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Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse

For most of us, the idea of someone – and especially a relative – taking advantage of the elderly is unthinkable. The tragic truth is that elder abuse is widespread, and the majority of abusers are family members, according to

One all-too-common type of elder abuse comes in the form of financial exploitation. A family member, friend, or caregiver may take advantage of an older adult’s finances for their own gain. It may be up to you to put a stop to it.

Financial abuse of the elderly takes many varied forms, and often includes the forging of signatures, taking money or property, fraud or scams, and coercion or deception. Elderly individuals are often forced to relinquish ownership through wills, deeds, or powers of attorney through threats, intimidation, or fraud at the hands of an abuser who is close to them.

Nursing homes offer a level of medical attention and daily care that would be difficult to provide for elderly loved ones in their own homes. At the same time, nursing home abuse is an unfortunately common problem, and it is important for family members and friends to remain vigilant.

Elder abuse can take a variety of forms, and understanding what constitutes abuse and nursing home neglect – and how to identify and report it – can help ensure those you care about are protected.

Common Types of Elder Abuse

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines elder abuse as an intentional act that has the potential to cause harm to someone age 60 or over. It can occur at the hands of family or caregivers when older adults live in their own homes, or as the result of nursing home abuse committed by a facility’s workers or staff.

The following are five common types of abuse identified by the CDC:

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When families make the decision to put their loved ones in a nursing home, it usually happens because the family is not equipped to provide the kind of care that their loved one needs – and they hope that the nursing home can.

While many nursing homes take good care of their residents, too many nursing home residents find themselves in very vulnerable situations. Perhaps they do not have their full mental faculties. Many times they cannot walk, bathe, or use the bathroom without assistance. Those vulnerabilities can make them targets, and many rest homes do not do enough to protect their residents from abusive workers.

A recent investigative report from CNN looked into the issue in detail and discovered that more than 1,000 nursing homes have been cited for mishandling suspected sex abuse cases.

The loss of a loved one is one of the most traumatic and psychologically stressful events that a human being can endure. The stress and pain are only magnified when a loved one’s death is sudden, unexpected and caused by the negligent or reckless actions of another person. This can leave the surviving family members devastated. Not only must they say goodbye to their loved one and process their feelings of grief and anger, they are also left worrying about the costs associated with the funeral and carrying on without their loved one’s contributions.

While a North Carolina or South Carolina wrongful death lawsuit cannot undo a tragic and untimely death, these lawsuits can provide surviving family members with much-needed financial compensation to address the expenses and losses they must endure because of someone else’s wrongdoing.

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A frequent question from our clients is how do contingency fees work? We do almost all of our personal injury work on a contingency fee basis. That means the fee is a percentage of the amount we recover for the client. Depending on the kind of case, contingency fees can range from 25% to 40%. Also depending on the kind of case, certain amounts recovered are not subject to the contingency fee. There is an infinite variety of ways to structure a contingency fee.

Contingency fees have significant advantage over hourly fees. If you hire a lawyer on an hourly basis, typically they are going to require an upfront payment and then bill monthly. The attorney will expect to get paid monthly. If the client stops paying, then the attorney will stop working and move to terminate the relationship. Most insurance companies pay their lawyers either on an hourly basis or sometimes on a flat fee basis. In a contingency fee case, the lawyer gets a part of the recovery. Said another way, the lawyer doesn’t get paid unless the client gets paid. Often times our cases run on for years, and most clients can’t afford to pay attorneys on an hourly basis for years. Our clients prefer contingency fees because it is financially the best way for them to hire a lawyer to protect their interest.

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According to the Humane Society of the United States, pet ownership in the United
States has more than tripled since the 1970’s with about 62% of American households said to have at least one pet in 2012 and 47% of households owning at least one dog. Many of us experience first- hand the joys and benefits of pet ownership. But for those suffering from a mental or physical illness, animals and pets can provide much needed healing and therapeutic benefits.

There are two basic categories of animals that assist the disabled – service animals and therapy animals.

The American Disability Act provides a very specific definition of a “service animal” and as of March 15, 2011 only dogs are recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA and are defined by the Act as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. Service animals are not considered pets and are specifically trained to assist a disabled individual with things such as pushing a wheelchair, alerting one to the sounds of smoke alarms, timers, and telephones; or picking up and carrying
items for an individual. While many therapy animals are specifically trained to provide therapeutic benefits to the disabled, they are not service animals and do not have the same rights to public buildings as service animals. They do, however, provide many healing benefits to the disabled and their families and have been found to significantly reduce pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue for people suffering from mental and physical disabilities. Continue Reading

Choosing a nursing home isn’t always easy. Many South Carolina families who need to find nursing home care for a loved one are launching the search for the first time. They love their family member, but they’ve never had to choose a nursing home before. They don’t know what questions to ask or how to determine if the nursing homes will provide the care and dignity their loved one deserves. They desperately want to protect their loved one from nursing home abuse or neglect – but where to start?

If this sounds like your situation, start by asking friends and co-workers about their experiences with nursing homes – but then, launch your own investigation. Visit each nursing home on your list and ask these crucial 10 questions:

1. Are you accepting new residents? This question helps you cross potential nursing homes off your list quickly: if they have no space for new residents, they can’t help your loved one. If they are accepting new residents, ask about the application and acceptance process and schedule a tour.

Loved ones of the 81-year-old Alzheimer’s patient knew she had a host of problems. In addition to the Alzheimer’s, she suffered from a fractured spine, high blood pressure and osteoporosis. Getting to and from the bathroom was impossible without a wheelchair or at least a walker.

Her family knew that they could no longer care for her at home. They made an agonizing choice that more and more family members are facing these days: the decision to put her in an assisted-living facility.

However, as our Asheville nursing home abuse lawyers know all too well, not every placement turns out the way family members had envisioned.

For most of his life, the 72-year-old North Carolina man suffering from severe physical and mental disabilities, was lovingly cared for by relatives who feared putting him in an institution.Sadly, little did they know how right those fears would later prove.

Our Rutherfordton nursing home abuse lawyers understand the the man’s niece – herself an assisted living facility aide – had to quit her job to care for him full-time. She has now filed a lawsuit against the O’Berry Neuro-Medical Treatment Center, a state hospital facility that assumed his care for a time in 2010.

He might never have been there int the first place, but for the fact that his seizures had worsened. The man was not born with these disabilities, but rather incurred them after suffering from polio and a severe case of pneumonia. He now has the mental capacity of a 4-year-old.

A history of deaths and serious injuries caused by bed rails used by nursing homes and home health care agencies have been spotlighted by a recent report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).Our North Carolina personal injury attorneys understand that since 1995, when concerns were first raised, some 550 people have died as a result of getting their head or neck stuck either in the rails or in the space between the rail and the bed. Additionally, another 37,000 people have been treated at hospital emergency rooms for injuries between 2003 and 2011.

Although we don’t yet have data for 2012, the commission has indicated that this is the first step in possibly stiffer regulations for an industry that has been able to avoid intense scrutiny, despite the inherent dangers of their product.

While both the CPSC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were first made aware of problems by a Minnesota professor in 1995, it wasn’t until the death of an 81-year-old nursing home resident in Washington State, and the subsequent urgent letters written by her daughter, that a review was initiated.

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