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When families entrust the care of elderly loved ones to a nursing home, they have a right to presume that their loved one will not be neglected or abused.  Abuse in nursing homes often affects individuals who are the most vulnerable to mistreatment because of mental or physical limitations related to advanced age, dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease.  These types of conditions can undermine the ability of nursing home residents to understand that they are being exploited, or their ability to alert others of the abusive conduct.

The Phoenix nursing home abuse attorneys at Ariano & Associates, PLLC are committed advocates for victims of elder abuse in residential care facilities like nursing homes.  We carefully review and scrutinize evidence of all forms of abuse and neglect of residents in skilled nursing facilities, so we can seek compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering and other damages as well as hold the responsible parties accountable.  Many cases of abuse and neglect in a nursing home are the product of under staffing, which leaves residents unsupervised and staff overworked.

How Prevalent Is Mistreatment of Residents in Nursing Homes?

While the notion that vulnerable nursing home residents are frequently abused and neglected is disturbing, industry data leaves little doubt.  One study of 2,000 nursing home residents found that 44 percent had suffered some form of abuse while 95 percent had been personally abused or observed abuse of another resident.  While nursing homes are subject to oversight by state agencies, a study conducted by the United States General Accountability Office found that 70 percent of state surveys miss at least one deficiency while 15 percent fail to note actual harm or the immediate jeopardy of nursing home residents.

What Constitutes Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Arizona?

Physical Abuse: This type of mistreatment of residents in skilled nursing facilities involves the intentional use of force against residents that causes pain, injury, impairment or death.  Examples include:

  • Punching or slapping
  • Kicking
  • Shoving or throwing residents down
  • Unjustified chemical or physical restraint
  • Burning residents
  • Assault and battery

Neglect: This is the most prevalent form of harmful conduct toward people in nursing homes.  While neglect in this context can be defined in a number of ways, the term essentially refers to failure to provide for the basic needs of residents.  Common forms of neglect include:

  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Failure to provide opportunities for proper hygiene
  • Lack of attention to injuries or illnesses
  • Inadequate strategies or implementation of plans to prevent falls or wandering
  • Bed sores
  • Improper medication

Sexual Exploitation and Abuse: Sexual abuse of a resident involves any form of non-consensual behavior toward a resident.  If a resident lacks the mental capacity to consent because of Alzheimer’s or dementia, sexual contact with the elderly individual also constitutes sexual abuse.  Some of the types of conduct that constitute sexual abuse include the following:

  • Forced viewing of pornography
  • Rape and other non-consensual sexual acts with a resident
  • Sexual fondling of a resident

Emotional Abuse: This form of nursing home abuse can be particularly insidious because it can be difficult to identify.  Emotional abuse can take both verbal and non-verbal forms.  Verbal forms of emotional abuse include yelling at, berating, unfairly blaming or insulting a resident.  Non-verbal forms emotional abuse includes isolating or ignoring a resident.

Financial Abuse: When a staff member, nursing home administrator or other individuals obtain access to the accounts, property and other assets of a senior, the misuse of these funds can constitute financial abuse.

What Are Common Signs of Abuse in a Phoenix Skilled Nursing Facility

Nursing home abuse and neglect may continue for some period of time before family members discover the conduct because of the incapacity of loved ones to disclose the mistreatment.  Signs that might merit close attention by family members and other loved ones include:

Dramatic weight loss

Unexplained injuries (e.g. broken bones/bruises)

Depression or other significant changes in mood

Soiled clothing or lack of hygiene

Pressure sores (especially bed sores that are not treated)

Fearful behavior

Odor of feces or urine

Hair loss

Unusual bleeding

Burns or abrasions

Infection

Nonresponsive behavior

Emotional or physical withdrawal

While many of these signs can be unrelated to abuse or neglect in a Phoenix nursing home, family members should inquire about such signs.  If you notice that staff or administrators refuse to allow you to spend time alone with your loved one or delay your access, this may constitute a red flag.  The first step is usually to notify management personnel, but you should carefully scrutinize the explanations provided by management at the facility.  The next steps should be to notify the state regulatory agency and talk to an experienced Arizona nursing home lawyer.

Seeking the Protection and Compensation of Victimized Seniors in Phoenix Long-Term Care Facilities

When you call Ariano & Associates, PLLC, you will be immediately connected with a knowledgeable and friendly personal injury attorney so that you can get your questions answered without having to schedule an appointment.  Our nursing home abuse lawyers are committed to personally handling our clients’ cases rather than passing cases to legal assistants and other support staff. Our Phoenix nursing home neglect law firm represents clients throughout the Phoenix area and Maricopa County, including but not limited to the following counties cities: Scottsdale, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Paradise Valley, Apache Junction, Peoria, Glendale, Chandler, Fountain Valley, Goodyear, Avondale, Surprise, El Mirage and Sun City.  We invite you to call us today so that you can get your questions answered and learn about your legal rights and remedies at (602) 714-8936.

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