Nursing Home Abuse: What to Do if You Suspect Abuse
If you suspect that your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, there are many steps you can take to help resolve the issue even before contacting an attorney. The litigation process is not always the most effective way to deal with these issues. Sometimes, a more informal grievance process is a better suited course of action. However, if you suspect Nursing Home Malpractice you can always contact our office for a Free Case Review.
Legal action really should be the last recourse against abusive Tennessee nursing homes. Instead, you should try to help prevent the conduct from occurring in the first place. There are several steps you can take to help protect your loved ones.How to Reduce Nursing Home Abuse
Oftentimes abuse and neglect take place because the nursing home staff is not held accountable for their actions. Employees feel they can cut corners without anyone noticing. One way to prevent this is to make unannounced visits to your loved one at the nursing home. Frequent visits will force the nursing home staff to be more alert and do their jobs the right way or else face the consequences of cutting corners.
Another way to protect your loved one from abuse or neglect is to plan visits on different days of the week and during different shifts over the course of a day. Make sure you have an understanding of the level of care your loved one will be receiving during the mornings, evenings, weekends, etc. You may find that the staff operates differently at different times.
Finally, you can speak directly with the nursing home staff. The staff knows the most about the care your loved one is receiving and can be a great source of information. Don't be worried about potentially approaching the responsible party. Your comments might fix the problem altogether, or you might even find someone willing to speak out against the nursing homes practices.Notify Tennessee Authorities
Tennessee's branch of the United States Department of Health is responsible for regulating the states nursing homes. However, it is the Tennessee Board of Nursing Home Administrators that actually investigates complaints, issues citations, and imposes fines. If you suspect that your loved one has been abused or neglected by a Tennessee nursing home, you should contact the Tennessee Board of Nursing Home Administrators.
There are several other state agencies that may be able to offer you some assistance, many of which will take your calls twenty-four hours a day. Some important numbers to know include:
- Tennessee Adult Protective Services: (888) APS-TENN
- Nashville Adult Protective Services: (615) 532-3492
- Knoxville Adult Protective Services: (865) 594-5685
- Chattanooga Adult Protective Services (423) 634-6624
- TN Dept. of Health: (800) 778-4504
- TN Ombudsman: (800) 264-0904 or (615) 532-1572
It's important to remember that pursuant to Tennessee law, all persons capable of reporting suspected abuse are required to do so.
If none of the above steps adequately resolve the problems then please feel free to contact one of our experienced Chattanooga Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers.Holding Tennessee Nursing Homes Accountable
Our Chattanooga nursing home abuse lawyers are ready to hold nursing homes and staff members accountable for any wrongful actions. Under Tennessee laws, victims of nursing home abuse or neglect have a right to file a civil claim to recover compensation. In general, this can be filed by:
- The victim (resident)
- The guardian of the resident
- A person or organization acting on behalf of the victim, and with their consent
- The personal representative of a victim who died
It is recommended that you have a good nursing home abuse lawyer in Chattanooga on your side. Your lawyer can help you to establish the following things to ensure your case is irrefutable:
- The nursing home and staff owed the victim a duty of care.
- They breached that duty of care.
- The breach of the duty of care resulted in injuries or death.
- Due to the injuries or death, financial loss and other losses occurred.
Negligence and abuse may be similar, or even overlap one another; however, there are differences. While abuse is often intentional, and typically includes physical, sexual, emotional, or financial injury, negligence may be an action that is more passive, but equally injurious. As a Chattanooga nursing home abuse lawyer, we have handled cases involving the following types of neglect:
Poor Hiring Practices - A nursing home has an obligation to hire qualified staff who have the necessary skills and training. They must pass a background check and meet all federal and state requirements. When a staff member does not meet these needs, but is hired and harms a resident, the facility can be held liable for negligence.
Insufficient Training - If a staff member is not taught how to handle unruly patients, administer medications, clean bedsores, and so forth, and the resident is injured, the facility may be held accountable.
Understaffing - Many nursing homes are understaffed. Without the appropriate staff to patient ratio, the quality of care will certainly decline. A lack of staff can cause medication errors, dehydration, malnutrition, poor hygiene, and ultimately neglect. If you believe abuse or neglect is taking place, don't hesitate to reach out to a Chattanooga nursing home abuse lawyer from The Higgins Firm. We can review your case and help you to understand what legal options are available. Call 1.800.705.2121.