When an individual is put under the care of a nursing home facility, it establishes a “Duty of Care.” This “Duty of Care” creates a relationship in which the nursing home facility and its staff are obligated to provide sufficient care that maintains the health and well-being of your loved one. Failure to meet these obligations may be cause for taking legal action against the nursing home. If you or someone you know has been neglected in a nursing home facility, make sure to speak to our skilled Las Vegas injury attorneys.
Nevada Nursing Home Laws
Nursing home residents in the state of Nevada are protected by several laws and regulations overseen by the State of Nevada Aging and Disability Services Division. These laws were put in place to ensure the residents safe, comfortable, and sanitary conditions. Facilities are required, under law, to provide sufficient care for each resident so they may maintain the highest well-being possible, given their circumstances. This means the care provided must meet each specific resident’s needs and must be free of abuse, neglect, or any improprieties.
Unfortunately, despite these laws, nursing home negligence is a rising problem in many states, including Nevada. Individuals may take legal action through the assistance of our Las Vegas injury attorneys against nursing homes or assisted living facilities in the case of abuse, neglect, serious injuries, and even wrongful death.
Abuse Defined by Nevada Law
Elder abuse is defined by Nevada state law as any intentional, conscious, or negligent act by a nursing home staff member or other person that subjects an individual over the age of 60 to harm or to the serious risk of harm. This includes any verbal, physical, sexual, psychological, or financial abuse.
Nevada Law Defines Five Types of Elder Abuse
- Abuse – The unjustified and willful infliction of injury, pain, or psychological suffering. This may be accomplished through the deprivation of shelter, food, clothing, or care necessary to maintain the resident’s mental and physical health.
- Neglect – The intentional or unintentional failure to provide a resident with clothing, food, shelter, or the care necessary to maintain the resident’s mental and physical health, such as personal hygiene and medical care, when a duty to provide such has been established.
- Self-neglect – The failure of a resident to provide for their own needs due to an inability to do so. This is not a crime as residents are permitted to make their own choices, unless they are declared incompetent by a judge.
- Exploitation – The violation of a relationship based on trust. This may include intimidation, deception, or manipulation in order to control a resident’s money, assets, or property with the intention of depriving that resident of these assets.
- Isolation – Intentionally preventing residents from receiving phone calls, mail, or visitors without medical reason to do so.
Is There Elder Abuse?
Since no one is there to know what goes on at all times besides nursing home staff and the residents, it’s hard to know if abuse is occurring. Residents may be hesitant to speak out due to a lack of understanding, threats made by their abusers, or the shame of being a victim. Nursing homes are inspected on a regular basis, but it’s difficult for an inspector to be able to see everything, plus, they aren’t in the premises all the time to witness any changes in the residents or to see what goes on behind closed doors. As a loved one to the resident, it’s important for you to be vigilant in noticing signs of potential abuse and neglect. The following are some common signs:
- Abnormal bruising and other unexplained injuries
- Dried or aging blood on clothing or in the resident’s room
- Broken eyeglasses
- The caregiver denies a private visit
- Dehydration or a lack of nutrients – Look for signs of rapid weight loss, dry mouth, accelerated breathing
- Dirty clothing or bedsheets
- Constant sedation or improperly administered medications
- Isolation or being left alone for extended periods of time
- Vocalized complaints – Older individuals may seem to complain a lot but it’s important to really listen to what your loved one says when he or she is complaining about their care. They may not treat it with seriousness for any number of reasons, but it’s important to investigate any claims they may make and to ensure they are not asking for help.
What to Do if You Think There is Elder Abuse
If you have any suspicion that abuse, neglect, or mistreatment is occurring at the nursing home, it’s important to collect specific information, such as:
- The date and time the incident took place and when you noticed or suspected it
- Pictures of any injuries such as bruises
- Pictures of dirty clothing and any unsanitary living conditions
- Video of any evidence
- Record any abusive conversations
Make sure to reach out and speak to one of our experienced Las Vegas injury attorneys.
Challenges to Accusations of Neglect and Abuse
There are many tactics nursing homes may take when accused of neglect or abuse. The most common hurdles to a case against them may include:
- The resident is incapacitated or has deceased
- Expert witnesses, such as nurses, physicians, etc. are required to prove the case and they can be costly.
- Nursing homes have all necessary records and may be very hesitant in releasing them
- Nursing homes can alter the resident’s records.
It’s very important to seek experienced legal representation from our Las Vegas injury attorneys when considering taking legal action against a nursing home that has acted in bad faith against a person you love. Seeking advice from a knowledgeable law group can help you understand your rights and how strong a case you can make to seek justice.
Contact Experienced Injury Lawyers for Legal Representation
For over 15 years, Harris & Harris Injury Lawyers have been helping victims of nursing home abuse and other injuries. Get the compensation and justice they deserve. Give us a call at (702) 384-1414 for a free consultation with some of our most experienced Las Vegas injury attorneys.