Nursing home abuse is a serious issue that affects the health, safety and dignity of many elderly and disabled residents in Texas. According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, there were more than 50,000 cases of elder abuse reported in 2022, including 10,000 that involved nursing home residents. It is a serious problem in Texas.
How to notice nursing home abuse
Unfortunately, nursing home abuse can be hard to detect. This is especially true when the victim is afraid or unable to report their abuse. However, there are some signs that may indicate that something is wrong.
- Look for unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, fractures or infections.
- Does your elderly family member have poor hygiene, or show signs of malnutrition, dehydration or bedsores?
- Have there been any sudden changes in behavior, mood or personality, or have they withdrawn from social or family activities or communication?
- Does your elderly family member show signs of fear or anxiety around certain staff members or residents?
- Have you noticed that they are missing items or money, or that their money is being mismanaged?
These are all signs of nursing home abuse.
How to report nursing home abuse
If you suspect or witness nursing home abuse in Texas, report it as soon as possible to the Complaint and Incident Intake Unit of the Texas Health and Human Services. They are responsible for investigating complaints of abuse or neglect that occur in nursing homes. Though, they also take complaints from assisted living facilities, day activity and health services, home health and hospice agencies and intermediate care facilities. You can even report the abuse anonymously.
How to seek justice for nursing home abuse
Under Texas law, nursing home residents have the right to be free from abuse. If this right is violated by nursing home staff or other residents, the victims and their families may have civil injury claims that can be based on various legal grounds. This includes negligent care, treatment, supervision, hiring or retention by the nursing home. Claims could also be based on premises liability or even false imprisonment.
What is compensable?
These claims can seek compensation for the damages caused by nursing home abuse. These damages, of course, include medical expenses, pain and suffering and mental anguish. However, it also includes the loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium and in some cases, punitive damages.