Can An Attorney Help When Mother Is A Victim Of Elder Neglect In Nursing Home?

My mother was admitted to a nursing care facility last year and her health has deteriorated substantially.  She appears to have lost significant weight and she never seems happy or alert anymore.  I’m very concerned that she is being neglected.  How can I go about proving that she is a victim of neglect?



Answers (1)

Elder law has various statutes, regulations and decisions, which impact the lives of older American and their families.  It encompasses areas such as long-term care and nursing home care; financial and health care decision-making through the use of durable powers of attorney and end-of-life decisions through the use of advance directives and living wills.  Many states have created distinct measures to address abuse in institutional settings.  The authorities have special powers to investigate reports of abuse or neglect in nursing homes.  If necessary, they can revoke or deny operating permits to institutions, which violate the law, or allow their employees to commit offenses against elderly patients entrusted to their care.

Injuries involving neglect are more subtle, and often times, very difficult to see.  These may include insufficient food and water, failure to assist the resident who needs help bathing, eating or walking.  If you mother seems to be depressed and there has been an unexplained weight loss, this may indicate signs of neglect.  You should gather as much information as possible and report the neglect to the nursing home administrator.  You can also file a complaint with the department in your state that regulates nursing homes.

Additionally, you may want to consult with an attorney who specializes in the laws governing elder abuse and neglect.  A successful plaintiff may be awarded punitive damages if the respondent’s conduct was malicious and a willful disregard of the older patient’s rights.

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