Nursing homes throughout our state are designed to provide a high level of care to the residents that they serve.
To be sure, not only are there specific licensing requirements for nursing homes, but nursing homes are also tasked with providing 24/7 nursing care; room and board for residents; assistance with even the most basic of daily activities, such as bathing; and rehabilitation and specialized services, such as dementia care, in some cases.
As such, it’s no wonder that when your loved one is staying within a Denver nursing home, you have an expectation that they will receive the care, attention, and support they need; neglect and abuse may be the furthest things from your mind.
Unfortunately, Denver nursing home abuse and neglect happens more often than it should, and when it does, affected nursing home residents are at risk of injury and harm. If you believe that your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, you should act quickly. Our Denver nursing home abuse attorneys can help.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Denver
Nursing home abuse and neglect can come in various forms. Being able to recognize the signs of different types of abuse and neglect is important.
- Physical abuse. Physical abuse is the most blatant type of nursing home abuse, and the easiest for a third-party to identify. Physical abuse refers to hitting, kicking, biting, punching, pinching, improperly restraining, burning, or otherwise using physical force to control, intimidate, threaten, or cause harm to a resident. Physical abuse can also include intentionally depriving a resident of food or drink or even abusing the resident’s medication by refusing medication or using medication to control the resident (i.e. overly sedating a resident).
- Sexual abuse. Sexual abuse of a nursing home resident is a heinous act, but one that happens nonetheless. This type of abuse involves any unwanted, non-consensual sexual contact between a nursing home resident and a nursing home staff member. You may be able to recognize sexual abuse by both the physical and psychological symptoms that result, including bruising, torn clothing, bleeding or bloodied undergarments, the appearance of sexually-transmitted infection, withdrawal, anger, and other emotional changes.
- Emotional/psychological abuse. Not all types of abuse are physical; emotional or psychological abuse is extremely common in nursing homes. This type of abuse involves using tactics such as harassing or bullying the nursing home resident, refusing to allow the resident to participate in social activities, teasing the resident, refusing to provide the resident with any social stimulation, refusing to let the resident spend time with family and loved ones who come to visit, or otherwise using speech or actions to intimidate or threaten the resident. While emotional and psychological abuse may appear to be less acutely dangerous to a resident’s health and wellbeing than is sexual or physical abuse, emotional abuse can have multiple physical consequences; the brain and the body are strongly linked.
- Financial exploitation. Understanding that elderly persons within a nursing home are often vulnerable and easier to manipulate as such, some nursing home employees will view working with nursing home residents as an opportunity to acquire financial gain and will engage in financial exploitation of residents. Financial exploitation of a nursing home resident could mean convincing a nursing home patient to open a new credit card, change a will or estate planning document, make a large cash withdrawal, take out a new loan, and more. It may also mean directly stealing from the nursing home resident. As the loved one of someone who is within a nursing home, you should keep your eyes out for any major changes to your loved one’s financial picture.
- Neglect is a type of nursing home negligence and malpractice that is less obvious than is abuse. Abuse is intentional; the abusive caretaker intends to hurt, harm, intimidate, threaten, or manipulate the elderly person. Neglect, on the other hand, is often unintentional and may be the result of understaffing and a poor patient-to-staff ratio. Acts of neglect might include failing to bathe a patient or otherwise assist with personal hygiene, leaving a patient unattended in their bed for hours at a time, failing to ensure that a resident is receiving proper nutrition/hydration, a lack of proper or appropriate medical care, failing to assist a patient with walking and mobility, and more. Deterioration of health, poor hygiene, bedsores, unexplained injuries, and weight loss are all signs of potential nursing home neglect.
Injuries that Can Happen as a Result of Denver Nursing Home Abuse
When nursing home abuse or neglect is occurring, the injuries that a nursing home resident may suffer as a result are very serious. Elderly people, especially those with serious health conditions, are not nearly as resilient as are younger adults, and something as seemingly as innocuous as a minor fall injury could have severe, or even fatal, consequences.
Some of the types of injuries and patient harm that are most common when nursing home abuse and neglect are occurring (and which vary depending upon the type of abuse/neglect) include:
- Slip and fall injuries;
- Bone fractures;
- Bedrail injuries, including bedrail entrapment and strangulation;
- Dehydration leading to digestive issues, urinary tract infections, kidney issues, and more;
- Wandering and getting lost (if residents aren’t properly supervised, they may leave the facility, and could be at risk of any number of accidents as such);
- Medication errors leading to a serious deterioration in condition or death;
- Untreated diseases or conditions; and more
In addition to the physical harm that may befall a nursing home patient, note that all types of abuse and neglect can have psychological impacts on a nursing home resident too, including depression, anxiety, and a diminished quality of life. For elderly people, something like depression can be dangerous, leading to social isolation, malnutrition, and even suicide or early natural death.
Colorado Nursing Home Abuse FAQs
If you suspect that a family member has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect in Colorado, there are many urgent questions you should address about how to protect both them and their rights. The experienced nursing home attorneys at Olson Law Firm, LLC are here to listen and answer your questions during a confidential and private consultation.
We know that this is a very overwhelming time, so while you are waiting for your meeting with our team member, we wanted to provide you with a resource that might help give you some relief. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about nursing home abuse that we receive at Olson Law Firm, LLC:
Nursing Home Abuse
To help prevent abuse in nursing homes, the federal government has passed laws to preserve patients’ rights. More specifically, federal law guarantees the nursing home patients the right to:
- Be treated with dignity and respect
- Participate in the planning of their care
- Refuse certain treatments
- Be informed of the services the facility provides and their costs
- Choose their own physician and pharmacy
- Know about all medical care options and conditions
- Be informed about policies and procedures
- Use their clothing and possessions.
- Manage their personal finances
- Not be subjected to abusive treatment of any form, including physical, emotional, or sexual abuse or neglect
- Not be restrained for punishment or convenience
- Stay at a nursing home as long as the facility is capable of providing medical care, payments are made promptly, and the facility is still in operation
- Be able to speak freely about unsatisfactory care
- Have visitors
- Have privacy
In Colorado, which is similar to most states, nursing homes are generally regulated by:
- Colorado’s Department of Public Health & Environment
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Each agency has its own regulations that manage nursing home operations, including resident care, staffing, and policies and procedures.
The nursing home may be held liable for both economic and non-economic losses, which may include:
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of quality of life
If the victim died because of the nursing home abuse, the deceased’s survivors may claim compensation for funeral expenses, wrongful death, loss of companionship, and emotional and mental suffering.
Despite the nursing home regulations from several agencies, many cases of nursing home abuse go unreported. Unfortunately, abuse can often be challenging to identify. However, there are still signs that you can watch out for, such as:
- Open sores or cuts
- Bruising, bleeding, or bandages
- Restraint marks around mouth, wrists, or ankles
- Unusual odors, an indication of soiling, and poor hygiene
- Unclean facilities and rooms
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering abuse in a nursing home, there are steps you can take to help protect your family member’s safety and rights:
- Try to verify your loved one’s story.
- Immediately transfer the victim to a safer environment.
- Report the abuse to Colorado’s Adult Protective Services.
- Take the loved one to a counselor to help them talk about and deal with the abuse.
- Seek an experienced nursing home abuse attorney who is knowledgeable about laws that apply to your situation.
If your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse in a Denver-area nursing home, let the Olson Law Firm help you. We understand what you are going through, and we’re ready to listen to your story, advise you on immediate steps you can take to protect your family member, and help you understand their rights.
We are always available to answer your questions. Because we understand that everyone has different comfort levels with regards to today’s situations, we have established a virtual protocol so that we can meet with our clients from the comfort of their homes. We are here for you. We want to make sure you are heard. We are here to help. To get things started, call the Olson Law Firm at our Golden or Denver offices or complete our online form today. We will respond to you shortly.
What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse in Denver, CO
If you suspect that nursing home abuse is occurring, you should act immediately. It is important to document any signs of abuse that you can and to gather and record any evidence of abuse.
If you believe that your loved one is at imminent risk of bodily harm, you should call 911 immediately. Otherwise, you should act by reporting the nursing home abuse to a nursing home manager; reporting the suspected abuse to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and calling an experienced Denver nursing home abuse attorney to explore your legal options.
How Do I Report Nursing Home Abuse?
For immediate help, reach out to Denver personal injury lawyer Sean Olson today.
It Is Critical to Report Nursing Home Abuse
Moving your aging parent or vulnerable loved one into an assisted living facility in Colorado can be tough. You expect that they will receive the best level of care, but this is always true. In far too many cases, nursing homes fail to live up to their most basic legal responsibilities.
Nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect are both serious problems in the United States. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), nearly 10 percent of nursing residents face some form of mistreatment. This could include physical abuse, emotional abuse, dangerous neglect, and sexual exploitation.
If you believe that your loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect, it is crucial that you take immediate action to protect them.
Their health, safety, and psychological well being are at risk.
Reporting Nursing Home Abuse in Colorado:
Moving your aging parent or vulnerable loved one into an assisted living facility in Colorado can be tough. You expect that they will receive the best level of care, but this is always true. In far too many cases, nursing homes fail to live up to their most basic legal responsibilities. Nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect are both serious problems in the United States.
The NCEA reports that nearly 10 percent of nursing residents face some form of mistreatment. This could include physical abuse, emotional abuse, dangerous neglect, and sexual exploitation. If you believe that your loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect, it is crucial that you take immediate action to protect them. Their health, safety, and psychological well being are at risk.
Notify the Appropriate State Authorities
Under Colorado law, you must report nursing home abuse and to state officials. These officials will conduct a comprehensive investigation into any claims of elder abuse. It is important that you report the problem early. Do not let it persist. In Colorado, you can reach out to the Colorado Nursing Home Administrators Board or your local Adult Protective Services office. If you have any questions about how to get in touch with the appropriate office, you can also call the National Council on Aging (NCOA) at 1-800-677-1116. A representative will be able to connect you to a local office.
Be Ready to Seek Emergency Assistance
There are some cases in which the state’s bureaucracy may be too slow to provide the immediate support and protection that your loved one needs. While you should always report nursing home abuse or neglect, please also remember that in an emergency situation you should never hesitate to call 911. If your vulnerable loved one is in danger in a nursing home, they need to get the immediate medical treatment and protection.
Get Help From a Denver Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today
Alerting the authorities of suspected nursing home abuse is an important way to get help. However, it is just that: the first step. To hold the nursing home liable for their misconduct, you should seek guidance from a lawyer. It’s important to find someone experienced in these types of cases. Your lawyer will be able to review your case and explain all of your available options to you. Then, they can help initiate a civil claim. That way you can seek financial compensation for your loved one and your family.
The Olson Law Firm, LLC takes pride in our ability to provide strong advocacy for victims of nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect. We will listen to your story and make sure that you have a voice so that you can get justice. The abuse needs to stop, we can’t allow it to happen again. Your family deserves full compensation. To get help now, please contact our law office for a free, fully confidential initial consultation.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse demands immediate action. If you or a loved one is a victim, please reach out to a personal injury attorney who specializes in nursing home abuse today.
It Is Critical to Report Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse is a serious problem in the United States.
According to The Denver Post, there are about 17,500 cases of elder abuse or neglect reported in Colorado each year.
In addition, public safety experts believe that nursing home abuse is chronically underreported.
The real problem is likely far worse. A study from the Cornell Medical Center found that the overwhelming majority of nursing home abuse claims are never reported at all.
Sean Explains Nursing Home Abuse:
- “Nursing home abuse can take many forms. It can be physical abuse. It can be emotional abuse. Sometimes, it can even be sexual abuse. It can also be the result of pure neglect. It’s important if you feel like someone you love is the victim of nursing home abuse to sit down and listen to them, so that you’re able to make decisions with them about how to proceed.”
- “If you believe someone is the victim of nursing home abuse, sometimes it’s necessary to speak to an attorney who’s experienced in how claims like that work. The attorneys of Olson Law Firm, LLC are experienced in claims from nursing home abuse and we know where to look and what to look for in order to make sure that justice is done and someone who’s the victim of nursing home abuse gets the compensation that they deserve. Most importantly, that the people who inflicted the abuse in the first place aren’t allowed to do it again.”
Identifying Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse can take a wide range of different forms.
In some cases, the victims suffer physical injuries. In other cases, mistreatment leads to severe emotional trauma.
Neglect can also lead to a devastating medical condition. If your vulnerable loved one currently lives in an assisted living facility, it is crucial that you have a basic understanding of the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect.
If you suspect any type of problem, you need to take immediate action to protect the health and wellbeing of your loved one.
Five Categories of Nursing Home Abuse
- Physical Abuse
Physical abuse is one of the most common and horrifying types of nursing home abuse. In too many cases, staff members cause serious injuries to vulnerable nursing home residents either intentionally or by negligent handling.
- Psychological Abuse
Psychological abuse can be just as devastating as physical abuse. In the very worst cases, it can even be deadly. This type of abuse occurs in many different ways, from verbal threats or intimidation to intentional neglect or other types of poor treatment.
- Caregiver Neglect
Nursing home residents deserve attentive care at all times. Unfortunately, far too many residents face consistent neglect. This can lead to serious physical injuries, major medical complications, and devastating emotional trauma. Dehydration, malnourishment, fall accidents, and poor hygiene are all potential consequences of nursing home neglect.
- Sexual Misconduct
Tragically, sexual misconduct is also a problem in assisted living facilities. Vulnerable people deserve protection from predation. Sexual assault should never occur in an assisted living center.
- Financial Exploitation
Finally, far too many nursing home residents become victims of financial exploitation. Sadly, unscrupulous staff and scammers sometimes attempt to take advantage of vulnerable people, stealing money, credit cards, and other valuables.
Is Nursing Home Abuse Illegal in Denver, CO? Can I File a Lawsuit?
If nursing home abuse is occurring, there may be both criminal and civil consequences for the abusive party/nursing home. And even when an abusive or neglectful action doesn’t constitute a crime, nursing home abuse or neglect will always be negligent at the very least, and a party may be able to bring forth a negligence case against the nursing home facility for such conduct.
A nursing home abuse action is a type of civil suit that seeks to hold the at-fault party and nursing home facility liable for a patient’s harm, allowing the patient (or the personal representative of the party in the event that the nursing home patient is not mentally competent or has died as a result of abuse) to seek compensation for the full extent of losses suffered as a result of the abuse, including compensation for pain, suffering, medical expenses, diminished quality of life, and any other economic or noneconomic losses.
What You Must Prove in a Denver Nursing Home Abuse Claim
A nursing home abuse or neglect claim follows the same outline as the majority of personal injury and medical malpractice claims. In this type of suit, the plaintiff must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that:
- The nursing home owed a duty of care to the patient – By virtue of being within a nursing home, this is implied. Nursing home and medical providers within a nursing home, such as doctors and nurses, owe a high duty of care to all nursing home residents.
- Breach of standard of care – The plaintiff must establish that the nursing home facility breached the standard of care owed to the patient via an act of abuse or neglect.
- Causation – In addition to proving that a breach of the standard of care occurred (negligence/malpractice), the plaintiff must prove that the nursing home resident’s harm would not have occurred but for the breach of the standard of care.
- Damages – Finally, in addition to the above, the fact that actual damages were suffered (i.e. physical harm, additional medical expenses, etc.) must be demonstrated.
Why Work with a Denver Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Learning that your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse neglect or abuse is shocking, unexpected, and heart-wrenching. At the Olson Law Firm, LLC, our nursing home abuse lawyers in Denver are here to advocate for you and your family. When you suspect nursing home abuse or believe that nursing home abuse has led to a resident’s harm, call our team for a free consultation about your legal options and what steps to take to protect your loved one. We are here to serve you – reach us today by phone or online to get started.
Protect Your Loved One From Nursing Home Abuse
If you suspect that your loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, you need to take action. In an emergency situation, you should contact the authorities immediately. You may need to call 911. Under Colorado law, you must report nursing home abuse. To help you protect your rights and the rights of your loved one, you should consult with an experienced Colorado nursing home abuse lawyer.
At Olson Law Firm, LLC, our legal team has deep experience handling nursing home neglect cases. Our compassionate Denver nursing home abuse lawyer Sean Olson is standing by, ready to fight for the legal rights and financial interests of your family. We commit to getting you justice and holding the negligent facility accountable. For a free, fully confidential consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us today.