Elder Abuse and Neglect

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Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys

There is one group that deserves our respect and attention. It is those incredible souls who 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 an abused or neglected treasure. Far too many cases of elderly abuse and neglect occur every day across our country. According to a 2020 World Health Organization (WHO) study, 2 in 3 nursing home/assisted living staff members reported seeing or committing abuse or neglect within the past year!

These types of reports should not and cannot happen, and at Ramos Law, we 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. It gives our firm a deep understanding of how medical facilities 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.

At Ramos Law, We Believe That...

A test of a people is how it behaves toward the old. It is easy to love children. Even tyrants and dictators make a point of being fond of children. But the affection and care for the old, the incurable, the helpless are the true gold mines of a culture.

Abraham J. Heschel

Why Elderly Abuse Happens at Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities

The term for misconduct that occurs when a person or facility that supposedly cares for and protects our elderly fails to fulfill their duties is 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.

Understaffed and Improperly Trained Employees

Unfortunately and unexplainably, even the best facilities have shortcomings ranging from employee issues to facility problems and even the business philosophy of the owners. Regarding employees, the facility owners may hire fewer workers 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 an inexperienced, undertrained, or overworked team. 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 directly result from putting profits ahead of people. Investment in quality care is critical; however, if the owners’ primary concern is making money, then “never events” occur. 

“Never Events”

“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 they are not equipped to handle, “never events” occur.

Many states 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 HUGE financial moguls like hedge funds, private equity investors, foreign corporations, and financial investors own many of the “high-end” facilities.

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.

The Facility’s Statutory Duties

When these horrible situations occur, it is typical for the facility and the employees involved to deny any wrongdoing. Sometimes this happens 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 they made at every level of the process. Disappointingly, many of the denials by the facility and the involved employees include 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. If you question any harm and do not receive an adequate answer, 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 include 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 elder abuse. In many cases, abuse and neglect lead to avoidable physical injuries. Nursing Home Abuse Justice reports that an average of 1.5 falls PER RESIDENT each year occur partly due to abuse or neglect!

Some claims our nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys handle may include:

  • Falls with fractures
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Elopements (wandering out of the facility)
  • Brain bleeds
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Significant weight loss
  • Medication errors
  • Aspiration pneumonia
  • Infections
  • Sepsis
  • Amputations
  • Choking deaths
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI) deaths
  • Sexual or physical assault

Falls are among the most common injuries caused by nursing home abuse or neglect. Falls often result in fractures, brain bleeds, or other injuries. Environmental hazards the facility neglects to correct, such as floor rugs, improperly positioned beds, or misplaced furniture, can cause a fall.

Non-environmental factors, like staff refusing to answer call lights promptly, can also cause falls. 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 called decubitus or bedsore. Failing to regularly turn and reposition residents puts them at an increased and needless risk of experiencing pressure ulcers. 

The minimum standard of time between turning and moving a resident at risk for pressure ulcers is every two hours. However, understaffing can make it impossible for a staff member to perform this essential function. 

Pressure ulcers typically occur on a bony prominence (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). Most pressure ulcers are preventable even if you or your loved one has an underlying condition such as diabetes.

An elopement occurs when a resident leaves the facility by themselves. Elopements are dangerous because an older adult’s eyesight or cognition may not be sufficient to allow them to perceive and understand the dangers around them. No matter the cause, 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. Suppose 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. In that case, 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.

Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in Arizona

How Our 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. Additionally, understanding the injuries and how they happened and explaining them to authorities requires expert knowledge. These authorities can right the wrongs and bring restitution to the victims 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 elder abuse and neglect law field. Our goal at Ramos Law is 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 is not acceptable at Ramos Law. It is not part of our character, integrity, or values. Let us assist you if your loved one has suffered any adverse event while in a nursing home or assisted living facility. What makes us different makes us better. Regarding elder abuse and neglect, we are indeed different in our skills, approach, and commitment to protecting our national treasure!

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