When we choose a nursing home for a family member, we’re looking for a place where our loved one can feel safe and get the care they need. Nursing home residents are often there because they need skilled nursing care – and a chance to live with the knowledge that they have qualified help for their medical needs and assistance with the tasks of daily living. When neglect or abuse takes the place of proper care, though, the resident’s rights and dignity are damaged as deeply as their physical and mental health.
At Warren & Kallianos, we bring our decades of personal injury knowledge and experience to the forefront when we fight for the rights of nursing home residents who have suffered mistreatment in Charlotte and elsewhere in North Carolina. We believe that every nursing home resident deserves to spend their days free of neglect, receiving the care they need – and we’re willing to fight for that belief.
With a combined legal practice that spans more than 52 years, our nursing home neglect lawyers have fought for – and won – millions of dollars in compensation for victims and their families. As respected advocates, our attorneys have earned a place in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Top 100 Trial Lawyers list. We have also been recognized among the Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers.
If you suspect that your loved one is being mistreated in a nursing home, schedule a free consultation with our attorneys now to find out what options you have. There is no excuse for this type of behavior and our nursing home lawyers will not stand for it.
How Warren & Kallianos Can Fight to Protect Your Loved One
Holding a long-term care facility and its staff responsible for neglect or abuse of residents requires a skilled lawyer who understands the nursing home industry, the state regulatory system, and personal injury law. Attorneys Jeff Warren and Chris Kallianos have the knowledge and the resources to take on neglectful caregivers and the companies that allow neglect and abuse to happen.
Some of the steps we take to build your case include:
- Obtaining thorough documentation. We collect photos and other evidence you have of injuries, unsanitary conditions, mistreatment and lack of care. We will meet with you and other family members to gather information of all the dates and times of every incident you remember, along with a description of what happened. We also obtain the complete resident file from the nursing home, which requires the nursing home to document the care provided, including among other things, medication administration, daily care activities and any incidents of harm. If you have noticed financial irregularities, we can also go through all of the financial records to make sure we have a thorough picture of what’s been billed versus the care provided.
- Talking to the nursing home supervisors. If you haven’t already, we will make sure the nursing home is aware of the issues. Every problem you detect should be reported and documented every time you visit, especially if you witness recurring problems. We can start a log of the incidents you have reported, whom you spoke to, and the date and time.
- Working with the North Carolina Division of Health Service Regulation. We can assist you in reporting the neglect or abuse to the North Carolina Division of Health Service Regulation to ensure an official complaint is filed.We can alsoact as a liaison between you and the investigative unit as the state agency looks into the allegations. Note:Acomplaint may be initiated with the Division of Health Service Regulation by calling 1-800-624-3004 or 919-855-4500.
- Pursuing full and fair compensation for your loved one. Our nursing home neglect lawyers will aggressively pursue compensation for your family member’s suffering. Depending on your situation, we may demand justice through negotiations or by taking your case to court.
When you contact Warren & Kallianos and begin taking the steps necessary to protect your loved one, you may also save other vulnerable nursing home residents from experiencing the same type of treatment.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Although long-term care facilities are highly regulated, many are understaffed and poorly managed. Nurses and other staff members may be stretched too thin, and even the most caring and attentive staff members may not be the first to spot signs that a resident is being harmed. Inadequate management and unqualified, neglectful or abusive staff members may be the cause of the problem.
Family members and friends can help by staying alert to potential signs of problems, including:
- Mysterious or unexplained injuries, such as bruises, cuts, scrapes, or even broken bones. Injuries that have an explanation but that aren’t being treated adequately – like a cut that hasn’t been bandaged or dental problems that haven’t been attended to – could be a sign of neglect.
- Poor hygiene, soiled bedding or dressings, dehydration, malnutrition, or medications that don’t arrive on schedule. All of these are examples of signs that the resident is not getting the basic care he or she needs. Plan to visit during mealtimes or when medications are dispensed to be sure that these items are getting to your loved one properly. Similarly, a messy or smelly facility is one that may be neglecting patients in addition to neglecting regular housekeeping tasks.
- Inappropriate use of drugs, restraints, or confinement. Residents should not be drugged “to keep them quiet” or restrained “for their own good,” except in extremely limited situations where their physical health would be immediately at risk. Ask questions of multiple staff members, including supervisors, if you notice sedatives or restraints being used on residents.
- Intimidation, yelling, threats, insults, or demeaning comments. Do staff members speak to residents respectfully? How do they behave when they think the resident is out of earshot? Also, notice what isn’t being said or done – isolating a resident, standing over them to be physically intimidating, or giving them “the silent treatment” can be as damaging as verbal abuse.
- Hesitation, fear, withdrawal, or unwillingness to talk. Abuse is scary, and it is natural for a person who is being abused to act frightened, to withdraw, or to lash out. If you notice sudden personality or mood changes in your loved one – especially when certain staff members are in or near the room – speak up.
Common Injuries Resulting from Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse
In some cases, you may not suspect neglect or abuse until an injury surfaces. Although not all nursing home injuries are caused by negligent care, if an injury does occur, be sure to ask questions about how it happened and what is being done to ensure it does not happen again.
Examples of injuries nursing home residents may sustain include:
- Falls. Elderly and infirm people, especially those who need skilled care, are at a high risk for falls. As a result, nursing home staff should be trained to guard against and prevent falls whenever possible. If someone falls and is injured, ask the nursing supervisor what happened and request an incident report.
- Pressure sores. Pressure sores or “bed sores” occur when a person sits or lies in one position for too long without moving. They can be prevented by regularly shifting or respositioning the person so their weight does not stay too long on any one part of the body. This type of regular care should be documented in the resident’s chart. Watch for discoloration or damaged skin on the back, hips, and joints. An untreated bed sore can cause a life-threatening infection.
- Medication errors. A nursing home resident might not get medications on time, get the wrong medication or dose, or receive medication they do not need. Monitor your loved one’s medical records and check in with staff to see that medications are being given properly.
- Malnutrition and dehydration. A lack of adequate food or water can cause rapid weight loss, organ damage or failure, or severe infections. A person who is losing weight, who seems listless, or who does not have food and water available when you visit may be suffering from neglect.
When Protecting Your Loved One is Everything, the Lawyer You Choose Makes the Difference
Attorneys Jeff Warren and Chris Kallianos offer qualified legal representation to the greater Charlotte and North Carolina communities with our work in personal injury law, including cases of nursing home neglect and abuse. * Our results in past cases demonstrate our commitment:
- $1,225,000 settlement for a client whose infection from an abscessed tooth spread to her brain when the tooth went untreated by the nursing home staff.
- $540,000 settlement for a client whose father died from malnutrition and untreated bed sores while in nursing home care.
- $400,000 settlement for a client who fell and suffered multiple hip fractures due to the home health care staff’s lack of supervision.
- $400,000 settlement for a client who fell when an improperly installed shower chair he was using collapsed, causing a pulmonary contusion.
We believe that all people should be treated with dignity and respect. If you suspect that someone you love is being harmed in nursing home care, contact us today by phone or by filling out our online form. Your initial consultation with our office is free and confidential.