People entrust their elderly family members to a nursing home, placing a special trust in the staff to care for and nurture their family in the waning years of life. Unfortunately, we see time and time again that many nursing homes simply do not honor this trust, and take actions that cause harm to the patients, their finances, and their families. Whenever there is any accusation of misconduct by a nursing home, it is critical that you have an attorney who specializes in matters like this to deal with the investigation and the ensuing lawsuit, should it come to that.
Most recently, there was the case of the Brentwood, TN nursing home, run by Vanguard Health. The U.S. attorney’s office in Tennessee has filed a lawsuit against the former nursing home based on allegations of widespread fraud and abuse of patients in Medicaid and TennCare. According to documents filed by the U.S. attorney, the employees at this nursing home regularly submitted false claims for Medicare and TennCare, forged signatures of physicians and nurses, and provided grossly negligent care for the patients who were in this facility. The parent company, Vanguard Health, has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but this will not protect them from the False Claims Act lawsuit filed against them by the Federal Government.
Nursing Home Abuse Is Common
As an nursing home neglect attorney who represents families who have had a family member or loved one suffer abuse in a nursing home setting, these cases are far too common. Nursing home staff are often overworked, underpaid, and are not subjected to the rigorous background checks that you would expect of someone working with at-risk individuals. Due to the ability to abuse helpless elderly patients, easily steal from them or defraud them, and the lax standards of inspection, many of these places are a fertile breeding ground for this kind of activity.
Here are a few of the ways you can recognize the signs of abuse in a nursing home. If you notice one, call our office to involve a nursing home abuse attorney immediately.
#1 Poor Personal Health and Hygiene
If you have a loved one who suddenly or consistently appears to be unwashed or unkempt and seems to be displaying signs of poor personal hygiene, it may be worth examining if they are facing neglect or abuse. Things to look for include:
- Lacking in basic hygiene.
- Cluttered or dirty living environment.
- Inappropriate clothing available for the season.
- Not having basic hygiene tools like a toothbrush or shampoo.
#2 Unexplained Injuries
One of the signs that raises a red flag is if your elderly friend or family member has visible signs of injury. According to a study conducted by the National Center on Elder Abuse, 44 percent of nursing home residents claimed to have been abused by their caregivers. Even more compellingly, 50 percent of nursing home staff admitted to abusing their patients. You must remain vigilant for any physical signs of abuse, which could include:
- Cuts or abrasions.
- Broken eye-wear.
- Drug overdosing.
- Binding marks on the wrists.
- Sprains or dislocations.
- Bruises or welts.
If you find any potential abuse has occurred with your loved one, you should contact the Tennessee Nursing Home Malpractice Lawyers at The Higgins Firm immediately so that we can get your loved one the protection and care they need.