CLIENT-FOCUSED DENVER ATTORNEYS SERVING CHERRY CREEK, AURORA & THROUGHOUT COLORADO
Entrusting a nursing home or assisted living facility with the care of an elderly loved one can be a heart-wrenching decision. Every year, millions of families must consider placing a parent or grandparent in a facility where their medical, social and daily needs can be met. We hope that our loved ones will receive the compassionate, gentle care they deserve in their final years, but sadly, nursing home neglect and abuse is a rising epidemic in the United States, and victimization is a tragically common occurrence.
The experienced attorneys at Leventhal Lewis are committed to pursuing justice for elderly victims of abuse, neglect and other injuries. If your elderly loved one has suffered at the hands of a trusted caregiver, contact our Denver office today to speak to a nursing home abuse attorney by completing the form on this page to schedule a free consultation. We help clients from Cherry Creek, Aurora and throughout Colorado.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Colorado
Growing old is an unavoidable part of life, but facing your final years in an environment that is humiliating, dangerous or neglectful is simply wrong. Statistics show that approximately 40 percent of Americans over the age of 65 currently live in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, and abuse in those facilities is a very frightening reality.
Every year in the United States, according to the National Center for Adult Abuse, an estimated two million seniors suffer some form of abuse at the hands of those entrusted to look over them. Tragically, for every case of nursing home abuse that is reported, there could be as many as five cases that go unreported. Research finds that senior citizens who are abused tend to die earlier than those who are well cared for, even in the absence of chronic or life-threatening health conditions.
If your elderly loved one has been abused or neglected, you may notice symptoms, such as:
- Malnourishment or dehydration
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Soiled bed sheets or clothing
- Medications not being administered or administered improperly
Some of the most common forms of nursing home abuse and neglect are listed below.
Slip and Fall Accidents
While dangerous at any age, slip and fall accidents can have dire, life altering consequences for our elderly family members. If you suspect your loved one was the victim of a slip and fall due to the inattention of the nursing home staff, we will focus on your legal case so you can focus on getting your elderly family member proper and immediate medical attention.
When analyzing a nursing home slip and fall case, our lawyers will investigate every circumstance surrounding the incident, including:
- Staff response to the accident and injury
- Environmental factors, such as adequate lighting, railing and floor safety
- Lack of supervision
- Your loved one's specific needs
Broken and Fractured Bones
You made the decision to place your loved one in the care of a nursing home or assisted living facility because the patient's health is in a fragile state. Nursing home residents are at a high risk for suffering from broken and fractured bones, particularly to the:
Although the majority of these injuries occur from a slip and fall accident due to insufficient supervision, some injuries sadly result from physical abuse from callous and aggressive staff members.
Bedsores and Pressure Sores
Bedsores are usually caused by laying or sitting too long in the same position. This sustained pressure inhibits blood flow to certain areas of the body. This condition damages skin cells and other body tissues that aren't receiving essential nutrients from proper blood flow.
This is a great concern for elderly patients with limited mobility. When left untreated, bedsores can cause dangerous, potentially fatal infections.
Care facility staff must be properly trained to prevent bedsores from occurring and how to recognize and treat them if they do manifest. Sometimes, even when staff is sufficiently trained, the facility may be understaffed and the caregivers are overworked, preventing them from giving every patient the care they deserve.
Bedrail entrapment for elderly patients is a genuine concern. Bedrails are placed as a safety measures to keep your loved one from rolling or falling out of bed. Unfortunately, bedrails often turn a place of comfort into a dangerous trap. An elderly patient can get trapped:
- Between the end of the rail and the headboard
- Between the end of the mattress and the headboard
- Between split bedrails
- With the limbs or head in or under the rail
- Between the rail and the mattress
Proper nutrition is vital for everyone's health, but especially for elderly patients in a nursing home. In an assisted living facility, a patient's nourishment is in the hands of the staff, and improper monitoring of nutrition can jeopardize your loved one's health. Your elderly family member could be at risk of malnutrition due to:
- Dietary restrictions because of allergies or religion
- Inability to feed themselves because of depression, confusion or dementia
- Difficult chewing because of missing teeth or ill-fitting dentures
Hydration is a fundamental human need, and a patient can become dehydrated very quickly without adequate monitoring by nursing home staff. Due to a lack of training or sufficient staffing, dehydration is unfortunately common, and can cause serious health risks to your elderly family member's already frail condition, such as:
- Kidney failure
- Risk of urinary tract infections
- Poor digestion
Wandering and Elopement
Nursing home staff and administrators must keep a watchful eye over those in their care. If your loved one suffers an injury while wandering around the facilities, or is hurt after leaving the facility premises unsupervised (called elopement), the nursing home may be held liable. Our Denver nursing home abuse attorneys will investigate the case to find out if:
- Your elderly family member was placed on a special floor that required codes to enter or exit the facility
- Receptionists were trained and alert
- An operational camera was placed over the exit doors
- The staff is properly trained
- The facility provided adequate staff for proper supervision
Emotional Abuse in Denver-Area Nursing Homes
Emotional health is linked directly to longevity. When your loved one is faced with emotional abuse, it impacts not only his or her quality of life, but also the duration of life itself. Emotional abuse of the elderly may include:
- Mocking the patient
- Terrorizing the patient
- Ignoring the patient
- Isolating the patient from other residents or activities
- Intimidation through yelling and threats
Nursing home abuse can take many forms. Unfortunately, unlike physical abuse, nursing home emotional abuse can be extremely difficult to identify. Sudden behavior changes are a leading indicator of nursing home emotional abuse. These behavioral changes include:
- Uncharacteristic aggression or agitation
- Withdrawal from the nursing home community
- Displaying visible discomfort around the nursing home staff
- New habits such as rocking, nail biting and similar nervous reactions
Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
It may come as a terrible surprise, but sexual abuse is one of the more common forms of abuse in nursing homes. Sexual predators find elderly patients to be particularly vulnerable because they are usually frail and defenseless. Seniors may also be targeted for sexual abuse because they have suffered a stroke or have some other physical condition that prohibits them from speaking or communicating with other people. When someone in a nursing home loses the ability to speak or defend themselves, they are at higher risk for sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse is any form of non-consensual sexual contact, including sexual harassment, sexually-explicit photography, sexual coercion inappropriate touching and rape. Often times, nursing home residents are not able to give consent due to some form of mental incapacitation. A nursing home resident can be sexually abused in a variety of situations, including:
- Sexual abuse by a nursing home staff member
- Sexual abuse by another resident
- Sexual abuse by a stranger
- Sexual abuse by a family member
The following signs may indicate that your loved one has been the victim of sexual abuse:
- Fear or anxiety when a particular staff member approaches to help the resident bathe, dress or use the toilet
- Rope burns on wrists or ankles
- Stained or bloody sheets
- Torn, stained or bloodied undergarments
- Unexplained genital irritation or injury
- Unexplained sexually transmitted disease
- Bruising on the inner thighs, genital areas or breasts
- Unexplained difficulty with walking or sitting
The most common form of non-physical abuse of the elderly is financial exploitation. When faced with a trusting, mentally incapacitated nursing home patient, an unscrupulous caregiver may:
- Steal the patient's identity
- Authorize withdrawals or transfers of money
- Forge signatures
- Steal money, checks or belongings
- Misuse the elderly patient's credit cards, checks or accounts
Beside outright thievery and misuse of funds, some people often try to swindle nursing home residents out of their money with common scams promoting fake charities, shady investment opportunities or phony "prizes".
Nursing Home Abuse and Wrongful Death
Horrifically, many tragic cases of nursing home abuse are so severe and long lasting that they result in the unnecessary death of a resident. This is the most heart-breaking experience a loved one can endure.
Nursing homes are obligated to provide safe environments, trusted staff members and adequate care. The safety of your loved one is their chief responsibility. Common causes of death caused by nursing home abuse include:
- Unwillingness to summon outside medical support
- Misdiagnosis or poor treatment by on-site medical staff
- Medication errors
- Neglect leading to malnourishment or untreated diseases
- Explicit physical abuse, including beatings
Damages in a Nursing Home Abuse Case
If your elderly loved one has been injured because of nursing home abuse or neglect, the experienced nursing home abuse lawyers of Leventhal Lewis will aggressively fight for the justice and compensation you deserve, which may include:
- Economic damages, including compensation for past, present and future medical costs and other out-of-pocket expenses
- Non-economic damages, including the loss of quality of life, as well as emotional pain and suffering
- Physical impairment or disfigurement, including compensation for physical disabilities or scars
- End of life expenses, including funeral costs and loss of companionship.
- Punitive damages: Issued as punishment for outrageous conduct.
Compassionate Legal Representation for Your Nursing Home Abuse Case in Denver, Aurora, Cherry Creek and Throughout Colorado
Perhaps more than most personal injury lawsuits, nursing home abuse cases are incredibly personal and emotionally difficult. You need to choose an experienced lawyer who will give you the personalized attention and compassionate focus that your case deserves.
When you contact the Denver office of Leventhal Lewis, you won't be transferred to an assistant or paralegal. You will speak immediately with our firm's partners, and they will continue to personally work on your case through every stage until its completion.
Our Denver nursing home abuse attorneys work on a contingency-based fee structure, which means we don't get paid unless you do.
If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of nursing home abuse in the Cherry Creek, Aurora or Denver areas, contact our nursing home abuse attorneys today to discuss your case for free.