Alabama Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer
Protecting the rights of vulnerable adults
When you entrust your loved ones to the care of a nursing home because they need more care than you can provide for them, you expect that they will be kept safe and cared for properly. At Mezrano Law Firm, we are committed to bringing to justice those who abuse and neglect our elders. You can trust our compassionate Alabama nursing home abuse lawyers to fight for the rights and the protection of your loved ones.
What is elder abuse?
The U.S. Department of Justice reports that at least 10% of adults over age 65 will experience some form of abuse in a given year. The DOJ has identified five general categories of elder abuse: caregiver neglect, financial fraud and exploitation, psychological abuse, sexual abuse and physical abuse. The trauma of elder abuse can cause deteriorating health, hospitalization, increased mortality, depression and suicide, disrupted relationships and financial loss all of which can lead to a diminished quality of life for an individual and increased social isolation.
Those who are charged with caring for the elderly and other vulnerable adults are most often the ones who abuse and neglect them, including children, family members, spouses, nursing home and assisted living staff members and others. Some examples of the different types of elder abuse include:
- Physical abuse includes intentional infliction of harm to an elder
- Sexual abuse includes unwanted sexual contact with an elder or vulnerable adult who is unable or unwilling to content, is threatened or physically forced to participate
- Emotional abuse includes verbally abusive threats, verbal assaults, threats of abuse, harassment or intimidation
- Confinement is restraining the movement of an elder or isolating them other than for medical reasons
- Passive neglect is the failure of the caregiver to provide necessary food, water, clothing, shelter or medical care
- Willful deprivation is denying an elder the medication, medical care, shelter, food, a therapeutic device, physical assistance or exposing them to the risk of harm
- Financial exploitation is the misuse or withholding of an elder's own resource by someone else
of adults over age 65 will experience some form of abuse in a given year.
What is the difference between elder abuse and neglect?
Abuse is an overt act that is inflicted on another person who may or may not be able to defend themselves. Elder abuse can include physical, emotional, sexual abuse or financial exploitation.
Neglect can be equally as harmful but tends to be more passive in nature. An overworked caregiver neglects to address the physical hygiene needs of a resident, a resident is not receiving the care they need, and it precipitates a downward cycle of neglect.
Whether overt abuse or passive neglect, both inflict physical and emotional harm on nursing home residents who have the right to live in a safe, nurturing environment and have their needs addressed.
Nursing home residents’ Bill of Rights
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is the federal agency with oversight for federal healthcare services for the elderly have established a bill of rights for nursing home residents, which is supposed to be posted in the facility, and each resident must be given a copy. These resident rights include, but aren't limited to:
- The right to be treated with dignity and respect.
- The right to be informed in writing about services and fees before you enter the nursing home.
- The right to manage your own money or to choose someone else you trust to do this for you.
- The right to privacy, and to keep and use your personal belongings and property as long as it doesn't interfere with the rights, health, or safety of others.
- The right to be informed about your medical condition, medications, and to see your own doctor. You also have the right to refuse medications and treatments.
- The right to have a choice over your schedule (for example, when you get up and go to sleep), your activities and other preferences that are important to you.
- The right to an environment more like a home that maximizes your comfort and provides you with assistance to be as independent as possible.
What are the warning signs of nursing home abuse or neglect?
If you have a loved one who lives in a nursing home, and you are concerned that he or she is not receiving proper care, here are some of the warning sings you can keep watch for:
- Bedsores or decubitus ulcers, which should never occur and are preventable with proper care
- Unexplained bruises or broken bones could be a clue that they are being mistreated
- Changes in consciousness or mental state
- Displaying fear of the nursing home staff members
- Poor hygiene and unsanitary conditions
- They look malnourished or dehydrated
- Loss of mobility
- They appear agitated or withdrawn from activities
If they cannot be attributed to a health condition, any of these could be a warning sign that your loved one is not receiving adequate care, and they might be suffering from abuse or neglect.
Nursing home negligence lawsuits in Alabama
If you have become aware that a loved one who is a nursing home resident has been neglected or abused and has sustained injuries because of it, you may have grounds to file a claim for nursing home neglect, which would be a civil action. Depending on the nature of the injury, you might file a criminal complaint if your loved one was physically abused, but for nursing home neglect cases, you would likely file a personal injury lawsuit for the injuries.
Aside from the human decency perspective, nursing homes owe a duty of care to their residents to keep them safe and well cared for. Most nursing homes receive a significant amount of federal funding, so if they are falling below the accepted standard of care and people are injured and loved one’s file complaints, they can lose valuable funding. Holding the nursing home and its staff accountable for substandard care is a way to obtain justice for the resident who was injured, but it may also help to make sure that other residents do not suffer the same fate.
How to report elder abuse in Alabama
If you see an elder being abused or neglected, you are obligated to report it. If someone has been physically harmed, you can call law enforcement if you suspect physical or sexual assault. For other forms of abuse or neglect, the Alabama Department of Senior Services along with the Alabama Department Public Health are responsible for investigating allegations of elder abuse.
You can report anonymously.
To report elder abuse, call the Adult Abuse Hotline at 800-458-7214.
To report elder abuse to the Alabama Department of Public Health:
- In nursing homes: 800-356-9596
- In an assisted living facility: 800-873-0366
What can an Alabama nursing home neglect attorney do to help my case?
The experienced Alabama nursing home abuse lawyers at Mezrano Law Firm are here to help you learn and understand what your loved one’s rights are and inform you of your legal options in pursuing justice. We can assist you in filing a complaint against the facility, and we will officially inform the nursing home of the abuse and neglect allegations.
We will work with medical experts who can testify about your loved one's injuries and the accepted standard of care for a nursing facility and work with you to get a settlement for your loved one's injuries. You can be confident that we will make sure those who should be held responsible, are.
The Alabama nursing home abuse lawyers you can trust
At Mezrano Law Firm, we are here to fight for your loved one’s rights when they have been subject to nursing home abuse or neglect. With offices in Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery, Florence, Gadsden, and Tuscaloosa, we are here to serve you. You can call 205-206-6300 or fill out our contact form and schedule your free initial consultation with a compassionate Alabama nursing home abuse lawyer.
If you have a case, you have a lawyer. Call us now to learn more about what we can do for you.