What Is Nursing Home Negligence and How Should You Report It?
Making the decision to move a loved one into a care setting can be difficult under the best of circumstances. And when you choose a facility, be it assisted living, skilled care, or adult foster care, you expect your loved one’s physical and emotional needs to be met.
Unfortunately, elder abuse, elder neglect, and exploitation are all too common in care settings. At Dingeman & Dancer, PLC, our attorneys are dedicated to serving and protecting the elderly. Learn how to recognize elder abuse,how to report it, and about the legal actions you can take to achieve the best possible outcome.
Each year, thousands of Michigan residents are victims of elder abuse. “Elder abuse” is a term used to describe the neglect or emotional, psychological, physical, sexual, or financial abuse or exploitation of an elderly person. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines it as “an intentional act, or failure to act, by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult.”
While elder abuse is often used as an umbrella term, “neglect” is more narrowly defined. Specifically, it’s a failure to meet an individual’s basic needs. Elderly individuals who are neglected may become ill, be injured, or die as the result of the ongoing neglect.
In Michigan, there are laws designed to protect vulnerable individuals. While neglect may be characterized as “unintentional,” it may also be a crime. A reputable attorney like those at Dingeman & Dancer, PLC will help you to determine whether you have a case.
Typically, when elderly individuals enter a care setting, it’s because they need assistance, such as medication or meal management. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are designed to meet the basic needs of individuals, such as providing food, water, and shelter.. . They are also designed to assist residents with activities of daily living, such as ambulation, dressing, and personal hygiene needs.. If an individual’s basic needs are not being met, the care facility is not upholding their responsibility to their residents.
Nursing home neglect can be difficult to identify and can be mistaken for general health declines. Signs of neglect may include (but are not limited to):
- Physical health declines
- Confusion or disorientation
- Bruising, burns, bedsores, or other injuries
- Changes in eating or drinking habits
It’s important for family, friends, and caregivers to stay vigilant in the care of their loved ones.
How to Report Elder Abuse in Michigan and What to Do Next
If you suspect a Michigan care facility is guilty of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation, immediately report it to local as well as State authorities.
The next priority is to ensure your loved one is safe and cared for. It may be necessary to move your loved one to a new facility. In some cases, it will be necessary to seek medical care. Do so swiftly. Be sure to keep detailed records of your interactions with all parties involved.
Next, it’s vital to secure legal counsel. Dingeman & Dancer, PLC attorneys are committed to protecting our clients’ rights. Building an elder abuse or nursing home negligence case is notoriously difficult and should begin immediately. Our attorneys have repeatedly proven their skill in these complex cases, securing settlements that are among the highest in the state of Michigan.
Reporting a suspected case of abuse and neglect protects other vulnerable adults and serves as an important first step in your loved one’s recovery. If you believe that you or your loved one is a victim of nursing home/assisted living neglect or abuse, contact our team. We offer our services on a contingency basis—you won’t see a bill until we secure your settlement.