Physical Abuse in Colorado Nursing Homes

Residents in nursing homes should be treated with dignity, care and respect in facilities. When staff physically abuse patients, they should face the consequences.

That may include criminal charges for violence against others and civil repercussions to pay compensation to those they injured. Victims of physical abuse in nursing homes should contact an attorney right away.

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Nursing Home Justice Fights for Victims of Abuse

Nursing home abuse lawsuits are complicated. You should work with an experienced lawyer who has in-depth knowledge of Colorado law and knows how to help elder physical abuse victims recover medically and financially. Nursing Home Justice has a proven record of standing up for the rights of injured victims.

Attorney Mac Hester is a founding member of Nursing Home Justice. He has over 35 years of experience fighting against large nursing homes and their insurance companies. He will compassionately guide you to a path of recovery.

Contact attorney Mac Hester with Nursing Home Justice Today – (303) 775-8128

What is Nursing Home and Disabled Care Physical Abuse?

Patient abuse in a nursing home or disabled care situation may include physical harm, injury, or impairment due to mistreatment or neglect. Causing a patient unnecessary pain or exposing them to unnecessary side effects of treatment may also be considered physical abuse.

Physical abuse is one of the most common types of mistreatment in nursing homes and other care facilities. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), violence against elders is rising.

Between 2002 and 2016, nonfatal assaults against people over the age of 60 increased by more than 75%. Nearly 25% of all nursing home residents have experienced at least one instance of physical abuse.

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Types of Physical Abuse in Nursing Homes

There are multiple forms of physical abuse that you should be aware of in the nursing home environment. Typical forms of physical abuse include:

Active Abuse

Active abuse is the easiest form of physical harm to identify. It includes intentional actions by an individual to harm a resident. The act of abuse is made with the intent to cause pain or injury. Some examples include hitting, kicking, and pinching.

Physical Neglect

Physical neglect is typically not intentional, although it can be done knowingly. Neglect may result from understaffing or a lack of resources at a nursing facility.

Physical neglect involves failing to provide residents with the things they need to survive and maintain their dignity. This might include failing to give a resident enough water, food, or clean clothing.

Physical Restraint Misuse

Restraints should be used sparingly and according to federal regulations. They should not be used for discipline or convenience. They can be dangerous, especially when a patient attempts to get out of them or is restrained for long periods of time.

Chemical Restraint Misuse

When nurses and CNAs are overworked because of nursing home understaffing, they sometimes over-sedate patients to keep them quiet and in bed, thereby restraining them. This use of “chemical restraints” is not only abusive and illegal, but extremely dangerous.

Injuries That Result from Physical Abuse

Physical abuse in nursing homes can cause significant injuries to the residents. Some injuries that are commonly the result of physical abuse include but are not limited to:

  • Broken bones
  • Concussions and brain injuries
  • Contusions and abrasions
  • Bruises
  • Wounds that become infected
  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration

Potential Parties Responsible for Nursing Home Abuse

Caregivers who harm people who are elderly or disabled are ultimately responsible for the physical abuse they cause. However, there are other parties who may also be financially liable, especially if the victim was in a nursing home, long-term care facility, or disabled care institution.

Some parties who may be responsible for elder abuse include:

  • Nursing Home Caregivers – Staff members at a nursing home must treat patients gently, so they do not physically injure them. They must also avoid neglectful actions and failure to take proper actions that could be considered physical abuse.
  • Other Residents – Some residents in nursing homes become combative and confused, which may lead to them injuring fellow residents. Proper protocol should be in place to prevent this.
  • Nursing Homes – The nursing home itself is often considered partially or fully negligent for injuries that occur to residents in its care. Nursing homes should have procedures that prevent physical abuse.
  • Management Companies – Many nursing homes have management companies that handle hiring, training, and other aspects. If a management company fails to conduct proper background checks, appropriately train staff, or take other actions, it may be negligent as well.
  • Nursing Home Chain Entity – Many nursing homes have parent entities that are larger corporations. These organizations are responsible for the proper operation of the smaller locations.

Warning Signs of Physical Abuse

There are some telltale signs in cases of physical abuse that should be reported to nursing home management and the authorities immediately. Those include:

  • Unexplained injuries
  • Recurring injuries
  • Bruised wrists or ankles
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Confusion
  • Fear of caregivers
  • Expressed desire to leave

Additionally, if nursing staff refuses to leave the resident alone with family, they may be concerned that the patient will reveal the physical abuse. If relatives are not given private time with a resident, they should question the situation.

What Compensation Can You Recover?

Nursing home residents and their families have a right to recover compensation for physical abuse damages.

Damages for Physical Abuse in a Nursing Home

Nursing homes that allow physical abuse to occur while a resident is within their care can be held liable for damages. Other parties may also be held responsible. Nursing Home Justice will uncover all potentially liable parties and hold them accountable for the following damages:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Permanent impairment
  • Mental and emotional distress
  • Current and future medical bills
  • Long-term care expenses

Damages for Wrongful Death

If nursing abuse or battery leads to the wrongful death of your loved one, you can file a lawsuit to recover the following:

  • Loss of financial support that the decedent would have provided to the surviving spouse, heirs, or designated beneficiary (e.g., decedent was a rehab patient who was going to return to work)
  • Funeral expenses
  • Non-economic damages for grief, sorrow, and loss of companionship

You should discuss exactly what you can recover with your nursing home physical abuse lawyer.

Punitive Damages

In some physical abuse cases, punitive damages may be available. Punitive damages do not cover losses but instead punish the wrongdoer for intentional actions that harm another. Since physical abuse is often purposeful, punitive damages are more likely in these cases than in some typical negligence cases.

What Evidence Helps a Claim for Physical Abuse?

In cases of physical abuse in a nursing home, your attorney must obtain as much evidence as possible to support your case. Some of that information may include:

  • Photos and videos of the location
  • Pictures of injuries
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Records from nursing staff
  • Video footage from security cameras at the nursing facility
  • Emails and text messages with staff members
  • Statements about living conditions from doctors and family members
  • Medical records
  • Insurance records and billings

How Do You Report Physical Abuse?

If you or a loved one has experienced physical abuse in a nursing home, you should take several steps as soon as possible. You should file a complaint with the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, contact the local Ombudsman, and retain an experienced nursing home abuse attorney.

How Nursing Home Justice Can Help

Attorney Mac Hester respects the dignity of every victim of nursing home abuse. He works hard to protect them and their families. Nursing Home Justice can help you recover in the following ways:

  • Listening To Your Story – Every case is unique. We want to know what happened and your goals. We will help you get the best outcome possible.
  • Investigating Every Aspect – There may be many parties involved in your case. We will iron out the details and find evidence to support your claims.
  • Helping You Get Compensation – We know money doesn’t make everything better, but it can help you move forward by covering losses due to the physical abuse.