Nursing Home Abuse is a Growing Concern
For some, it is one of the hardest decisions they will make in their lifetime. It may come as a result of an aging parent, an incapacitated spouse or a severely disabled child. It is a difficult choice with a calculated risk. Nursing homes are filled with people whose families wish they could provide their own residential care for their loved ones. The issues are further compounded when there is evidence of institutional abuse.
Nursing homes in New Jersey are regulated by both the New Jersey Department of Health and the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The New Jersey Department of Health responds to approximately 2,650 complaints concerning nursing homes on an annual basis. In addition, the New Jersey Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly acts on behalf of older residents who may be subject to abuse or exploitation. This office was created to protect anyone in institutionalized care over 60 years old. The premise is that advancing age may impair an individual’s physical and/or mental capacities.
What constitutes nursing home abuse? The New Jersey State Statutes defines it as “the willful infliction of physical pain, injury or mental anguish; unreasonable confinement; or the willful deprivation of services which are necessary to maintain a person’s physical and mental health.” Although there are occasions of blatant abuse or negligence, there are often more subtle signs of neglect.
As a law firm experienced in nursing home abuse cases, the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, PC can offer some insight in what to take note of when you visit your loved one. We suggest you look for the following:
- Bed sores or smells of urine or feces
- Apparent fear of particular staff members
- Unexplained bruises or other physical marks
- Sudden onset of anxiety or withdrawal
- Signs of dehydration or failure to eat
- Evidence of physical restraints
- Rapid inexplicable decline in mental or physical status
These are just a few signals that something may be wrong in your loved one’s care. Make a list of your concerns for review. Determine if your complaints go beyond a report to the institution’s management. In order to determine if you should consider a case against the facility, it is always wise to speak with an attorney. Please feel free to contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone for a complementary consultation.