Reno Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

Reno Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers, Washoe County, NV

Strong advocacy for seniors who suffer physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse

The elderly, and their families, have the right to expect that nursing homes will do everything reasonably possible to protect their residents. Seniors should be able to rely on quality care and the pleasure of enjoying their family and friends. They shouldn’t have to worry that a nursing home staff member might try to take advantage of them or punish them just for being old. Seniors should be able to trust that nursing homes will take proactive steps to stop all types of abuse.

At Claggett & Sykes Law Firm, our Reno nursing home lawyers understand the steps long-term care facilities should take to protect their residents. We represent seniors who are mistreated, the families of loved ones when a family member dies due to abuse or neglect, and the guardians of any seniors who can’t handle their own affairs. We seek to hold nursing homes accountable for the senior you love and for all the other seniors in the home. We’ll help assert your rights so your loved ones can enjoy their remaining years.

How much of a danger is nursing home abuse?

According to the National Center for Elder Abuse (NCEA), as of 2018, there were more than 52 million seniors (aged 65 and older) in America. By 2040, that number is expected to increase to 80 million. By 2034, it’s expected that there will be more seniors than children. Per NCEA, studies show that at least 10% of seniors living in the community have experienced some form of abuse in the prior year. A recent study of institutional abuse (using self-reporting data) showed that the largest type of abuse is psychological abuse – followed, in order, by physical abuse, financial abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse. It’s also estimated that for every incident of abuse that is reported, about 24 incidents are not reported.

As you can see, the amount of abuse and neglect in America’s nursing homes is significant.

What are the types of elder abuse and neglect?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Elder abuse is an intentional act or failure to act that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult. An older adult is someone age 60 or older. The abuse often occurs at the hands of a caregiver or a person the elder trusts.”

The NCEA categorizes the various types of abuse as follows:

  • Physical Abuse. This type of abuse involves intentional or reckless conduct that may cause physical injuries, pain, or impairment. Examples include beating, shoving, pushing, shaking, kicking, pinching, and burning the abuse victim. Physical abuse includes physical and chemical restraints.
  • Sexual Abuse. This type of abuse includes any “non-consensual sexual contact of any kind with an older adult, perpetrated through force, threats, or the exploitation of authority.” Examples include unwanted touching, sexual interaction, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. A major concern is that many seniors due to their ill health lack the capacity to give consent.
  • Emotional or Psychological Abuse. This type of abuse is meant to cause anxiety, distress, depression, and other types of emotional pain. Examples include threats, intimidation, verbal assaults, isolation, harassment, and humiliation.
  • Financial Abuse. Sadly, staff members and managers often try to take advantage of seniors by stealing or misusing the senior’s accounts, assets, and property. Examples include pressuring the senior to make withdrawals, sign powers of attorney, or the creation of guardianships or conservatorships in favor of a staff member of official.
  • Neglect. Nursing homes should design their facilities in anticipation that seniors may fall and have other mobility problems. Failing to prevent falls because of poor room design or missing handrails/bedrails could be a sign of neglect. Neglect also includes not giving a patient his/her medication and failing to feed, clothe, protect, and comfort the senior.

What are some of the signs of nursing home abuse in Reno?

Family members and friends should look for signs of abuse if they believe their loved one may not be safe. There are visible signs, such as cuts, bruises, burns, and other physical injuries, but there could be non-physical indicators as well. Other signs of abuse or neglect that aren’t as apparent include:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Withdrawing from activities the senior normally likes
  • Lack of confidence
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Anti-social behavior
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Unusual or unaccounted for financial withdrawals
  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Bedsores
  • Poor hygiene
  • Ulcers
  • Symptoms that indicate the resident is not receiving his or her medication

If you are able, check the sheets, towels, and clothing of your loved one. Along with bedsores, which can be caused by poor hygiene, scabies can proliferate in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Improper washing can increase the risk.

It’s critical that seniors and the people who love them speak with an experienced Reno nursing home abuse lawyer so the senior is protected from further harm – and so the senior can assert his/her rights.

What types of injuries does nursing home abuse cause?

Abuse and neglect have serious consequences. As we age, it takes longer to heal from physical trauma, and many seniors may have underlying health conditions which can be exacerbated by abuse or neglect. Nursing home residents who are not protected may suffer the following injuries, among others:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Fractures such as hip and limb fractures are common
  • Internal bleeding
  • Bedsores
  • Internal bleeding and organ damage
  • Emotional injuries that require psychological care
  • Financial damages
  • Burns
  • Nutritional harm
  • Many other types of injuries

Sadly, many seniors never fully recover from their injuries.

In the most tragic cases, a loved one dies due to abuse or neglect. When a senior dies before his/her time, our Reno nursing home lawyers file wrongful death actions on behalf of the family members – usually a spouse and the children.

What are Nevada’s nursing home laws?

Nevada has laws to protect seniors. Nevada Revised Statutes Section 200.5091 specifically provides:

It is the policy of this State to provide for the cooperation of law enforcement officials, courts of competent jurisdiction and all appropriate state agencies providing human services in identifying the abuse, neglect, exploitation, isolation and abandonment of older persons and vulnerable persons through the complete reporting of abuse, neglect, exploitation, isolation and abandonment of older persons and vulnerable persons.

Nevada’s laws on the proper treatment and protection of the elderly include numerous reporting requirements among other requirements. Violations may result in criminal penalties.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have their own regulations that apply to any nursing home or long-term care facility that submits bills for payment to Medicare or Medicaid.

In addition to the federal and state laws, Nevada’s common law permits seniors and the families of loved ones to file civil claims against the nursing homes and staff members for abuse or neglect.

What rights do nursing home residents have?

CMS grants residents of facilities that use Medicare or Medicaid specific rights. These guaranteed rights include the right to:

  • Be free from abuse and neglect
  • Be free from discrimination
  • Exercise their rights as an American citizen
  • Notify a representative and file complaints
  • Obtain and participate in decisions about their medical care
  • Be treated with respect
  • Be free from restraints
  • Have protections against involuntary transfer or discharge
  • Engage in activities including with resident groups and visitors
  • Control their money and get information on services and fees
  • Privacy, property, and living arrangements
  • Be informed about their rights in writing, raise concerns, and understand the nursing home rules

Nevada nursing home residents can learn more about their Long Term Care Residents’ Rights here. If you have questions about the rights of your loved ones, speak with the Reno nursing home abuse attorneys at Claggett & Sykes now.

Why are nursing homes liable for abuse and neglect in Reno?

Nursing homes need to understand the federal and state laws that apply to their care of their residents. They have a duty to protect their residents from abuse by taking proactive steps to prevent abuse and responsive steps as soon as they learn of any abuse.

Nursing homes should have written policies in place to address nursing home abuse and neglect. They should vet prospective employees. Nursing homes should encourage residents to file complaints. Nursing homes need to address staff shortages by either finding ways to hire more workers, or by reducing the number of residents.

At Claggett & Sykes, our Reno nursing home lawyers work aggressively to show why the nursing homes and staff members are liable for the injuries to the residents.

How do I file a claim against a Reno nursing home?

Family and friends should take all complaints by nursing home residents and all signs of abuse seriously. If the nursing home doesn’t respond to the complaints – including starting a formal investigation or firing an abusive employee, then you file a complaint with the Nevada ombudsman. The Nevada State Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) is authorized by the federal Older American’s Act.

“LTC Ombudsmen conduct investigations with the resident’s consent and attempt to resolve the complaints to the satisfaction of the resident.” The LTC Ombudsman also conducts unannounced quarterly inspects of the nursing homes. Complaints can also be filed through the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH) directly.

Seniors (if they can) and their loved ones should also contact our experienced Reno nursing home abuse lawyers. We’ll explain how the various state investigations, criminal complaints, and civil complaints work – and when you can keep the complaint confidential.

What damages can be awarded in a Reno nursing home abuse or neglect case?

If the senior (or someone authorized on the senior’s behalf) files a nursing home complaint, our Reno nursing home lawyers seek the following damages:

  • Medical bills. Victims of nursing home abuse often need surgeries, doctor visits, and various types of therapy. They may require psychological care and the use of assistive devices.
  • Pain and suffering. Victims of physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse deserve compensation for their daily physical pain and their mental suffering.
  • Property loss. If a caretaker stole from your loved one, or if your loved one’s property is damaged, you can seek damages for this property loss as part of your injury claim.

In many nursing home abuse cases, we demand punitive damages if the nursing home’s conduct was grossly negligent – for example, if the nursing home knew of the abuse and allowed it to continue. We may also seek double damages under NRS § 41.1395, which applies to older or vulnerable people who have been abused.

Do you have a Reno nursing home abuse lawyer near me?

Claggett & Sykes Law Firm maintains an office at 100 N Sierra St, Suite 220. We can also meet with clients at their nursing homes when necessary.

Speak with our caring experienced Reno nursing home abuse lawyers as soon as possible

If a loved one is being abused, he or she needs help now. At Claggett & Sykes Law Firm, our lawyers move quickly to help protect your loved one. We’ll explain the need to remove your loved one from the home in the interim, and how the personal injury claim proceeds along with any criminal charges and state investigations. We file personal injury claims to help address all the harm caused by the abuse or neglect. To talk with one of our experienced Reno nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers, call 702-333-7777 or fill out our contact form today.

Reno Office

100 N Sierra St, Suite 220
Reno, NV 89501