Unexplained purchases or cash withdrawals
- Missing valuables or personal items
- Unpaid bills, despite the ability to pay
- Charges for unexplained services
- Sudden change in financial status
- Sudden changes to power of attorney designations
- Sudden changes to personal wills or trusts
- Added names or signatures to personal accounts
- Overcharged or double-billed care costs
What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse in Greeneville
While any of the above injuries or signs may appear independently in the absence of abuse or neglect, their presence should not be ignored. If you suspect your loved one may be suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect in Greeneville or elsewhere in East Tennessee, the attorneys of The Terry Law Firm recommend that you take the following steps:
- Make sure your loved one is not in any immediate danger, and if they are, remove them from the facility right away and call 911.
- Ask your loved one directly if they were injured, threatened, abused, or neglected. Keep in mind that they may feel too upset or frightened to answer candidly, so be patient and trust your instinct.
- Speak with nursing home administration about your concerns and request corrective measures, if necessary. Nursing home facilities are required by law to address your concerns and should have a written policy outlining this obligation.
- File a complaint with Tennessee’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman or Adult Protective Services office if you feel unsatisfied with the facility’s response.
- Become a visible presence in the facility and document everything. Quality nursing homes will not mind, and anything you notice could be valuable evidence in a nursing home abuse or neglect case.
- Contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer, who can help you collect valuable evidence, build a strong case, and observe critical legal deadlines.
All lawsuits in Tennessee involving nursing home abuse, neglect, medical malpractice, or wrongful death must be filed within just one year, so it’s important to act quickly. A qualified Greeneville elder abuse attorney can help.
Types of Compensation in a Greeneville Nursing Home Abuse Claim
If you reach a successful outcome in your nursing home abuse or neglect claim in Tennessee, you could recover compensation on behalf of your loved one for the following types of damages:
- Residential expenses at the offending facility
- The value of any stolen money or possessions
- Medical expenses from the treatment of abuse or neglect
- Costs of therapy or rehabilitation needed after abuse or neglect
- Pain, mental anguish, and emotional suffering of your loved one
- Punitive damages, intended to punish liable parties
It’s important to note that Tennessee usually limits punitive damages to a maximum of $500,000 or twice the total amount of other compensatory damages, whichever is greater. However, this damages cap may be waived in certain situations, such as circumstances involving falsified or concealed records.
Get Help from a Greeneville Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today
If you suspect the presence of nursing home abuse or neglect in your loved one’s facility, don’t wait to take action. The Greeneville personal injury attorneys at The Terry Law Firm have extensive experience handling local nursing home abuse cases and are ready to discuss the details of your situation now.
Call us or contact us online to learn more about how we can help. The consultation is free, completely confidential, and comes with no strings attached.