Nursing homes have a duty to provide quality and safe care for residents. In the event that a nursing home breaches that responsibility and a resident gets hurt or dies, you have the right to seek compensation for what happened.
The legal team at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers works with families in the Fort Wayne area to pursue justice for family members who have been injured because of the care they received in a nursing home.
Read on to learn more about what to do if you suspect nursing home neglect or abuse, how to report it, and how to recover damages with the help of our nursing home abuse lawyers.
What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse in Fort Wayne, Indiana
If there is suspected abuse against your elderly loved one in a nursing home, it is important that you take action to help protect them. First, familiarize yourself with common signs of nursing home neglect and abuse so you can identify it when you see it. Then, report the nursing home to the proper authorities and hire a Fort Wayne nursing home neglect lawyer.
Common Signs of Abuse and Negligence in Nursing Facilities in Fort Wayne
There are many forms of nursing home abuse and negligence. It can sometimes be difficult to know exactly what’s going on without seeing it or your loved one telling you. However, there are some common signs that you can look for:
- Fractured or broken bones
- Unexplained bruises or injuries
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Financial exploitation and missing money or personal items
- Poor personal hygiene
- Changes in personality or behavior
Reporting Nursing Home Abuse in Fort Wayne, IN
The first step in reporting nursing home abuse in Fort Wayne, Indiana, is to document what it is that you are seeing.
For instance, if you notice that there are urine stains on your loved one’s sheets, photograph it and take notes about the date and time, as well as the name of the nursing home staff member who was in charge of your family member.
Then, bring this information up with the nursing home administrator. Perhaps there’s an explanation for a bruise.
However, if you believe that it is certainly abuse or neglect, or the administrator doesn’t give you a satisfactory answer, it is time to escalate your concerns and file a report with the agencies responsible for managing cases of nursing home abuse in Fort Wayne.
You can submit a complaint about a nursing home to the Indiana Department of Health using their online complaint form or by calling 1-800-246-8909 . The hotline is available during state business hours. All reports are kept confidential.
Indiana has both state and local ombudsmen for long-term care facilities. To file a report with the long-term care ombudsman program, call 1-800-622-4484 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . There is also an online reporting tool available on the agency’s website.
You can also report any abuse, neglect, or exploitation of nursing home residents to Adult Protective Services . You can call 800-992-6978 to file your report.
If a nursing home resident is in immediate danger, you can always call the Fort Wayne Police Department by dialing 9-1-1. Law enforcement can remove them and ensure that they get to safety. The resulting police report and investigation can also be used to support your legal case.
When to Hire a Fort Wayne Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Hiring nursing home abuse lawyers can seem overwhelming when you are also trying to manage the immediate needs of your loved one who has been hurt.
However, it is very important that you hire an attorney as soon as possible because it gives them the most amount of time to build a strong case and a chance to get the evidence that they need while limiting the likelihood of the evidence being destroyed.
For certain types of cases, such as sexual abuse cases, your lawyer may recommend calling law enforcement to help with your case immediately to gather DNA samples that can be used as evidence. This type of evidence simply won’t be available after a very limited time frame.
Reaching out to our nursing home abuse lawyers early can help to maximize the availability of this type of evidence.
Who Is Legally Liable for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Fort Wayne, IN?
Many different parties could be held legally liable for nursing home abuse or neglect, depending on the case. A negligent nursing home could be sued for not maintaining adequate staff members, failing to meet safety standards, or having unsanitary conditions.
Nursing home staff members could face legal action for abusing residents, including yelling at them, stealing, or physically hurting them.
Many nursing home abuse cases are considered medical malpractice claims. This happens when a doctor or pharmacist doesn’t provide residents with the medical care they need or fails to give them the right prescription. In these cases, the medical team can also be held liable.
While less common, you might also have the legal right to seek damages from other residents who may have injured your loved one. Usually, this occurs when another nursing home resident shoves or hits someone, but it can also be applied to emotional abuse. In these cases, the nursing home and the nursing home patients involved can be held responsible.
How Long Do I Have to File a Nursing Home Abuse Claim in Fort Wayne?
The statute of limitations for nursing home abuse cases in Fort Wayne, Indiana, is two years from the date of the injury or loss . This includes personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death claims.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit in Fort Wayne?
The amount and types of compensation that are available will depend on your specific case. The more serious the injury, the more compensation that your loved one is likely to receive. Wrongful death lawsuits could see higher amounts of compensation awarded because of the loss of life.
Some common types of damages that an Indiana nursing home abuse attorney from our team can help you recover include:
- Medical expenses
- Therapy costs
- Future expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damage
- Funeral costs
How to Prove Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect in Fort Wayne
One of the reasons why family members don’t take action against nursing home abuse sooner is that they are not sure if they have a case. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can prove nursing home abuse that can help you decide to take action.
- Photographs – Photographic evidence is an effective way to prove abuse. Take pictures of any evidence that you find, including the nursing home resident’s injuries, inappropriate conditions, and outright abuse. When you see the evidence, it makes it easier to take that information to the authorities for a second opinion.
- Records and Documentation – If you can obtain records and documentation about their care, it can provide evidence of possible abuse. Medical records, in particular, make effective evidence. However, try to get medical records from an outside source, like a doctor who is not associated with the nursing home.
- Witness Statements – Another option is to collect statements from nursing home staff members or other residents at the nursing home. Their input can show you the abuse that is difficult to see. More importantly, your lawyer can use it in a case.
Fort Wayne Nursing Home Abuse Statistics and Facts
There are 31 nursing homes located in Fort Wayne, Indiana evaluated by the U.S. News & World Report . Only one of these medical facilities received a five out of five star rating.
Of the 46 nursing homes that are certified for Medicare in Fort Wayne, five received a one out of five star rating for health inspections . 17 out of 46 nursing homes had a one out of five star rating for staffing levels, indicating that more than a third of Fort Wayne-area nursing homes operate at staffing levels much below average.
At one nursing home in Fort Wayne, 67.2% of nursing staff stopped working at the nursing home within a year . This is well over the state average in Indiana of 54.7%.
Nursing homes in Indiana have a history of falsifying records, withholding information, or making misleading comments about injuries . In a facility in Fort Wayne, an 88-year-old nursing home resident died after another resident pushed her to the ground while in an unsupervised dining room in an Alzheimer’s unit.
Which Standards Do Nursing Homes Have to Meet in Fort Wayne?
Fort Wayne area nursing homes are subjected to hundreds of standards from both state and federal regulations that impact every aspect of their operation, including how food is prepared and what documents need to be signed during the admissions process.
One of the major pieces of legislation that impacts nursing homes in Fort Wayne comes from the Nursing Home Reform Act that passed under the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 .
These standards include the Residents’ Bill of Rights, which provides nursing home patients’ rights for:
- Freedom from physical restraints
- Freedom from abuse and neglect
- Being treated with dignity
The Nursing Home Reform Act also mandated that nursing homes be inspected at least once every 15 months.
Which Agencies Regulate Fort Wayne Nursing Homes?
There are a number of state and federal agencies that inspect and/or regulate nursing homes in Fort Wayne, including:
- Indiana Department of Health 
- Adult Protective Services 
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services 
How Often Are Fort Wayne Area Nursing Homes Inspected?
The Department of Health’s Long Term Care Division inspects Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing homes at least every nine to 15 months . Licensed facilities that are not Medicare and Medicaid certified are inspected annually .
Contact a Fort Wayne Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today!
When your family member has been injured while under the care of a nursing home, you have legal rights to seek fair compensation for your loved one’s injuries. We have experience with securing compensation through personal injury claims for families of nursing home abuse victims.
Contact a nursing home abuse attorney from Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers for a free consultation by filling out our contact form or calling our law firm toll-free at (888) 424-5757. A member of our legal team is available 24/7 to answer your call.
Resources:  Indiana Department of Health,  Indiana Ombudsman Program,  APS,  Indiana Office of Court Services,  U.S. News & World Report,  CMS,  ProPublica,  Indy Star,  AARP,  Indiana Department of Health,  APS,  CMS,  Indiana Department of Health,  National Ombudsman Resource Center