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Holding East Tennessee Nursing Homes Accountable For Negligence And Abuse

The decision to move an elderly loved one into a Tennessee nursing home is never easy. You want to make sure they get what they need, but you know you don’t have resources or experience needed to provide your parent with the care they deserve. Discovering that your parent is being abused by a doctor, nurse, or another staff member of the nursing home is not only a gross betrayal of your trust; it can also make you feel guilty, as though it’s your fault that it happened.

We need you to know that nursing home abuse and neglect is not your fault. It is solely the fault of the perpetrator and the facility that allowed it to happen. The Maryville injury attorneys at Shepherd & Long has decades of experience representing victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. We will fight to obtain the compensation your loved one deserves so that the nursing home is held responsible for their negligence and abuse.

What are the types of nursing home abuse?

Abuse can take many forms, no matter where you live or how old you are. The most common forms of nursing home abuse fall into five categories:

  • Emotional abuse. Speaking to residents in a demeaning and embarrassing way, threats, humiliation, and degradation can lead to anxiety and depression among residents.
  • Physical abuse. Examples of physical abuse include handling patients roughly while moving them, hitting them, or knocking them to the ground. These acts can be committed by staff or other residents.
  • Financial exploitation. Caregivers are often privy to the financial situation of their patients and use this information to exploit the resident or steal from them directly.
  • Sexual abuse. A CNN expose revealed that between 2013 and 2016, more than 1,000 nursing homes were cited for mishandling sexual abuse claims, and that more than 16,000 complaints were made between 2000 and 2017.
  • Neglect. Neglect is a form of abuse, and most injuries in nursing homes are related to neglect. Common examples include overuse of chemical restraints, failure to prevent bedsores, failure to prevent infections, failure to promote proper diet and/or hygiene, failure to design safe walkways for residents, and ignoring medical orders regarding medications and therapies.

How to spot the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect

It is important that you know how to spot the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect when a loved one is living in such a facility. Knowing the signs can help you put a stop to any negligent or harmful actions, and help bolster your loved one’s claims. The most common signs are:

  • Bruises, lacerations and/or bleeding
  • Jaundice
  • Bedsores
  • Bug bites, hives or signs of allergic reaction
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Excessive or sudden weight loss/gain
  • Change in hygiene
  • Sudden changes in personality
  • Unsanitary accommodations
  • Genital injuries or sexual diseases

Is it always a sign of abuse?

Sometimes what looks like abuse isn’t actually abuse. There could be other underlying factors contributing to your loved one’s situation or medical condition. For example, some medications may make your loved one lethargic, or cause swelling or other symptoms. It’s important that you review your loved one’s medical files (provided you can legally do so) and keep in touch with his or her doctors and the staff of the home.

However, if you see multiple signs of malnutrition, dehydration, weight loss, bruising, or venereal disease, it is important that you report the suspected abuse immediately and then contact Shepherd & Long to schedule a free consultation. The most severe abuse cases can lead to wrongful death claims.

East Tennessee Ombudsman

An Ombudsman is an appointed public official who is responsible for investigating complaints made of maladministration or any violation of a person’s rights. An Ombudsman handles investigations of abuse and neglect filed by residents of nursing homes or their families.

The East Tennessee Ombudsman can be contacted via the following:

East TN Human Resource Agency
9111 Cross Park Drive, Suite D-100
Knoxville, TN 37923-4517
Tel:  865-383-3118 ext. 4223
Fax:  865-531-7216

The Nursing Home Bill Of Rights

All residents of nursing home facilities that accept Medicare or Medicaid have guaranteed rights. The Nursing Home Bill of Rights guarantees that residents are able to:

  • Be free from discrimination
  • Be free from abuse and neglect
  • Exercise their rights as a U.S. citizen
  • Get proper medical care
  • Be treated with respect
  • Be free from restraints
  • Have protections against involuntary transfer or discharge
  • Participate in activities
  • Spend time with visitors
  • Form or participate in resident groups
  • Manage their money
  • Get information on services and fees
  • Get proper privacy, property, and living arrangements
  • Make complaints

What You Need To Know About Arbitration Clauses And Agreements

When you decide to move a loved one into a nursing home, you will have dozens of documents to review and sign. Your contract may contain a page or a clause mandating arbitration instead of litigation. This document privatizes the legal process should you wish to file a claim against the facility where your loved one resides. This means that unknown arbiters make decisions about claims instead of cases being heard in front of a judge.

If at all possible, have a Maryville personal injury attorney review all of the required documents before you sign on the dotted line. If you can avoid it, do not sign the arbitration agreement. If the nursing home does not ease up on its stance, it is in your best interest to look for a different facility for your loved one.

Did you already sign the arbitration agreement? You can revoke the document you signed by sending the facility a certified letter stating such. Once a 30-day waiting period has passed, the agreement will be revoked. As with any legal document, it is best to work with Shepherd & Long before making any decisions.

How Our Experienced Maryville Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Can Help

We understand how challenging it is to find the right nursing home facility for your loved one. This is a stressful enough decision as it is. Adding in the fact that they might be subjected to abuse is frightening. At Shepherd & Long, we are advocates of nursing home residents and their rights. We will fight for justice on their behalf and assist you in filing the appropriate claim against the facility and its employees.

How much is my nursing home abuse injury worth?

Nursing home cases are unique among injury cases, because compensation awards usually take two factors into account: the extent of the medical treatments a person will need in the immediate and long-term future, and lost wages. Residents may not have wages to lose, but acts of neglect and abuse can ruin their quality of life for their remaining years, and lead to extensive medical treatments that may cost significantly more than what the insurance companies want to pay.

At Shepherd & Long, we hold nursing homes accountable for the damage they do, and we battle with insurance companies that want to devalue the life of your loved one. We fight to make sure that the acts are never repeated, and that your family member can live the rest of his or her life in comfort, safety, and security. If the negligence results in the death of your loved one, we can help you make a claim for funeral and burial expenses, and punitive damages if applicable.

Contact Our Maryville Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Today

If you have discovered that your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse and neglect, you are likely filled with anger and disappointment. The most important thing you can do is contact the experienced Maryville nursing home abuse lawyers from Shepherd & Long immediately. Call our office at 865-383-3118 or fill out the contact form on this website to schedule a free consultation with our team.