Abandonment in Colorado Nursing Homes

Understaffing and inadequate training in nursing facilities has sadly made patient abandonment more and more common. And while no one should have to endure neglect, you have options if it happens to you or someone you love.

Getting an objective legal assessment is crucial if you suspect abandonment in a Colorado nursing facility because you may be entitled to financial compensation. Mac Hester, the founding attorney of Nursing Home Justice, is passionate about helping abuse victims and knows how to hold care facilities accountable for abandoning elderly patients. Contact us online or call (303) 775-8128 for a free, no-risk evaluation.

Examples of Nursing Home Abandonment

At its core, patient abandonment is a lack of proper attention and care. But it is more than a caregiver forgetting to give a resident their medication because of a momentary lapse. Genuine nursing patient abandonment is a pattern of behaviors where residents receive little to no direct care from the necessary professionals.

In a nursing home or elder care facility, abandonment can take many forms, including:

  • Failure to dispense prescribed medications as needed
  • Ending a shift without giving notice or ensuring a qualified caretaker is taking over
  • Taking responsibility for a patient but failing to provide the necessary attention
  • Leaving without communicating the status of the patient
  • Failure to adequately assist a patient with everyday tasks like bathing, restroom use, and dressing.
  • Leaving a patient who has fallen
  • Allowing unsupervised wandering
  • Improper feeding, resulting in choking
  • Leaving a patient unattended for an extended period
  • Failure to regularly check on a patient.
  • Failure to turn a bedridden patient (resulting in bed sores).
  • Failure to provide proper nutrition.
  • Failure to secure a patient, i.e., using bed rails.
  • Inability to change soiled clothing or sheets promptly.
  • Unresponsiveness to a patient’s call bell.
  • Sleeping / Impaired on duty

Why Nursing Home Abandonment Happens

Remember that even unintentional patient abandonment in a nursing home is still elder abuse. While an otherwise caring staff can do their best to offer the attention a resident deserves, they may be limited in the training, care, and service they can provide.

Ultimately, the nursing facility, its administrators, and shareholders are responsible for the conditions that directly contribute to patient abandonment. In many cases, their failure to meet their duties in favor of higher profits causes nursing homes to become overcrowded and understaffed, leading to most instances of nursing patient abandonment.

Is It Illegal to Leave an Elderly Person Alone?

Most states have laws prohibiting elder abuse. For example, CRS 18-6.5-102 makes caretaker neglect illegal. It outlines that criminal charges are possible when a caretaker does not provide care promptly that a reasonable person in the same situation would deem adequate.

While the patient abandonment consequences and penalties in Colorado vary depending on the details and degree of bodily injury or death, victims can also pursue financial compensation for the damages resulting from abandonment in a nursing home by filing a civil claim.

How to Spot Colorado Nursing Home Abandonment

There is, unfortunately, no definitive sign that an individual is the victim of nursing home abandonment or that a facility is violating elder abandonment laws. Often elderly residents avoid telling people they are being mistreated or may not even be aware they are receiving substandard care.

In some cases, you may see physical injuries related to a lack of attention, such as bruises or broken bones, but some more subtle signs of nursing home abandonment or neglect may include:

  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Sudden depression or confusion
  • Soiled clothing or bed linens
  • Unkempt appearance/ Poor hygiene
  • Bedsores (pressure ulcers)
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Malnutrition / Dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • Abrupt withdrawal from social events/activities

What If You Suspect Abandonment

It can be incredibly frustrating and confusing if you believe your loved one is the victim of nursing home neglect. You’ll want to get to the bottom of things, but how can you determine if a nursing home’s operations violate nurse abandonment laws?

In most cases, this will require an in-depth investigation from a professional experienced in nursing home neglect. Still, you can begin with a few direct questions to gauge the quality of elder care.

Ask your loved one:

  • How many times does the nurse check on you per day?
  • How long are staff members with you?
  • Do nurses come by when they arrive for the day?
  • Does a nurse or staff member help you get dressed/use the restroom?
  • Do nurses respond quickly when you call them?
  • When was the last time you were turned over?
  • How often are your clothes or sheets changed?
  • When did you last receive a bath?
  • Does the staff help with your meals?

In some situations, your loved one may be unable to answer these questions. And unfortunately, nursing home patients with Dementia or Alzheimer’s are especially vulnerable to neglect. You may need to ask staff for documentation about their level of care, but anytime you suspect neglect, consult a lawyer.

Legal Options for Nursing Home Abandonment

No one should feel abandoned in a nursing home or left alone to suffer. If you are able, the first thing will want to do if you suspect a substandard level of nursing care is move your loved one to a different facility and have them examined by a doctor unaffiliated with the nursing home in question.

Then, contact a lawyer about your loved one’s legal rights and options to hold the nursing home fully accountable. In many cases, you and your loved one may be entitled to monetary damages for what happened.

An experienced nursing home abuse lawyer will investigate and compile documentation related to your loved one’s care and the facility’s operational procedure to help determine how preventable nursing home abandonment causes your loved one harm.

Recoverable Damages for Elder Abandonment

Nursing homes and staff who negligently leave patients to fend for themselves can cause significant injuries, illnesses, and even death for residents. Nursing Home Justice will consider the total impact of the actions taken by the nursing facility and pursue all the compensation you and your loved one deserve.

A nursing home claim or abandonment lawsuit may result in compensation for:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Permanent impairment
  • Mental and emotional distress
  • Current and future medical bills
  • Long-term care expenses
  • Costs of medical equipment
  • Wrongful death/funeral expenses
  • Punitive damages