Many families in Baton Rouge know they don’t have the means to give their aging loved ones the specialized, round-the-clock medical care and attention they need. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities fill the important role of providing the professional caregiving services most families can’t.
For the most part, nursing homes are staffed with compassionate and skilled caregivers who devote their careers to helping those in need. However, when a nursing home fails to prioritize patient welfare—whether by engaging in negligent hiring practices, understaffing, emotional neglect, or abuse cover-up—an elderly person can suffer serious physical and psychological harm. Any Baton Rouge nursing home that allows elder mistreatment to occur must be held accountable.
If you have reason to believe a nursing home resident you know and love is suffering abuse or neglect, contact a Baton Rouge nursing home abuse lawyer from Bianca | Matkins. Our Louisiana personal injury lawyers are ready to meet with you for a free case consultation.
As a fully Deaf-supporting law firm, we are made up of attorneys and staff members fluent in ASL who are ready to work with your family today. If your loved one was injured because a long-term care facility did not comply with the ADA for Deaf residents, we can advocate for justice on your family’s behalf.
Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Fighting for Elder Rights in Louisiana
Nursing facilities are essential to our communities here in South Louisiana. In Baton Rouge alone, over 35 facilities care for thousands of members of our elder population. But the alarming truth is that these nursing care centers may not be giving our aging loved ones the care they deserve.
According to Medicare’s nursing home compare tool, roughly half of the long-term care facilities in Greater Baton Rouge are rated with just one out of five stars—a rating categorized as “much below average” in metrics like health inspections, staffing, and quality measures.
This is a terrifying statistic to those of us who depend on these nursing homes to give our family members a high quality of life in their twilight years.
Our nursing home abuse attorneys are fierce advocates for nursing home residents who were mistreated in the institutes designed to care for them. The legal action you take with the representation of our nursing home abuse lawyers can help you:
- Uphold your aging loved one’s legal rights as a nursing home resident
- Create a safe environment for other residents by removing an abuser from contact with residents
- Make sure a negligent nursing home is held liable for any harm suffered by residents
- Enforce the rules and standards every assisted living facility is required to follow by law
- Obtain compensation for medical bills, the cost of moving, and other expenses your loved one incurred as a result of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation
- Give your loved one the resources to live their life in health, safety, and happiness
What Are the Types of Nursing Home Abuse?
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) classifies elder mistreatment into five basic types:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional or psychological abuse
- Financial exploitation
When many people think of the term “nursing home abuse,” they think of physically abusive behaviors like hitting, kicking, slapping, pushing, pinching, or forcefully restraining. While this is not the only type of abuse that nursing home residents can suffer, it is one of the four main types of elder abuse as defined by the NCEA.
It may seem incomprehensible that a person would physically abuse an elderly nursing home resident. There is never a good reason or excuse for physical abuse to occur. Unfortunately, factors like stress, overworking, and lack of background checks in nursing homes can lead to a situation in which an older adult is subjected to physical violence.
If your elderly loved one is experiencing abuse, they may display some of the following signs.
Signs of Physical Abuse
- Bruises, cuts, broken bones, and other injuries
- Marks from physical restraints
- Broken glasses, damaged personal items, or torn clothing
- Injuries without a clear cause
- Worsening conditions or conditions that don’t seem to heal
- Staff who won’t let family members be alone with the resident
Sexual assault, unwanted touching, forced nudity, and any type of non-consensual sexual contact fall into the category of sexual abuse. Due to factors like mental illness or dementia, many nursing home residents are not able to communicate consent or speak out against an abuser. This makes Alzheimer’s patients and other nursing home residents with verbal or cognitive limitations especially vulnerable to sexual abuse.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Bruising on genitals or breasts
- Pelvic injuries
- Difficulty walking or sitting, or pain in the anus or genitals
- Bloody undergarments
- Emotional and behavioral changes
- Exhibiting symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Inappropriate, unusual sexual advances toward others
- Suicide attempts
Emotional or psychological abuse can be verbal or unspoken. It not only severely affects a person’s mental health but their physical health as well. Examples of this form of abuse include threatening, humiliation, shaming, name-calling, verbally abusing, manipulating, mocking, ignoring, and forcing a person into solitude. NCEA statistics indicate that this may be the most common type of abuse in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
If you observe any of these warning signs, it’s a good idea to spend more time at your loved one’s assisted living facility to observe their daily habits and interactions with staff.
Signs of Emotional Abuse
- Social withdrawal
- Unwillingness to communicate
- Anxiety, depression, agitation, and other signs of emotional distress
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Noticeable reactions to certain staff members
- Deteriorating physical condition
- Frequent illness
- Lack of appetite or refusal to eat
We at Bianca | Matkins come from working class backgrounds. We know the meaning of hard work and the value of a dollar. One of the most heartbreaking things we see in our legal practice is when hardworking individuals have their life savings stolen or tricked away from them in their vulnerable years.
Be aware of these common signs that can indicate an older person is being financially abused.
Signs of Financial Abuse
- Large, unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts
- Changes to a will or deeds
- Adding new names to accounts and documents
- The sudden appearance of long-lost friends or relatives
- Missing cash or valuables
- Suspicious bank card activity
- Unpaid bills
What Is Nursing Home Neglect?
Nursing home neglect is a failure or refusal to meet an elder’s essential needs. This may mean not providing necessities like nutritious food, clean and plentiful water, a sanitary living environment, washed clothes and bed linens, personal safety, necessary medications, or emotionally-fulfilling activities.
Medical neglect (a failure to provide medical care when needed) can be particularly detrimental to an elder’s health. But all forms of neglect can lead to serious and even fatal outcomes among the elderly.
Signs of Nursing Home Neglect
- Malnourishment, dehydration, and weight loss
- Unresolved health issues
- Poor personal hygiene
- Dirty clothes and soiled bedsheets
- A lack of social activities
- Bed sores (pressure ulcers)
- Complaints of inattentive and unresponsive staff
- Fall injuries
- Poor emotional health
How To Report Elder Abuse in Louisiana
As the resident’s family, you owe it to your loved one to familiarize yourself with the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. Spend time at the facility and get to know the staff by name. Ask your loved one questions and be a consistent presence in their life. Sadly, nursing home residents who don’t often have loved ones visiting are most vulnerable to abuse and neglect.
If you believe your loved one may be being neglected or abused in a Baton Rouge nursing home, make a report to initiate an investigation by contacting:
- Louisiana Elderly Protective Services at 1-833-577-6532 or 225-342-0144 (for any incident of abuse, neglect, or exploitation involving an adult 60 or over)
- 911 (in any case of emergency)
You can also reach out to the Louisiana Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program to connect your loved one with an Ombudsman trained to protect the rights of residents of long-term care facilities.
In the Baton Rouge Region (including Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Lafourche, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana), contact:
Peggy Essick, Ombudsman Coordinator
Capital Area Agency on Aging
Post Office Box 66038
Baton Rouge, LA 70896
Office: (225) 928-8775 or (800) 833-9883
Work Cell: (225) 229-5431
Fax: (225) 922-2528
Who Can Be Liable for Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
In nursing home abuse cases, state law allows you to hold the responsible parties or party liable for their actions. Parties who directly abused or neglected, or were involved in allowing the mistreatment to take place, may be named as a defendant in an injury claim.
A defendant might be a nurse, staff member, nursing home administration, physician, pharmacist, third-party subcontractor, manufacturer of a medical device, another resident, or facilities that:
- Abused nursing home residents’ legal rights
- Followed negligent hiring practices
- Provided inadequate training for staff
- Understaffed facilities
- Violated the Nursing Home Reform Act
How Long Do You Have To File a Nursing Home Abuse Case in Louisiana?
Under Louisiana civil law, you are allowed one year to take legal action after injury. This time limit is referred to as a statute of limitations. In personal injury cases, the clock typically begins from the date the injured victim suffered harm, barring any exceptions.
Louisiana has one of the shortest statute of limitations in the country for civil cases. This already-short deadline can become even more limiting when it comes to abuse and neglect. In many nursing home abuse cases, it is difficult to pinpoint an exact date when the resident was injured. This is especially true when the mistreatment was ongoing or resulted in non-physical injuries.
It is strongly advised that you communicate with an attorney experienced in Louisiana nursing home abuse law as soon as you suspect abuse or neglect. You don’t need to wait until you have concrete evidence against a negligent party. An experienced attorney will be able to make you aware of the deadlines that apply to your case. We’ll advise what steps your family should take next to make sure a perpetrator of nursing home abuse or neglect is held liable under Louisiana law.
What To Do if Your Loved One Suffered Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
If you suspect your loved one’s injuries are the result of abuse or neglect, take action immediately. Again, do not wait until you have enough evidence. It’s the job of professionals from government agencies and personal injury law offices to investigate allegations of abuse in nursing homes.
Your first step should be to report the abuse to the proper authorities and schedule an appointment with a nursing home abuse attorney.
If you notice any troubling signs, if something feels “off,” or if your family member or loved one has hinted or stated directly that they were abused, do not ignore it. Many victims of elder abuse and nursing home negligence suffer serious injuries, worsening health conditions, chronic depression, and even wrongful death. Don’t allow your loved one to reach a place where their physical, emotional, and financial injuries are irreversible. A bad actor who takes advantage of the elderly in nursing homes must be held responsible for the harm they cause.
Contact the Baton Rouge Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Who Understand
The dedicated legal team at Bianca | Matkins understands how devastating it is to learn your loved one may have suffered nursing home abuse. Our lawyers also know that paying for a nursing facility is expensive, and we never want finances to stand in the way of justice. The lawyers at our firm always begin our cases with a free case evaluation, and we don’t take any payment until we win your case for you.
Contact us today to discuss how we can help advocate for your loved one.