Phoenix Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Attorney
Nursing homes are meant to be a valuable resource for our elderly population, a place where they can thrive without having to worry about the stress associated with living alone. Unfortunately, a segment of this population faces neglect and abuse in a nursing home setting. According to the National Council on Aging, one in ten elderly Americans are abused in nursing homes each year. However, these numbers don’t tell the whole story, as abuse is typically under-reported.
Nursing Home Abuse Defined
The CDC defines several types of elder abuse:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial abuse
In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services defines elder abuse as a willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or cruel punishment that results in pain, physical harm, or anguish. This is done by a person, including a caregiver, depriving someone of goods or services needed to avoid physical harm, anguish, or mental illness.
Physical abuse may be slapping, hitting, or improperly using restraints. Neglect and emotional abuse are harder to define, as each situation is unique. Generally, we define neglect as the failure of any caregiver, whether hired or family, to provide basic necessities to an elder. These needs are related to shelter, food, medical care, and hygiene. Visit our Elder Abuse and Neglect FAQs page for more information.
Common Types of Nursing Home Injuries
Our elderly are especially vulnerable because they may be unable to vocalize when something is wrong. Know the most common kinds of elder injuries:
- Medication errors. Overdosing or prescribing the wrong kinds of medications can greatly decrease one’s quality of life.
- Falls or head injuries. As we age, our bodies become weaker and we become injured more easily. A simple fall can lead to broken bones and permanent consequences.
- Bed sores. Elderly persons who cannot get out of bed must be moved often to avoid the development of painful ulcers. Neglecting to do so can result in serious injury.
- Malnutrition and dehydration. Make sure your loved one has adequate access to quality food and water (or feeding tubes, if necessary). Watch for evidence of dry lips or weight loss.
Arizona Elder Abuse and Neglect: Who’s Liable?
If an elder is abused in a health care or nursing home setting, the facility may be liable for a number of reasons:
- Negligent hiring
- Errors in dispensing medication
- Lack of adequate training
- Failing in fulfilling obligations
Nursing home facilities are responsible for the actions of their employees, a term known as “vicarious liability.” If a third party vendor is involved, it may also be held liable for negligence. For example, if a nursing home hires the help of an outside physician who negligently prescribes medication, the third party practice may also be liable for damages.
Elder Abuse and Neglect in Arizona
Certain entities, like health care facilities and employees, are required by law to report suspicions of elder abuse. If you suspect elder abuse, you should immediately contact Arizona Adult Protective Services. You aren’t required to provide evidence of abuse to report it. Arizona also has a free hotline, funded by the National Center on Elder Abuse, to report suspected elder abuse or neglect.
Your Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Attorney in Phoenix, Arizona
If you suspect your loved one is being abused or has been injured through someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible for compensation. Nursing home employees are required by law to exercise reasonable care around their residents and tend to their daily needs. Failure to act accordingly is considered negligence.
Contact the elder abuse attorneys at Cullan and Cullan for a free case evaluation. We offer our services on a contingency-fee basis, so you only pay if we win.