Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers in Hamilton & All of Ontario
Elder abuse, nursing home abuse and nursing home accidents are becoming common terms as the Canadian population ages and the number of residents entering nursing homes increases. While many nursing homes do provide excellent care, far too many do not. Many Nursing Home and Long-Term Care patients reportedly suffer from nursing home abuse, physical and emotional abuse, financial exploitation and serious neglect.
An experienced Hamilton nursing home negligence lawyers from our firm will be able to help you and your family if your loved one is the victim of nursing home negligence, has been injured in a nursing home or is being unreasonably neglected. Everything starts with the investigation. Our firm will know how to handle your case no matter how your elderly relative was hurt or taken advantage of.
Elder Abuse and Nursing Home Negligence in Hamilton and throughout Ontario
Statistics Canada (2010) tells us that seniors are the fastest growing age group in Canada. Elder abuse is a general term used to describe damaging acts toward vulnerable and elderly citizens and is fast becoming a common term as much of our population ages and enters residential facilities. Elder abuse and nursing home negligence can take place in many different ways – including physical, psychological or emotional abuse, neglect, sexual assault, and financial exploitation.
The National Seniors Council tells us that up to 10% of elder adults in Canada experience some type of abuse. The problem that we face, however is that incidents of elder abuse is difficult to gauge. This can be due to many factors such as under-reporting, the lack of support and loneliness of vulnerable seniors, confusion about what elder abuse really is, and a general lack of awareness, among other factors.
What are a few different types of elder abuse or nursing home negligence?
Elder abuse in Ontario can take many forms – most of which include financial exploitation, intentional infliction of abuse and neglect. Intentional forms of abuse includes emotional abuse, physical, psychological or sexual abuse and assault. The abuse can also take the place of unreasonable confinement, intimidation and punishment.
Nursing Home Neglect is also considered a form of abuse which can be considered, for example, the failure (whether intentional or not) to provide an elderly person with the care and services necessary to ensure he/she is free from pain and harm. Neglect can result in terrible consequences, ranging from:
- bed injuries
- bed sores
- pressure sores
- medication errors
- dehydration and
- residents injuring other residents.
Identifying nursing home abuse can be a challenging process, especially when a resident is not able to unable to speak for themselves and there are no other witnesses to the abuse.
Identifying Nursing Home Abuse in Ontario
It is not always easy to pinpoint if and how nursing home abuse or neglect has occurred, but there are telltale signs and symptoms of abuse such as sudden behavioral changes and/or unexplained injuries in elderly relatives. Physical abuse and neglect indicators can be sudden unexplained weight loss, emotional upset, agitation, being your loved one is seemingly withdrawn and non-communicative, confused, disoriented, defensive and the sudden hesitation to talk openly. Most elder abuse occurs in nursing homes, but there are many cases involving caregiver abuse that takes place where the senior lives. This type of emotional pain can be caused through intimidation and threats, humiliation, ridicule, ignoring an elderly person’s needs, as well as isolating and/or terrorizing the elderly person.
What are some other warning signs of Nursing Home Negligence and Abuse?
Other warning signs that your loved one is being abused could be things such as:
- Unexplained bruises,
- Unexplained pressure marks, welts,
- Lacerations or cuts
- Bone fractures or broken bones
- Sprains or dislocations
- Broken bones
- Bruised elbows on both sides
- Black eyes
- Broken glasses
- Signs of being restrained, such as rope marks on wrists
- A caregiver’s refusal to allow you to see the elder alone
- Bite marks
- A sudden change in behavior
What are some Signs and Symptoms of Nursing Home Neglect?
Nursing home neglect often occurs with the neglect of a patient’s basic needs, medical neglect, emotional or social neglect, and hygienic neglect. If you think your loved one is being neglected – here are some of the symptoms that you should watch out for:
- The interaction between your loved one and nursing home staff becomes suddenly odd
- Medication overdose
- Under-utilization of prescribed drugs
- Extreme hunger
- Untreated health problems such as bed sores
- Hazardous or unsafe living conditions
- Unsanitary and unclean living conditions (soiled bedding or fecal or urine smell)
- Behavior from the elder that mimics dementia, such as rocking, sucking, or mumbling to oneself
- Unsuitable clothing for the weather
- Being dirty or unbathed
- Unusual weight loss
- Desertion of the elder at a hospital, nursing facility, or other similar institution
- Desertion of an elder in public
- An elder’s report of being mistreated or abandoned
Is your Elderly Loved one Being Financially Exploited?
Please keep in mind that that no one sign of financial exploitation should not mean this is happening. There is no “garden variety” type of warning signs that will shockingly pop-up. You can nonetheless consider the following signs to get a better picture of what may be happening and whether or not your loved one is suffering from financial abuse and exploitation:
- Cash withdrawals from your loved one’s bank account which seem larger than normal
- Larger sum withdrawals by your elderly loved one when accompanied by another person
more than usual withdrawals from the elder’s bank account
- Checks written to unusual recipients
- Additional names being added to your loved one’s bank account
- Money missing from your loved one’s home
- Your loved one is suddenly cashing in rrsp’s or investments in spite of tax penalties
- There are abrupt changes to a will or power of attorney
- Sudden changes in beneficiaries on insurance policies
- Sudden changes into your loved one’s financial situation
- Nursing home care that is lacking, despite sufficient funds to cover the care
- Unpaid bills, despite money available
- You are questioning forged signatures
- Unnecessary services, goods, or subscriptions
- Financial activity that is inconsistent with the elder’s abilities
- You notice a sudden close relationship with a much younger person
- You notice extreme interest in and participation in your loved one’s financial matters on the part of a caregiver
- Your loved one’s sudden reluctance to discuss money
- You notice increasing social withdrawal
- There are sign of sexual abuse
- You notice a decline in your loved one’s standard of living
- The caregiver restricts the elder’s contact with the outside world
The Best Solution to Nursing Home Negligence and Abuse?
We always recommend to try your best to film the incident. Although this may be tremendously difficult to watch, there is no doubt that catching the abuse on video is the absolute surefire way to entitle your loved one and his or her family to compensation. There are many different cameras that you can get to set up in your loved one’s home or nursing home room – such as the Nest Indoor security camera found here or another comparable small wireless camera which can be purchased inexpensively.
Connect with our Hamilton Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Today
If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected please contact one of our Hamilton lawyers. We understand that when you put a loved one in a nursing home you trust that he or she will be cared for. If you notice signs of sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, overall neglect or financial exploitation please contact one our Hamilton Lawyers by completing a contact form of by calling 905-333-8888. We would be happy to provide your family with a free no obligation consultation.