Nursing Home Negligence, Abuse, and Neglect in Washington State

Elderly Patients like this one can be abused or Neglected while residing in Nursing Home.

The decision to place an elderly or disabled loved one in a nursing home is never an easy one. Trusting that a dependent adult is better off in a facility where day-to-day needs are met and he or she will enjoy a good quality of life can make the decision easier.

When evidence of negligence, abuse, or neglect undermine this assumption, it is very upsetting for everyone involved.

The sad fact is that many nursing home residents face physical and mental abuse at the hands of long-term care facility staff. Over half of nursing home staff in one study admitted to mistreating patients within the past year. In another study, 44 percent of residents said they had been abused, while 95 percent said that they had been neglected or witnessed neglect.

The problem may be even more widespread than these numbers indicate, because many cases of negligence are missed or unreported.

If you suspect that your loved one has been harmed while living in a Washington nursing home, Tinker Law Firm, PLLC can help. Our lawyers work to help victims and their families achieve justice through the pursuit of legal actions against those who mistreat vulnerable nursing home residents.

We’ll let you know how victims of nursing home negligence can protect their rights under Washington law. Call us today or fill out our online contact form for a free claim evaluation.

What is considered nursing home abuse, neglect, or negligence?

Data from the Administration on Aging show that the leading forms of abuse in nursing homes include:

  • Physical abuse (29 percent). This type of abuse commonly includes pushing, grabbing, shoving, or inappropriately restraining a nursing home resident.
  • Psychological abuse (21 percent). Psychological or emotional elder abuse involves causing emotional distress to a resident, whether through humiliation, intimidation, mocking, threatening, or isolating a resident from peers and activities.
  • Gross neglect (14 percent). Neglect occurs when nursing home staffers do not meet the needs of a resident. This can include insufficient medical care and treatment or inadequate physical and emotional attention.
  • Sexual abuse (7 percent). Sexual abuse includes not just rape, but any form of nonconsensual sexual contact. Residents may also be forced into sexual contact with another person or coerced into nudity or another form of sexual behavior. Sexual abuse often goes unreported.
  • Financial exploitation (7 percent). Financial abuse can take many forms. It could involve stealing money, tricking a resident into giving out bank account or credit card numbers, forging signatures, identity theft, or running an embezzlement scam. It could also involve abuse of legal guardianship, power of attorney, or conservatorship.

In some situations, nursing home care staff make negligent errors, often because of overstaffing, undertraining, or other systemic problems.  This may include medication errors, failure to identify and report changes of patient condition, and failure to adequately response to emergency situations.

What should I do if I believe my loved one was abused in a nursing home?

You suspect nursing home abuse, neglect, or negligence, and now you want to do something about it. In addition to reporting your suspicions to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (access the department’s website here or call 1-866-363-4276), you may also be considering legal action against an individual care provider or the facility.

Another point to keep in mind is that you or a loved one may have unknowingly signed paperwork that may prevent you from filing a lawsuit against the nursing home. There is a mountain of papers to be signed when a resident is admitted to a nursing home. Increasingly, nursing homes are adding a provision that requires disputes to be settled in arbitration rather than in a courtroom. An attorney can help you understand what effect this may have on your potential case.

An experienced attorney can help you seek justice for an abused nursing home resident whether it is through arbitration, a lawsuit or out-of-court negotiations.

Find out how our lawyers can help with your nursing home claim.

Tinker Law Firm, PLLC’s experienced lawyers have a proven record of getting results for our clients. We’re known, respected, and trusted for our handling of serious injury cases. One of our attorneys is also a nurse who worked in nursing homes before becoming a lawyer.

Call Tinker Law Firm, PLLC today or fill out our online contact form for a free claim evaluation.