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Arizona Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

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Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Phoenix

Many people need some type of long-term care when they grow older. According to Morningstar, 33% of people turning age 65 will need nursing home care at some point in their lives.[1] The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that 10,325 Arizonans lived in certified nursing facilities in the state as of 2019.[2]

While nursing homes fill an important role by providing care to people who are no longer able to care for themselves independently, nursing home neglect and abuse are pervasive problems. According to a systematic review of studies published in the European Journal of Public Health, 33.4% of nursing home residents reported being subjected to psychological abuse, 14.1% to physical abuse, 11.6% to neglect, 13.8% to financial abuse, and 1.9% to sexual abuse in institutional settings.[3]

If you suspect that your loved one has been the victim of elder abuse or neglect in an Arizona nursing home, you should reach out to an elder abuse lawyer at Lamber Goodnow. Our nursing home neglect lawyers in Phoenix understand the devastation that victims and families experience when nursing homes allow abuse and neglect to happen. We are dedicated to holding nursing homes accountable for their wrongful actions and helping our clients recover compensation for their losses.

Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Phoenix

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Phoenix

The attorneys at Lamber Goodnow in Phoenix have years of combined experience fighting for the rights of people who have suffered injuries because of the wrongful or negligent actions of others. We are a division of Fennemore Craig, P.C., which is the oldest law firm in Arizona. Our attorneys and legal staff strongly believe that people who have suffered injuries in nursing homes because of inadequate care or abuse should be fully compensated for their losses, and we fight to protect their rights.

Our nursing home abuse and neglect team has seen how things can go wrong and nursing facilities both through negligence and intentional abuse. If your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect while staying in a nursing home, you should reach out to a nursing home abuse lawyer Phoenix at Lamber Goodnow as soon as possible. We are prepared to provide you with a confidential and free consultation so that you can make an informed decision about your next steps. Our lawyers for nursing home neglect and abuse have a strong track record of holding long-term care facilities accountable for their negligent or wrongful actions. We are committed to protecting the legal rights of older adults who have been abused or neglected in Arizona long-term care and skilled nursing facilities. When you retain a nursing home abuse lawyer at our firm, you can feel confident that we will do everything possible to secure a favorable settlement or court award on behalf of you or your loved one.

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

Most people who think about nursing home abuse envision incidents in which their loved ones suffer physical injuries after being admitted to a nursing facility. However, there are multiple forms of nursing home abuse. The National Center on Elder Abuse has categorized the following seven types of elder abuse:

  • Physical abuse
  • Financial exploitation
  • Sexual abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Abandonment
  • Neglect
  • Self-neglect[4]

It is important to know the signs of the different types of elder abuse and to take action to protect your loved one.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Understanding the signs of nursing home abuse is important. Nursing home residents are frequently vulnerable, and many cannot communicate what is happening to them. Some staff members might take advantage of older residents because of their vulnerability. Some elderly adults might also not communicate what is occurring because of being afraid of their abusers. Some of the signs that might indicate your loved one is the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse include the following:

  • Unexplained sprains, dislocations, or broken bones
  • Bruises or welts on the body
  • Signs that an elderly person has been restrained such as marks on the wrists
  • Missing medications
  • Caregivers not allowing family members to meet with their loved ones alone
  • Refusing to allow family members to see their loved ones
  • Withdrawn behavior
  • Fearful behavior
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Torn, stained, or bloody underwear
  • Bruises around the genitals or breasts
  • Dehydration or unexplained weight loss
  • Unsanitary living environment
  • Bedsores
  • Lack of bathing
  • Unexplained withdrawals from the resident’s bank accounts
  • Checks written to specific staff members
  • ATM withdrawals from an account of a resident who is bedridden
  • Unusual services or subscriptions that the resident would not have purchased for himself or herself

Bedsores are a common sign of neglect in nursing homes. These are also known as pressure or decubitus ulcers and are caused by failing to turn bedridden residents regularly. When patients are left in the same position for extended periods, it can cause bedsores, severe pain, infections, and death.

Falls in nursing homes can also indicate neglect and can result in life-threatening injuries or death. Nursing homes must implement safeguards to prevent residents from falling and should balance their rights to be free with their risks of falling. When an elderly adult falls or is dropped in a nursing home, they can suffer fractures, subdural hematomas, and other serious injuries that can permanently impact their quality of life or result in death. Some older adults who fall and break bones never recover.

Choking is another concern for elderly nursing home residents. many older adults have dysphagia, and nursing homes should assess patients for swallowing issues and provide proper supervision and care during meals to prevent choking accidents. They must also provide adequate fluids to elderly adults to prevent dehydration. Staff should monitor a resident’s fluid intake and output to prevent them from becoming dehydrated.

When staff members fail to provide proper nutrition to residents, they can become malnourished. Unexplained weight loss might be a sign of malnutrition and neglect.

Patients with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia must be closely supervised and should be housed in memory care units. When a patient elopes from a nursing home facility, that can indicate that the staff has not provided appropriate supervision.

Medication errors sometimes occur in nursing homes, including giving patients the wrong medications or wrong doses. These types of medication errors can be fatal. Some staff members might also steal some of a patient’s medications, especially when the patient is prescribed narcotic pain relievers. Missing medications should be promptly investigated.

If your loved one has been the victim of any form of nursing home abuse or neglect, you should contact the lawyers for nursing home neglect and abuse at Lamber Goodnow. We can be reached at (602) 833-0663 and offer free consultations.

FAQs: Wrongful Death

It is unfortunate that some accidents can cause catastrophic injuries, up to and including deaths.

When fatalities happen because of the negligence or intentional actions of other people or entities, certain family members of the decedents may file civil lawsuits against the parties that are responsible for causing the deaths of their loved ones. This area of law falls under tort law, and the lawsuits are civil actions. The attorneys at Lamber Goodnow can review your potential claim for catastrophic injuries or deaths and help you to understand your next steps. Here are the most common questions that we receive from people about cases involving the deaths of their loved ones.

Q: What are some signs of abuse or neglect that I should watch for?

A: Some red flags that your loved one might be the victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home include such things as sudden behavioral changes, bedsores, dirty or bloody clothing, fractures, burns, cuts, bruises, STDs, unexplained and sudden weight loss, or appearing to be overly medicated. When you visit your loved one, pay attention to how the staff act around your family member and you. If they refuse to allow you to visit, seem annoyed that you are visiting, those are warning signs. It is also a warning sign if your loved one seems fearful around a particular staff person.

When it comes to your loved one, trust your instincts. If you suspect something, you should take action immediately to protect him or her.

Q: What are the laws that protect Arizona nursing home residents?

A: Arizona nursing home residents are protected under the Nursing Home Care Reform Act of 1987 and multiple state laws and regulations.[5] These laws establish standards to ensure that people who live in nursing homes receive the highest practicable care to protect their physical, emotional, mental, and social wellbeing. The regulations and laws enforce quality of care standards and establish a bill of rights for nursing home residents. To receive payments from Medicaid or Medicare, nursing facilities must comply with the requirements of these laws.

Q: How long do I have to file a lawsuit against a nursing home?

A: Under A.R.S. § 12-542, the statute of limitations for claims against nursing homes for personal injury is two years.[6] This means that you must file a lawsuit within two years of when the injury occurred. If you do not, you will risk losing the right to pursue damages. If your loved one passed away because of his or her injuries caused by neglect or abuse, you must file a claim within two years of his or her death.

While that might seem like a long time, a lot of work must be done before a lawsuit is filed. It is best for you to retain an elder abuse lawyer from Lamber Goodnow as soon as possible after the incident occurred. This will allow your attorney enough time to review the medical records, retain expert witnesses, and interview other witnesses who might have seen what happened.

Q: How do I prove a nursing home abuse claim?

A: The types of evidence you might need to prove a nursing home abuse claim will depend on the specific types of causes of action you bring. Some claims include such things as physical injuries, negligence, untimely death, and others.

In a lawsuit, you will have the burden of proof to show that the defendant owed a duty of care, that the defendant breached the duty of care, that you suffered damages, and that the defendant’s breach of the duty of care directly or proximately caused the injuries. An experienced nursing home neglect and abuse attorney at Lamber Goodnow can explain the types of evidence you might need and guide you through the various aspects of your claim throughout the litigation process.

Q: What do I do if I believe my loved one is being abused or neglected?

A: When you discover that your loved one has been the victim of abuse at a nursing home in Phoenix or elsewhere in Arizona, you likely will experience feelings of guilt, anger, and frustration. Depending on the situation, you can start by talking to the nursing home supervisor to learn more about what happened. If the situation cannot be resolved, you can file a complaint with the long-term care ombudsman for your county.[7]

If you believe your loved one has been physically or sexually abused or is in immediate danger, call the police to report it. You can also report abuse, neglect, or exploitation with Adult Protective Services.[8]

When you report a nursing home to the state for abuse and neglect, the state will initiate an investigation and send state inspectors to the facility. These inspectors will be able to review your loved one’s medical chart and conduct interviews. Once the investigation is complete, the inspectors will write a report and determine whether the case is substantiated or not. This type of report can be helpful when filing a negligence lawsuit against a nursing home.


 

Talk to a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Phoenix

Elderly people are among the most vulnerable and deserve to live in dignity. Unfortunately, however, some unscrupulous people take advantage of elderly people in nursing homes. The attorneys at Lamber Goodnow understand that family members may feel overwhelmed, angry, and guilty after they learn that their loved one has been injured because of nursing home abuse or neglect. Call us today for a free consultation at (602) 833-0663.

Sources

[1] https://www.morningstar.com/articles/957487/must-know-statistics-about-long-term-care-2019-edition

[2] https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/number-of-nursing-facility-residents/?currentTimeframe=0&selectedRows=%7B%22states%22:%7B%22arizona%22:%7B%7D%7D%7D&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6359898/

[4] https://ncea.acl.gov/Suspect-Abuse/Abuse-Types.aspx

[5] 42 U.S. Code § 1395i–3.

[6] A.R.S. § 12-542.

[7] https://des.az.gov/LTCOP

[8] https://des.az.gov/services/basic-needs/adult-protective-services/report-adult-abuse

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