Our Michigan nursing home lawyers realize the difficulty of having an elder relative who needs special care. It can be hard finding the right facility that will meet your needs and the needs of your elderly family member. We handle cases involving nursing home negligence and abuse for residents who suffer injuries and family members who have lost a loved one in a Michigan health care facility such as a nursing home, hospital, adult foster care facilities, and assisted living facilities. These lawsuits are filed against the health care facility and the nursing home doctors whose negligence in their care of the resident caused injuries or death. However, many times nursing home residents are neglected and do not even realize that they are being neglected or abuse. There are four general categories nursing home abuse and neglect can fall into. These four categories include:
- Harmful Neglect: If a resident in a health care facility experienced bed sores, suspicious or questionable injuries or death, unexplained substantial weight loss or serve dehydration, they may be a victim of harmful neglect. This can also include emotional and psychological abuse such as verbal assaults, insults, intimidation, threats, and humiliation. Pain and suffering a resident suffers after being abused emotionally can be just as dangerous as injuries caused by physical abuse.
- Assault and Battery: If an employee of a nursing home or residential health care facility threatens or strikes a resident or uses unauthorized physical or chemical restraints assault and battery has been committed.
- Criminal and Sexual Abuse: If an employee of a nursing home or residential care facility engages in unlawful sexual contact with a patient, criminal sexual conduct has occurred.
- Embezzlement/Theft: If an employee of a nursing home or residential care facility wrongfully removes funds from a resident’s account, improperly obtains a financial “load” or “gift” from a resident, or an employee uses privileged/personal information illegally to obtain credit cards, etc., resulting in identity theft, embezzlement has occurred. This type of neglect also includes when an employee steals possessions, such as jewelry, out of the resident’s home.
Often times nursing home abuse and neglect never gets reported. This could be due to the high level of Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients in the nursing homes or because people might be afraid to say something. If you see something suspicious, ask questions! As a nuring home resident or family member of a loved one in a Michigan nursing home, you do have the legal right to question and keep record of any event that takes place within the care of the resident.
Signs That Your Loved One May Be Experiencing Abuse & Neglect
In many cases, an abused elder is totally dependent on the abuser and is afraid to complain for fear of reprisal. There are a number of signs, however, that indicate abuse or neglect may be occurring at the nursing home your family member resides in.
- Frequent injuries such as bruises, cuts, black eyes or bums are signs of abuse, especially when the caretaker cannot adequately explain how they happened
- Frequent complaints of pain without obvious injury
- Bums or bruises in an unusual pattern that may indicate the use of instruments, cigarettes, or similar items
- Passive, withdrawn, and emotionless behavior
- Lack of reaction to pain
- Reports of physical abuse
- Physical signs of sexually transmitted diseases
- Evidence of injury to the genital area
- Difficulty in sitting or walking
- Fear of being alone with caretakers
- Reports of sexual assault
- Obvious malnutrition
- Lack of personal cleanliness
- Habitually dressed in tom or dirty clothes
- Obvious fatigue and listlessness
- Begs for food
- In need of medical or dental care
- Left unattended for long periods of time
- Reports of neglect
If you believe that your loved one is experiencing one or more of these signs of abuse and neglect, it is imperative that you report it immediately!
How To Report Abuse & Neglect At A Michigan Nursing Home
Below is a list of important steps to take if you suspect abuse or neglect is happening at the Michigan nursing home your loved one resides in.
- Immediately report the incident, verbally or by letter, to the administrator, social worker, director of nursing, or the nurse in charge of the health care facility.
- Immediately report the incident to the Michigan Department of Community Health, the State Police, and/or the local police or Sheriff’s Department.
- Obtain photographs of the physical injury and make a written statement detailing:
- What you observed
- When you observed it
- Who was present
- Any other important information
Department of Attorney General
Health Care Fraud Division
PO Box 30218,Lansing, MI 48909Hotline: 800-24-ABUSE (800-242-2873)Fax: 517-241-1029,www.michigan.gov/agemail: hc*@mi******.gov Department of Community HealthBureau of Health Systems Complaint Intake UnitPO Box 30664Lansing, MI 48909Hotline: 800-882-6006