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Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Nursing Home

It’s difficult to trust a stranger with the full care of your loved one, but sometimes a professional is the only one who can best take care of someone who can no longer safely live on their own. It is good practice to check the facilities out before deciding on a location, but it can be difficult to know what to look for specifically–instead of trying to go through a detailed checklist that may not indicate the quality of care, there are a few simple questions to ask yourself.

Before you go, familiarize yourself with red flags that may be an indication of elder abuse.

What do you hear?

In every nursing home, you will hear patients calling for help or moaning. These are unlikely signs of nursing home abuse or mistreatment. Instead, listen to how staff speaks with patients and one another. When staff considers how their patients wish to be addressed and show respect rather than using nicknames or “grandpa,” it is a good sign.

What do you smell?

Of course, all facilities will have a certain funny smell due to medications and diets. However, the amount of scent tells a lot. If you pick up a whiff of urine, it typically means someone recently had an accident. Strong, stale smells of urine that reek throughout the facility, on the other hand, are a sign of improper cleaning.

How does the food look and taste?

It is difficult enough to get older folk to eat. Having palpable food helps keep good spirits in a nursing home and will encourage them to eat regularly. It is also important to check out what types of diets they offer and if you can bring in homemade food to give them a taste of home.

How do residents spend their time?

If you see a large group hanging around a nurses’ station or together in a community room, it’s a good sign. Residents who are consistently tucked away in their rooms often have depression and other mental health issues.

How does the staff interact?

Respect starts with the staff. If they address each other harshly or disrespectfully, it can be assumed they will have the same attitude toward your loved one. It is also important to listen to what they discuss. Staff that gossips rather than going over care plans should be avoided.

If your loved one is showing signs of abuse, be proactive. Get in contact with one of our Connecticut nursing home abuse lawyers at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers as soon as possible to keep your loved one safe.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Last month, six different Connecticut nursing homes were fined over incidents that involved abuse. Residents were subjected to physical abuse, broken limbs, and one case of dehydration that was so severe that the resident died. With the newspapers reporting these horrific stories from all around the country on a regular basis, it is no wonder that so many adult children and loved ones of those who have been placed in long term care can’t sleep at night. The mere thought of something like that happening sends a chill down the spine and makes us all too aware of the extreme vulnerability of our family members and friends, who are often either unable or too afraid to speak for themselves.

The good news is that there are concrete steps you can take and red flags that you can look out for to help protect your loved one. The attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers represent those who have been the victims of physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect in nursing home environments, and we have learned that there are specific signs of nursing home abuse that you should be on the lookout for. These include:

  •  Physical pain, injury or impairment of the resident such as may have been caused by the use of force. It is also important to look for signs that any type of restraints have been used, whether physical restraints that leave marks on the wrists or ankles, restraint through medical means such as being heavily drugged, or being kept in confinement.
  • When residents of a nursing home are subjected to emotional abuse they are treated in a way that causes them humiliation, embarrassment, or emotional pain. This can include being yelled at or threatened, ridiculed, or made to feel that they are responsible for others unhappiness. When a nursing home resident is treated in this way it often becomes apparent through their fearfulness or withdrawal.
  • Sexual abuse of nursing home residents happens all too frequently, and can include direct sexual content or indirect content in which they are forced to look at pornography or to watch others engage in sexual acts. Signs can include bleeding, bruising or tearing of the genitals or breasts, sexually transmitted diseases, torn or bloody sheets and withdrawal.
  • Neglect happens all too frequently in nursing homes that are understaffed or whose staff members have been poorly trained. Residents may not be fed or provided with water, may not be provided with the medication that they need, or may simply be left alone and deserted in a public place within the home, without attention or compassionate treatment. Hygiene may be ignored, clothes unwashed, and room conditions are often a mess. The signs of this are often withdrawal and regression, as well as dehydration and malnutrition.

When you believe that your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse, it is important that you act quickly to report it in order to prevent the abuse from continuing. The attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers can help you through this process, ensuring that your loved one is removed to a safe environment and that they are provided with the compensation that they need to recover from the abuse and to ensure that they get justice.

May is Elder Abuse Awareness and Elder Law Awareness Month

The question of which was established first — Elder Abuse Awareness Month or Elder Law Awareness Month — is a good one. It is probably no coincidence that both fall in the same month, the month of May, as the two are necessarily intertwined. Though we like to imagine that when people reach a certain age, they are treated with an appropriate level of dignity and respect, this is not necessarily the case. It is equally necessary for us to be aware of the existence of elder abuse and of the solutions that are available when we become aware that it is happening. The attorneys at Perkins Law know that they can’t prevent elder abuse from happening, but they are committed to ensuring that those who are the victims of these indignities and outrages get the justice that they deserve.

Elder abuse is defined as any form of mistreatment of an older person that results in them suffering harm or loss. It can take may shapes, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological or financial abuse, or neglect.  As shameful as it may seem, it is estimated that roughly 5 percent of America’s elderly population are victimized in this way, and the results can be devastating. Those who have been abused have far shorter life expectancy then their peers who have not. Though elder abuse can occur in a domestic setting, the majority of incidents take place in facilities such as nursing homes or long-term care facilities that have been entrusted with their care.

Elder law is an area of practice that addresses issues of particular interest to people as they age. The primary focus is on estate planning, Medicaid and disability, and guardianship, conservatorship and other fiduciary issues. Unfortunately, as elder abuse has become a more prevalent issue, it has become a sad but necessary for elder law attorneys to be available to provide legal protection and advocacy, and the attorneys at Perkins Law take this responsibility very seriously. As nursing home abuse attorneys, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of the most vulnerable among us, so if you believe that your loved one has been the victim of any time of abuse, whether at the hands of a caregiver in their home or in a facility that you have entrusted with their care, contact us right away for immediate assistance.

It is difficult to comprehend what drives a person to inflict abuse upon an elderly person, and especially one whose well-being they are responsible for, but as elder law attorneys, the law firm of Perkins Law is focused on making sure that those who have been victimized are kept safe and that they get the compensation that they need and deserve. During elder law awareness month and all year long, if you suspect that someone you love has been the victim of elder abuse in Connecticut, contact Perkins Law today to get immediate and consequential action.

Nursing Home Prescription Errors – Know The Signs

Placing someone you care about into a nursing home is a decision that nobody takes lightly. When you sign the papers, pack up their belongings and hand them over to the staff that will be providing them care, there is an overwhelming sense of helplessness and loss of control. Though you should always hope for the best, it is also important to be vigilant and cautious, as nursing home abuse and neglect happen all too frequently, and so do nursing home prescription errors. Mistakes in dosing and distributing medications have reached epidemic proportions in nursing homes throughout the country, so it is important that you are familiar with the signs and know what to do in case any of them begin to emerge.

There are countless reasons why medication errors take place so frequently in nursing home settings. Studies have shown that nursing home patients are frequently prescribed multiple drugs, with 68 percent of long-term care patients receiving nine or more medications per day, and one third receiving twenty or more.  Combine the volume of medications with the fact that patients are often unable to communicate and staff is often overworked and undertrained, and it is a recipe for disaster. One study has determined that approximately half of all adverse drug events are caused by medication errors, and it is these events that family members need to be on the lookout for. Adverse drug events can include:

  • Falls
  • Fractures
  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Incontinence
  • Delirium
  • Behavior problems

The types of mistakes that lead to medication errors include lack of proper assessment of the resident, lack of monitoring of the patient for either effectiveness of the drug or negative side effects, lack of recognition on the part of the staff of adverse drug reactions, and attributing symptoms of adverse drug reactions to other causes.

The problems of providing medications to nursing home patients are varied. Physicians may be unaware of the various drugs that a patient is taking, or unable to keep up with the many patients in their charge and the possibility of drug interactions that may take place in a population that is taking so many medications. There are also problems with the general management of distributing, administering and monitoring medications. Drugs are frequently mistaken for one another, incorrect dosages are delivered, and lack of communication among staff members may lead to residents skipping doses or receiving double doses of medicines.

The regulations that govern nursing homes require that great care is taken with administering medication to this fragile population. There are strategies available for improving the situation, including implementing process and tools for documentation, increased efficiency and controls, but nursing homes often forego these options due to cost considerations. This leaves residents at risk, and family members responsible for keeping a careful eye on how their loved one is responding and reacting within the nursing home setting.

If you have concerns that your loved one is the victim of nursing home prescription errors, it is important that you act quickly. The compassionate lawyers at Jonathan Perkins Attorneys At Law have extensive experience in protecting the rights of nursing home and long-term care residents, and we can help your loved one too.

Learn more about Nursing Home Prescription Errors here:  https://800perkins.com/what-we-do/nursing-home-abuse/

Nursing Home Abuse: Signs To Watch Out For

Making the decision to put a loved one into the care of a nursing home can be a highly emotional process, but news reports about nursing home abuse make things even more difficult.  No matter how thoroughly you research the facility that you select, there is always the nagging sensation that you might have missed something, or that the facility itself is not as careful as they should be in screening their employees, and you are right to worry. Statistics indicate that roughly one in ten nursing home residents are victimized by abuse and that beyond that number, one in 14 cases is never detected or reported. As the child, friend or relative of a nursing home resident, this means that once your loved one is situated, you need to be even more vigilant and keep alert for the numerous warning signs of abuse.

To be on the lookout for abuse, you must also understand that it can come in several different forms, including physical, emotional, sexual, and financial. Residents can also be subject to neglect by caregivers, which can also be deadly. The signs that you need to watch out for are extensive, and include:

  • Changes in personality
  • Tension between the resident and caregiver
  • Unexplained injuries, including bruises
  • Broken bones, sprains or dislocations
  • Broken eyeglasses
  • Restraint marks on wrists
  • Caregiver refusing to allow you to be alone with the resident
  • Rocking, sucking or mumbling
  • Withdrawal
  • Bruising around breasts or genitals
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Vaginal or anal bleeding
  • Torn, stained or bloody sheets or underwear
  • Substantial withdrawals of money from accounts
  • Personal items and cash missing
  • Unexplained and inappropriate credit card purchases

Signs of neglect include:

  • Weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration
  • Bed sores
  • Dirty sheets, clothing, unchanged diapers
  • Resident is dirty or unbathed
  • Clothing inappropriate or insufficient
  • Hazardous or insufficient conditions in environment, including lack of heat or hot water, obstacles in hallways
  • Residents left sitting unattended in public places

There are a number of reasons why nursing home abuse takes place. Caring for an infirm person can be immensely rewarding but can also be exhausting and stressful, particularly when caring for a number of residents. Nursing home employees are often overworked and underpaid and the facilities themselves are often understaffed. Because finding appropriate staff can be difficult, many facilities cut corners, skipping essential background checks and hiring staff members who are underqualified, lack appropriate training and are insufficiently supervised.

Placing a loved one into the care of a nursing home facility is a matter of trust, and when that trust is betrayed and a resident shows signs of being a victim of abuse or neglect, it is essential that you act quickly and decisively in order to ensure that they are safe and protected.  Take whatever action is necessary, including taking photos of injuries, gathering medical records and removing them to another facility, informing the authorities and filing a complaint with the appropriate agencies. The compassionate, experienced nursing home abuse attorney from Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers

can help you with this process and assist you in holding the responsible parties accountable.

Read More About Nursing Home Abuse Here:


Elder Abuse: A 101 Guide to Spotting Elder Abuse

If you have an elderly loved one who is living in an assisted living community, a nursing home, or some other environment that is outside of your constant access, you probably worry about them a great deal. Not only are elderly at risk for all of the conditions and issues that can come with old age and failing health, but there are also issues of elder abuse and neglect that are cause for concern.  Whether you are worried about a neighbor, a parent or relative, or a long-time friend who is at risk, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the warning signs of elder abuse so that you can take action quickly if you see it.

The most common indications that an older person may be being victimized by an abuser include:

  • Signs of physical abuse, including unexplained bruises on their body, broken bones for which there are no good explanations, burn or abrasion marks on the skin, and pressure marks on the wrists, ankles or waist that may indicate that they have been restrained
  • Signs of emotional abuse, including changes in mood, such as depression or withdrawal and diminished interest in engagement with normal social activities and hobbies
  • Signs of sexual abuse, including bruising around the genitals or breasts, bloody underwear, pajamas or bed sheets, and evidence of sexually transmitted diseases
  • Signs of financial abuse and exploitation usually show up in credit card bills with unexplained charges for items that they are not likely to use, withdrawals from financial accounts, missing personal items and cash, and a general change in their financial situation
  • Signs of neglect include bedsores, malnutrition, dehydration, unusual weight loss, and unattended hygiene and medical needs
  • Lack of cooperation or evidence of tension from the staff, including refusing to let you see your loved one without them being present in the room at the same time

It is important to keep in mind that not every negative occurrence that takes place in the life of an elderly person is an indication of abuse. The elderly person may be prone to bruising as a result of medication that they are taking, may lose their balance easily and that can result in a fall. However, if the person that you are concerned about expresses fear or tells you that they are being abused, it is important to take them seriously. It is generally a good idea to schedule visits to a nursing home or care facility at a variety of times without announcing when you can be expected.

If you do suspect elder abuse or neglect, your first step needs to be ensuring the safety of your loved one. Call the appropriate authorities, as it is better to be safe than sorry and a truly caring facility will appreciate that you are acting out of concern. If you find that your loved one has been victimized and you need legal representation in order to help pay for any medical expenses, relocation needs or damages that they have suffered, the caring attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers can help. Contact us today to set up an immediate appointment.

Read More About Elder Abuse here:


Financial Abuse of the Elderly Grows

Financial abuse of the elderly is a problem that continues to grow in this country. The non-profit organization, Investor Protection Trust (IPT) released a survey this week about financial exploitation. According to the IPT, the most common type of financial abuse is when relatives steal or divert funds or property. Other common types of financial abuse include caregiver theft and scams perpetrated by strangers.

USA Today reports that the IPT conducted the survey after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau requested more information about financial abuse.

MetLife says that during 2010 elder adults lost $2.9 billion in financial scams. Elder adults are sometimes susceptible to fraud because of diminished mental capacity.

Due to the growing issue of financial abuse among the elderly, the IPT has created the Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation (EIFFE) prevention program. The program consists of 3,000 U.S. healthcare professionals that are trained to spot elder adults that a vulnerable to financial abuse.

It is not uncommon for financial abuse to occur in a nursing home or an assisted living facility. If you or a loved one has been financially exploited, you may be entitled to legal recourse. Contact a nursing home abuse attorney at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers to discuss your legal options.

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