Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys in Colorado
If there is one group that deserves our respect and attention, it is those incredible souls who have spent six, seven, or even eight decades of their lives fighting for our freedoms, forming our policy, building businesses, raising families, and making sure we live in the best country in the world.
This group of people makes up what is truly a national treasure, and nothing is worse than having a treasure that is abused or neglected. Far too many cases of abuse and neglect of our elderly are occurring every single day across our country. In fact, according to a 2020 study by the World Health Organization (WHO), 2 in 3 staff members within the nursing home/assisted living environment report having seen or even committed some form of abuse or neglect within the past year!
These types of reports should not and cannot be tolerated and at Ramos Law, we are perfectly positioned to help protect the health and lives of our elderly citizens. Our Founder, Dr. Joseph Ramos is BOTH a board-certified emergency room physician and a licensed attorney. Dr. Ramos’ unique combination of knowledge and skills makes him singularly qualified to help our seniors, and it gives our firm a deep understanding of the way medical facilities of all types work. Dr. Ramos has expertise and knowledge of the injuries seniors suffer — he has seen and treated the life-changing impacts that take place under conditions of neglect and abuse.
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Why Elderly Abuse Happens at Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities
The term for misconduct that occurs when a person or facility that is supposed to be caring for and protecting our elderly fails to fulfill their duties is known as elder abuse and neglect. For those of us who have entrusted the lives of one of our elderly family members or friends to a nursing home or assisted care facility, the thought of these “specialists” not doing their job with care and compassion is incomprehensible.
Unfortunately and unexplainably, even the best facilities have shortcomings ranging from employee issues to facility problems, and even the business philosophy of the owners. When it comes to employees, the facility owners may choose to hire fewer employees than required to provide the level of care that meets the state and/or national standards. In addition to understaffed facilities, inadequately trained and unqualified employees are commonplace. Geriatric patients often have physical and/or mental health conditions that require specialized care.
Because of the complicated nature of caring for seniors with health issues, having any “facility defects” can be deadly (literally), especially if combined with a team that is inexperienced, undertrained, or overworked. Facility defects include faulty and inadequate equipment, unsafe walking and sitting spaces, and insufficient communication systems.
Unfortunately, many of the causes that lead to elder abuse and neglect are the direct result of putting profits ahead of people. Investment in quality care is critical; however, if the primary concern of the owners is making money — then “never events” occur. “Never events” are those that should never happen: ulcers, falls, and infections to name a few. Putting profits over people creates an environment where accidents are both foreseeable and bound to happen. When a facility accepts cases that they are not equipped to handle, “never events’ occur.
Many states, including Colorado, have laws that prohibit assisted living facilities from admitting and retaining residents that should be in a higher level of care, but they do it anyway. Why? The disturbing answer is… MONEY. This type of behavior can and does result in injury and death. “Profits over people” occurs because many of the “high-end” facilities are owned by HUGE financial moguls like hedge funds, private equity investors, foreign corporations, and financial investors.
In the worst-case scenarios of abuse and neglect, the resident dies. In less extreme incidents, the person suffers bedsores, broken bones, infections, falls, mental distress, malnourishment, dehydration, or a combination of these conditions.
Another potentially deadly situation that can occur is known as elopement. An elopement occurs when a resident leaves the facility by themselves, unsupervised. When this happens, the person’s cognitive abilities, eyesight, or hearing may not be sufficient to allow them to perceive and understand the dangers around them. No matter how it occurs, elopements are extremely dangerous and should never happen! Elopements can result in injury and death by exposure to the elements, getting hit by cars, falling into ditches, falling off curbs, abduction by predators, etc.
When any of these horrible situations occur, it is common for the facility and the employees involved to deny any wrongdoing. Sometimes this occurs from a lack of understanding of the state and federal standards, regulations, and guidelines. Other times it stems from an unwillingness to admit the mistakes that were made at each and every level of the process. Disappointingly, many of the denials by the facility and the involved employees involve efforts to excuse or cover up their actions.
Every facility has a statutory and regulatory duty (by law) to know what is going on with your loved one. You have a right to receive a satisfactory explanation for any injury or adverse event that occurs. If you question any injury and do not receive a satisfactory explanation, contact Ramos Law as this could be a telltale sign of abuse or neglect.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Nursing home abuse and neglect includes psychological, sexual, financial, and physical abuse. According to the National Association of Nursing Home Attorneys (NANHA), approximately 1 in 10 Americans age 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse. In many cases, abuse and neglect leads to avoidable physical injuries. In fact, Nursing Home Abuse Justice reports that an average of 1.5 falls PER RESIDENT each year occur at least in part due to abuse or neglect!
Making sure that residents do not fall, develop bedsores, or elope from the facility are all examples of a nursing home staff’s responsibilities, yet these things needlessly and continually happen at an all too frequent rate. The experienced nursing home injury lawyers at Ramos Law specialize in nursing home neglect and we are dedicated to fighting for victims of elder abuse.
Some of the claims our nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys handle involve:
- Falls with fractures
- Pressure ulcers
- Elopements (wandering out of the facility)
- Brain bleeds
- Unexplained injuries
- Significant weight loss
- Medication errors
- Aspiration pneumonia
- Choking deaths
- Urinary tract infection (UTI) deaths
- Sexual or physical assault
One of the most common injuries caused by nursing home abuse or neglect is falls. Falls often result in fractures, brain bleeds, or other injuries. Falls may be caused by environmental hazards that the facility has neglected to correct such as rugs on floors, beds that are in the wrong position, or furniture in the wrong place. They can also be caused by non-environmental factors, such as staff not responding to call lights in a timely manner. The staff’s failure to provide proper assistance and supervision can lead to falls that result in serious injuries and death.
Another common injury caused by nursing home abuse or neglect is a pressure ulcer, often called a decubitus ulcer or bedsore. Failing to regularly turn and reposition residents put them at an increased and needless risk of experiencing pressure ulcers. The minimum standard of time between turning and repositioning a resident at risk for pressure ulcers is every two hours. However, understaffing can make it impossible for a staff member to perform this basic function. Pressure ulcers typically occur on a bony prominence (areas where bones are close to the surface), such as the back of the head, elbows, shoulder blades, heels, and most commonly the tailbone (coccyx or sacrum). Even if you or your loved one has an underlying condition such as diabetes, most pressure ulcers are preventable.
An elopement occurs when a resident leaves the facility by themselves. This is dangerous because an elderly person’s eyesight or cognition may not be sufficient to allow them to perceive and understand the dangers around them. No matter what the cause is, elopements are extremely dangerous and should never happen.
The facility has statutory and regulatory duties to know what is going on with your loved one. If you question an unexplained injury and the nursing home or staff member claims they do not know the cause or do not give you a satisfactory explanation, this is a telltale sign of abuse or neglect, and you should contact Ramos Law and our team of nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys.
How Our Colorado Elder Law Attorneys Can Help
When elder abuse and neglect occurs, it takes an expert in BOTH law and medicine to sort out the facts, understand the injuries and the mechanisms by which they occur, and explain those facts and injuries to the appropriate authorities who can right the wrongs committed and bring restitution to the victim and their families.
Because Dr. Ramos cares about our elderly and has seen and treated these types of injuries and cases so many times over the years, he’s put together a team of specialists in the field of elder abuse and neglect law. It is our goal at Ramos Law to stand up for those who are no longer capable of standing up for themselves. Our team has handled thousands of elder abuse and neglect claims around the country. We understand the medicine, standards of care, protocols, and regulations that will be relevant to you or your loved one’s nursing home abuse and neglect case.
Profits over people are not acceptable at Ramos Law. It is not part of our character, integrity, or values. If your loved one has suffered any adverse event while in a nursing home or assisted living facility, let us assist you.
Ramos Law — what makes us different makes us better. When it comes to elder abuse and neglect, our personal injury law firm in Colorado is certainly different in our skills, approach, and commitment to protecting our national treasure!
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