In order to discuss what qualifies as nursing home abuse or neglect in Rock Hill, we must first differentiate between the two terms. When we talk about abuse, we are usually talking about a specific act involving some level of intention. Neglect, on the other hand, is an act by which you breach a specific duty or provide for a patient in a manner that is below the standard care of health. Unfortunately, these types of cases are becoming more prevalent because there are more people in these nursing home facilities. The people in these facilities are more vulnerable and less likely to be able to help themselves than the general population. Because of the nature of the care that they need, these individuals tend to be subjected to more abuse and negligence than you would tend to see in a hospital or other short-term care facility.
Common Examples Of Nursing Home Neglect
Neglect can be of four types: emotional, hygienic, basic needs, and medical. Issues involving medical neglect become somewhat of a subset of medical malpractice, where you are not providing the right standard of care to the patient in a medical setting. This could include medication errors, or failing to reposition a patient so as to prevent the development of bed sores. Nursing home populations are very susceptible to falls, so they need a lot of assistance in doing a lot of activities.
Unfortunately, the nature of abuse cases gets a little uglier than neglect cases. You can actually have cases that involve sexual abuse. Again, we are talking about patients who don’t have all of their mental capabilities and are often times immobile. Unfortunately, there are people who take advantage of that, which are some of the most blatant cases that we see. There are also some cases involving verbal or physical abuse toward patients. Again, you have to look at it from the point of view that the patients themselves are in a very vulnerable situation, and as such, they are more susceptible to that type of abuse.
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Typical Injuries in Nursing Facility Cases
The abuse cases consist mostly of emotional injuries. In fact, the victim of abuse might not even perceive the injury themselves because of their mental capacity. The victims in negligence cases usually sustain physical injuries. The most common type of negligence is failure to properly re-position a patient in bed. Very bad ulcers can result from this type of negligence. In fact, I have seen these situations result in amputation because the sores have gotten so bad. There are a lot of physical abuse cases where patients fall unnecessarily because they haven’t been attended to. Medication errors can obviously have a severe physical impact on a patient, or even result in death. So, almost any type of injury that you can think of can occur in these kinds of situations.
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Evidence And Witnesses
Evidence and witnesses are extremely important. In these cases, you tend to have a serious lack of evidence, and the most you have to go on is the medical record itself. In addition, the patient isn’t always a very good witness due to some mental diminished capacity. In these cases, family members are usually the best type of witness. We have to rely on the people who visit these patients; they should be able to identify changes in their loved ones, or perceive that something is not right. They are usually the first to be alerted that something is wrong.
From there, we can only go by what’s in the medical records. This means looking at what has been charted about the patient, and identifying sudden changes in their physical appearance or mental attitude. The family members are usually the first people who get concerned, and they are the source of most of our information.
The Intersection of Criminal and Civil Cases
Cases of negligence are usually only civil in nature. Cases of abuses are criminal in nature, especially if there is sexual or physical abuse involved. If we can prove that abuse occurred, then the employee- or even the nursing home itself- can be subjected to criminal charges.
If an abuse case has both a civil and criminal aspect to it, we usually wait until the criminal case is resolved. This allows us to see the facts and evidence develop on the criminal side, which can be used on the civil side. We have a lesser standard of the burden of proof on the civil side than we do on the criminal side, but we would usually wait on the civil case unless there is a reason we can’t. I would say that 99% of the time we wait for the criminal issue to resolve before proceeding civilly.
How an Attorney Can Help with Establishing a Nursing Home Abuse Case in Rock Hill
If you suspect your loved one suffered injuries while under the care of a nursing facility, you have legal options and should consider contacting a knowledgeable attorney for assistance. Understanding the qualifications of a nursing home abuse case in Rock Hill is crucial,