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Serving Victims of Nursing Home Abuse and Their Families in Spokane, Washington

When we entrust the care of our beloved and vulnerable elderly to assisted living facilities or nursing homes, we expect them to treat our relatives with the utmost respect and compassion, providing them quality medical care in exchange for what is often a substantial financial investment. However, as nursing home abuse statistics demonstrate, elder abuse and neglect is sadly common within these nursing facilities. Our experienced Washington nursing home abuse attorneys at Albrecht Law PLLC help victims and their families seek appropriate legal recourse following these unfortunate and unacceptable incidents.

Our compassionate legal team understands the devastation and anger the families of victims experience when elder abuse occurs at trusted nursing home facilities. If you suspect your loved one has suffered abuse and neglect — potentially including physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse — our nursing home abuse attorneys are ready to draw upon our extensive experience with nursing home abuse cases to pursue justice and financial compensation on your behalf. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation, during which we will review your case details and plan your next steps as part of a tailored strategy.

Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home residents may experience the following types of abuse:

  • Physical Abuse: Involves the use of physical force that causes bodily harm, pain, or impairment to an elderly resident.
  • Psychological/Emotional Abuse: Refers to the infliction of mental anguish, emotional pain, or distress through verbal or non-verbal acts, such as intimidation, humiliation, and isolation.
  • Financial Exploitation: Involves unauthorized or improper use of an elder’s funds, property, or assets, often through deception, coercion, or theft.
  • Abuse and Neglect: Occurs when a caregiver in a nursing home fails to provide necessary care, causing harm or risk of harm to an elderly resident. Abuse and neglect can include depriving them of food, water, personal hygiene, medical care, and safety.
  • Sexual Abuse: Involves non-consensual sexual contact, coercion, or harassment targeting an elderly resident in a nursing home.

If you suspect nursing home abuse, consult an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer who can review the details of your case, investigate the nursing home, and pursue accountability and recovery of damages for you and your loved one.

Nursing Home Abuse is More Common Than You May Expect — Seeking Legal Recourse is Also Important at a Social Level

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, one in ten nursing home residents experiences some form of abuse in the United States. In a survey of 577 nurses and nursing aides in long-term care facilities, a staggering 81% of the staff reported witnessing emotional elder abuse. Moreover, research suggests that approximately 10% of all nursing home residents in the U.S. experience abuse or neglect, with rates of physical abuse at 29%, psychological abuse at 21%, and gross neglect at 14%.

Recent studies have suggested that elder abuse increased in severity during the pandemic. One study found that abuse within the COVID-19 period doubled to one in five. Nursing home residents may experience multiple forms of abuse at the same time or over time, known as poly-victimization. Elder abuse impacts communities on many levels, including personal relationships, community engagement, and the public health, safety, and economic domains.

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services has accepted more than 65,000 reports of vulnerable adult abandonment, abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, and self-neglect in 2020.

These alarming statistics underscore the critical need for increased awareness, advocacy, and enforcement of nursing home abuse laws to protect elderly nursing home residents. Pursuing justice in your nursing home abuse case contributes towards addressing these troubling trends.

Signs of Nursing Home Neglect To Watch For

The signs of nursing home neglect can manifest in various ways, such as:

  • Loss or Lack of Mobility: Residents showing a decline in mobility or accessibility to mobility aids may indicate neglect in providing adequate assistance.
  • Poor Resident Hygiene: Neglect may be evident through the lack of proper care and maintenance of residents’ personal hygiene.
  • Psychological Issues: Behavioral changes or psychological distress in residents can be a sign of neglect, indicating unmet emotional or social needs.
  • Signs of Inadequate Nutrition: Malnutrition or dehydration can be caused by neglected dietary requirements, leading to visible physical and mental health implications.
  • Bedsores (Pressure Ulcers): These can develop due to prolonged pressure on certain parts of the body, signifying inadequate repositioning and care.
  • Unexplained Bruises or Injuries: Physical signs of harm, such as bruises, scars, or fractures — without a reasonable explanation — may indicate neglect or abuse.
  • Failure to Administer Medications Properly: Mismanagement of medications or failure to provide them as prescribed can have detrimental effects on residents’ health.
  • Environmental Hazards: Unsafe or unsanitary living conditions, such as poor lighting, lack of maintenance, or hazardous objects, can contribute to neglect.

Types of Compensation for Victims of Nursing Home Abuse

Victims of nursing home abuse in Washington may seek to recover various forms of compensation, including:

  • Economic Damages: This may include reimbursement for medical expenses — both current and future — related to the abuse.
  • Non-Economic Damages: Compensation for pain and suffering experienced due to the abuse.
  • Punitive Damages: In certain cases, such as those involving physical force, psychological abuse, broken bones, emotional pain, sexual abuse, or facial and dental injuries, victims may be awarded punitive damages, which are designed to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar conduct in the future.
  • Wrongful Death Damages: In cases where nursing home abuse leads to the death of the victim, their surviving family members may seek compensation for wrongful death, including funeral costs, hospital stays, and burial expenses, and loss of companionship and financial support.

Should I Hire an Attorney to Represent Me in a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit?

Hiring an attorney to represent you in a nursing home abuse lawsuit in Washington is essential for several reasons. Nursing home abuse lawyers possess the legal knowledge and experience necessary to navigate complex laws, regulations, and procedures specific to these types of cases.

A nursing home abuse lawyer can conduct a thorough investigation into the alleged abuse, gather evidence, and collaborate with experts, such as medical professionals and investigators, to build a compelling case on your behalf.

Additionally, skilled attorneys can negotiate with insurance companies and represent your interests during settlement discussions as they work to secure fair compensation for the damages suffered due to the abuse.

If your case goes to trial, an attorney can advocate for you in court against the nursing home law firm, presenting a strong case and compelling evidence to support your claim.

Many plaintiff’s lawyers have never been to trial. Although nobody wants to go to the Washington State Court of Appeals, what happens if you get there and your lawyer has no experience? They will dump you, leaving you with no recourse to seek compensation for your loved one. Choose a lawyer from the outset who can handle going to trial if it is needed for your case. At Albrecht Law PLLC, we have gone to the Washington State Supreme Court multiple times. If you stick with us, we’ll stick with you.

Dealing with nursing home abuse can be emotionally taxing. An attorney can provide compassionate support, helping you navigate the legal process with empathy and understanding. Attorneys strive to maximize the compensation you can seek, accounting for medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other damages caused by the abuse.

Attorneys are aware of the applicable statutes of limitations and legal deadlines, ensuring that your case is filed within the required timeframe.

Are You Concerned That a Loved One is Experiencing Nursing Home Abuse? Contact Albrecht Law PLLC, Where You Are Known

Abuse and neglect should never happen in an assisted living facility or a nursing home you entrust and financially compensate for the care of your loved one. Sadly, it’s impossible to prevent nursing home abuse, which remains a problem despite the state’s adult protective services and the watchful eye of the family. When abuse or neglect cause consequences like severe mental health issues, preventable emergency room visits, fear, anxiety, mood swings, or other unexplainable behaviors in a cherished parent, grandparent or other relative, Albrecht Law PLLC is ready to help.

With compassion and a thorough understanding of the law, we will listen to the details of your case and determine a way forward. We have represented clients in elder sexual abuse cases, cases where a bedridden nursing home resident experienced physical and verbal abuse, and other instances of elder abuse.

We combine cutting-edge technology with loyal, personalized, and courteous attention. At Albrecht Law, you are known.  Contact us at (509) 495-1246(509) 495-1246 or complete our online form today to schedule your free consultation. We are here to serve you.

Albrecht Law PLLC — Our Clients Are More Than Just Cases

Frequently-Asked Questions Regarding Nursing Home Abuse in the State of Washington

What are the 7 types of elder abuse?

  1. Physical Nursing Home Abuse: Inflicting physical pain or injury on a senior, such as slapping, bruising, or restraining.
  2. Elder Neglect: Failing to fulfill a caretaking obligation, leading to an older adult’s deprivation of essential needs such as food, water, shelter, clothing, hygiene, and necessary medical treatment.
  3. Sexual Nursing Home Abuse: Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind with an elderly person.
  4. Emotional Nursing Home Abuse: Inflicting mental pain, anguish, or distress on an elderly person through verbal or non-verbal acts, such as yelling, humiliation, or isolation.
  5. Financial Exploitation: Illegal or improper use of an elderly person’s funds, property, or assets.
  6. Abandonment: Desertion of an elder by anyone who has assumed the responsibility for care or custody of that person.
  7. Self-Neglect: The failure of an older adult to provide for their own basic needs and necessities.

Should I report nursing home abuse to nursing home staff members?

While it may be tempting to report abuse directly to nursing home staff members, it is usually better to go to the relevant authorities or agencies to avoid conflicts of interest and a lack of an objective investigation. Aside from the DSHS and APS, in cases of immediate danger, report your suspicions about abuse to law enforcement by calling 911, for a swift and appropriate response. Protecting your loved ones and preventing nursing home abuse begins with following these guidelines.

Where do I report suspected nursing home abuse in Washington?

If you’re concerned about possible nursing home abuse in Washington, you can report it to the appropriate authorities. The following are some essential resources for reporting suspected abuse or neglect:

What signs do residents of nursing homes and assisted living residents display when nursing home abuse occurs?

Residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities may display various signs indicating different types of abuse, including verbal abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. Some common signs include:

  • Unexplained injuries such as bruises, cuts, or fractures
  • Sudden changes in behavior or mood
  • Withdrawal from social activities or interactions
  • Fear or anxiety around specific staff members
  • Lack of proper hygiene/self-neglect
  • Unattended medical needs
  • Unexplained financial transactions or missing personal items
  • Malnutrition or dehydration
  • Bedsores or pressure ulcers
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Lack of appropriate clothing or personal care items

Take these signs seriously and write down your observations as you prepare to report elder abuse to the authorities because these are crucial indicators of potential nursing home abuse.

What should I do if I notice the nursing home resident’s injuries are severe?

If you notice severe injuries on a nursing home resident, take immediate action to ensure their safety and well-being.

  1. Seek Emergency Medical Attention: If the injuries are severe, immediately call 911 or the local emergency medical services to ensure the resident has access to prompt medical care.
  2. Document the Injuries: If it is safe to do so, take photographs of the resident’s injuries as evidence. Additionally, write down any observations of the incident or the circumstances surrounding the injuries. This documentation can be valuable for any subsequent investigation.
  3. Report to Authorities: Contact the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) or Adult Protective Services (APS) to report the severe injuries. Promptly reporting the situation to the relevant authorities can help initiate an official investigation and protect the resident’s safety.
  4. Notify Family Members: If possible, inform the resident’s family members or legal guardians about the situation to make them aware of the severity of the injuries and the actions being taken.
  5. Cooperate with Investigations: If an investigation is initiated, cooperate fully with the authorities and provide any information or evidence you have regarding the injuries to facilitate a thorough investigation.
  6. Seek Legal Advice: Consider seeking legal advice from experienced nursing home abuse lawyers, who can guide you on protecting the resident’s rights and pursuing further action if necessary.

Does Washington state law require for-profit nursing homes to fully vet all potential nursing home employees?

State law does not explicitly require for-profit nursing homes to fully vet all potential nursing home employees. However, nursing homes in Washington are subject to regulations and standards regarding the employment and qualifications of staff members to ensure resident safety and well-being.

As outlined in Chapter 74.42 RCW and the State Operations Manual – Appendix PP, regulations governing nursing home staffing include requirements related to appropriate nurse staffing levels and work tasks by residents. These regulations strive to maintain a standard of care and competency among the nursing staff.

While specific vetting requirements for potential employees may not be mandated by law, nursing homes are expected to comply with state regulations applicable to their workforce, including background checks and qualifications necessary for positions that involve direct resident care. Compliance with these regulations upholds the quality of care within nursing homes.

How can I know if my loved one in a nursing home is a victim of financial abuse?

You can identify potential financial nursing home abuse affecting your loved one by observing the following indicators:

  • Unexplained Changes in Financial Behavior: Watch for unusual changes in your loved one’s spending behavior, sudden and unexplained checks or withdrawals, and significant loans that they cannot clarify.
  • Disappearance of Personal Items: Keep an eye out for the disappearance of personal belongings or valuable items without a reasonable explanation.
  • Fear and Anxiety: If your loved one displays fear, anxiety, or seems hesitant to discuss financial matters, it may indicate that they are experiencing financial abuse.
  • Sudden Changes in Banking Practices: Look for unexplained alterations in financial accounts, banking practices, or estate planning documents, such as wills and deeds.
  • Unexplained Withdrawals or Transfers: Keep track of any unexplained withdrawal of large sums or excessive withdrawals of small amounts from your loved one’s accounts.
  • Isolation and Dependency: Instances where your loved one becomes increasingly isolated from family and friends, or overly reliant on certain individuals for financial assistance, could be a red flag.

While these signs do not always definitively indicate financial abuse, they can serve as warning signals that prompt further investigation and intervention.

If proven that their caretakers harm residents, how are nursing homes punished?

If proven that the nursing home staff members have been abusing residents, nursing homes could face significant penalties and consequences in accordance with federal and state laws, which may include:

  • Civil Penalties: Nursing homes could face civil penalties, with the potential for substantial fines. The civil penalty could amount to up to $200,000.
  • Exclusion from Federal Contracts: In addition to civil penalties, nursing homes found to be non-compliant or responsible for harming residents may face exclusion from federal contracts, which can have substantial financial implications for the nursing home facility.

These penalties enforce accountability and prioritize the safety and well-being of nursing home residents. The severity of the penalties underscores the significance of maintaining high standards of care within facilities.

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