Top New Jersey Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers
Hundreds of thousands of elderly Americans suffer from elder abuse or neglect every single year in the U.S. Neglect and abandonment are serious and widespread issues throughout the country, both in assisted care facilities and private homes.
And unfortunately, without a serious movement to prevent mistreatment, elder abuse will continue to plague our growing population of elders. A U.S. government study found that, during a two-year period, nearly one-third of all nursing homes were cited for an abuse-related violation. With more than 40.3 million adults age 65 or older, American nursing homes are taking in more patients—and putting more patients at risk—than ever before.
No one should have to worry for the safety of their loved ones in an assisted care facility. When someone you love becomes the victim of mistreatment at the hands of those who are expected to provide care, taking legal action is necessary to hold the responsible parties accountable. If you believe an elderly loved one has been injured while in the care of a nursing home, Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi can help. Our skilled personal injury attorneys have more than 80 years’ worth of combined trial experience. This experience allows us to stand up to insurance companies, corporations, and healthcare organizations in a way individuals—and even other attorneys—cannot.
Our accomplished attorneys are ready to investigate any signs of nursing home negligence and abuse. Call (201) 585-9111 or contact us online to schedule your consultation today. The initial consultation is always free, and no fees are due until Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi win your case.
What Are the Effects of Nursing Home Neglect?
Neglect has occurred when someone who is responsible for an elder’s care fails to provide food, shelter, health care, or protection. This includes the failure to provide support for the physical, emotional, or social needs. Some cases of neglect are clear-cut; for example, a bedridden nursing home resident is left alone for two days without a nurse or other staff member coming to bring meals or change linens. But some other cases are not as clear-cut; for example, a staff member becomes annoyed with a certain resident, so he decides not to allow the resident to call her friends and family or host visitors. While this may not result in physical harm, it constitutes emotional abuse and can cause serious psychological distress.
The effects of neglect and abuse severely affect the lives of thousands of elderly Americans in nursing homes. One nursing home study likened the problem to “poverty-stricken developing countries where inadequate food intake is compounded by repeated infections.”
Neglect is categorized as elder abuse because it carries very real safety risks and often results in actual physical harm. Nursing home neglect can lead to any of the following medical complications:
- Malnutrition is one of the most serious and pervasive problems in nursing homes. A 2013 study found that more than half of nursing home residents were classified as malnourished or at risk for becoming malnourished. Malnutrition can lead to poor wound healing, muscle weakness, falls, and a weakened immune system—all of which can turn ordinary activities and procedures into highly dangerous ones.
- Dehydration is usually a mild and easily reversible condition. However, when it comes to older adults and those suffering from chronic illnesses, dehydration is difficult to recover from and can cause lasting damage.
- Bed sores contribute to approximately 600,000 deaths every year. Bed sores, also called pressure ulcers, are caused by consistent rubbing or pressing against one area of skin, which reduces blood flow and causes tissue to die. Not all bed sores are caused by neglect, and many can be avoided by simple nutritional or lifestyle changes. However, Stage III and Stage IV bed sores are often a sign of neglect; even a marginally attentive staff should be able to spot a developing pressure ulcer before it reaches the most severe stages.
What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Neglect?
The heart-wrenching nature of nursing home neglect is further compounded by under-reporting. A 2010 study estimated that only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse are reported to authorities, and the New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study estimated it is closer to 1 in 25 cases. Data from Adult Protective Services show that nursing home residents are increasingly likely to report elder abuse, as compared to years past, but under-reporting is still a serious, widespread issue.
Luckily, there are certain signs that can tip off family members and friends to ongoing neglect or abuse. The National Adult Protective Services Association has identified the following indicators of neglect and abuse:
- Sudden inability to meet essential physical, psychological, or social needs threatening health, safety, or well-being
- Appearing hungry, malnourished, disoriented, or confused
- Ceasing contact with neighbors, friends, or family
- Bruising or welts on the skin, especially on the face or arms
- Fingerprints or handprints visible on the face, neck, arms, or wrists
- Burns from scalding, cigarettes, or in shapes of objects (such as an iron)
- Cuts, lacerations, or puncture wounds
- Sprains, fractures, or dislocations
- Internal injuries
- Appearing with torn, stained, or bloody clothing
- Appearing disheveled, in soiled clothing, or inappropriately attired for climate
While these signs can be a warning to family members, unfortunately the full picture of elder abuse is not yet clear. Thanks to data from the Department of Health and Human Services, we do know that female elders are more likely to be neglected or abused, and the risk of being abused increases as a nursing home resident gets older.
Contact a New Jersey Nursing Home Neglect Attorney
The best way to curb the incidence of nursing home neglect is to hold the guilty party accountable. Without the threat of legal recourse, nursing home staff will continue to cut corners, sacrifice patient care, and put elderly Americans at risk for serious health complications.
If you believe a loved one is being neglected or abused in a New Jersey nursing home, contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi. Our experienced attorneys have fought for the injured in New Jersey for decades, and we have a proven track record of success both in and out of the courtroom. Call (201) 585-9111 or contact us online to schedule your free and confidential consultation today.