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Are you in the midst of filing a complaint against a nursing home and feel you’re not being heard? Are you sick and tired of visiting your loved one and raising the same issues with staff, only to be told there isn’t anything wrong or ‘they’re doing the best they can’?

If you’re unhappy with the level of care your family member is receiving and feel the nursing home simply isn’t doing anything to put it right – it may be time to take the legal step and hire an attorney.

When it comes to filing for legal support in matters of nursing home abuse, it’s often a very difficult and stressful time for all involved. Often a situation between a nursing home and a relative has been left unresolved, with serious evidence of neglect or abuse that has been overlooked or simply ignored.

If you’ve raised a number of complaints directly to the managing staff at the nursing home without any success or confidence that they’re handling the situation – it’s time to get tough.

We’ve created a 3-step guide to understanding when it may be time to hire a nursing home abuse attorney as well as how to start the formal process;

If you’ve made a complaint to nursing home staff and had no response

If you’ve noticed a change in the behavior of your loved one, or feel their level of care isn’t up to scratch then the first step to dealing with the situation is to file a complaint directly with the manager.

Step one: Contact the nursing home management team

If you’re in any way concerned about welfare within a nursing home, we’d always recommend meeting with management immediately.

If you’ve met with the managers at the home and still feel unhappy or dissatisfied with the situation, it’s time to consider some external legal help. Chances are, this was the first step you’ve taken and sadly things simply haven’t changed.

If the management of the nursing home haven’t acted on any of your concerns, it is important that you take the next steps and share your concerns with an external representative such as a specialist attorney for nursing home abuse.

If the level of care has not changed

Another tell-tale sign to be aware of is if the level of care has not visibly changed. If this is the case, we’d always recommend taking the next step which is formally filing it with the TASA.

Step two: File your complaint with the TASA

In the state of Arizona, any complaint against a nursing home needs to be filed with the TASA; Task Force Against Senior Abuse. The TASA will then ensure they contact the Attorney General’s office regularly and your complaint should be passed on.

Filing a formal complaint may take a little while but ensures your individual case will be handled by a professional who will investigate the complaint as well as the nursing home facility. The TASA may ask you for a record or log of examples of when you’ve felt your family member has been subject to neglect or abuse.

We’d always recommend taking notes of how they are when you visit. Create a log of their emotional and physical well-being, paying attention particularly to:

  • What the state of their own living space is like
  • Whether there are any changes being made in the level of care towards them.
  • How happy do they seem? Are they quieter than usual or even sad
  • How clean are they when you visit- have they had a change of clothes? Are they well-presented

If your complaint involves physical neglect or abuse, it may be visibly easier to see signs of change or improvement but often the abuse or neglect will be hidden well. Make sure to take photos if necessary of injuries and any other type of evidence that could be used to support the case.

Building a case based on written evidence of care standards will help you understand if and where your family member started to deteriorate. Keeping notes or a record of each visit and their behavior will also really help an attorney when they’re building a case for your loved one too as it helps when supplying evidence.

If you feel ignored, intimated or overpowered

Whilst the TASA will handle your complaint anonymously at all times, you may still feel intimidated or ignored by the nursing home staff after complaining. Remember, you’re perfectly within your rights to file a formal complaint and still visit the nursing home being investigated.

Step three: Hire a nursing home abuse attorney

Sadly, it’s common to feel helpless in a situation where a loved one may be subject to abuse or neglect.If the nursing home management is making life more difficult – you may be feeling completely helpless.

Be aware of how the management staff respond to your concerns or make you feel when you visit or speak with them. Make sure your concerns are being heard by the most senior members of the nursing home and don’t accept empty answers or excuses if you personally feel that changes are not being met.

If you feel ignored when you speak to management, overpowered by a stronger voice in meetings or even intimidated by the care staff or management, it’s important to reach out to a trusted and experienced attorney who will help you feel empowered again.

Having a third party legal representative who will remain impartial and removed emotionally from the situation will help handle any sort of intimidation or other issues you may have been having, and will help you feel more confident about the situation.

If you have any level of doubt surrounding the level of care your loved one is receiving, it is definitely time to seek legal advice. An attorney will also formalize the legal case against the nursing home, handling the complaint professionally and in the majority of cases, ensuring justice is served as a result.

If you’re concerned the abuse is continuing

If you suspect abuse is still happening to your loved one, it is vital to quickly take the next step in protecting and acting responsibly, on their behalf.

Hiring an attorney to represent you and your family is an essential part of safeguarding and protecting your loved one in a situation where you suspect abuse is happening.

While it can be difficult to provide evidence of physical abuse as it will often happen behind closed doors, make sure to monitor their general behavior and stay vigilant for any marks or bruising.

When you instruct a legal professional with experience with nursing home abuse, will they reassure you that the right course of action is taken to safeguard your family member.  An attorney will also help prevent any further neglect or abuse from happening to other members of the home.

A previous case of where an attorney was successful in proving sadly many examples of neglect within a nursing home was the Cote and Cote v. Five Star Quality Care, Inc. dba The Forum at Desert Harbor.

Whilst the family suspected there may have been abuse going on, they were unsure of how to prove it.

The family members of the deceased provided regular evidence of neglect and general abuse including regularly being left dehydrated, malnourished and over medicated. Tragically, the ongoing neglect led to a severe bedsore to develop, leading to MRSA which was sadly the cause of death.

The attorney working on the case worked hard to prove abuse had occurred and ultimately caused premature death, awarding the surviving family $2,506,000 in compensatory damages.

Preventing any kind of abuse or neglect from carrying on is vital but it isn’t something you need to burden or try to tackle yourself.

Legal support to help your case move forward

Hiring an attorney who has experience when dealing with highly sensitive and traumatic matters such as nursing home abuse will ensure your case stands the best chance of having a positive outcome for both you and your family member.

Recognizing any signs of abuse or neglect in a loved one can be an incredibly traumatic and stressful time, particularly when you trust and rely on their nursing home staff to show them the same level of care and compassion as you would. It is important to recognize when you need the additional legal support that hiring a nursing home abuse attorney can bring to your individual case.

If you are in any doubt as to whether or not to hire an attorney to represent you in any matter of nursing home abuse or neglect, why not have an initial consultation with a trusted firm and find out just how far your case could go.

Most attorneys are happy to offer a free consultation to understand your personal circumstances and offer advice for your next moves. Why not speak to one of our experienced attorneys today and find out how they could help you with your case.

Our experienced attorneys offer comprehensive guidance on all personal injury matters by phone or video conference call.

Our team of lawyers work closely with their injury clients across Arizona, communicating clearly whilst offering reassurance and empathy through an often very difficult and emotional process. During the free consultation, our lawyers will discuss your concerns before creating a comprehensive plan for you, while also assessing the strength of your claim.

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