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A number of people in Texas have had to make the difficult decision to place a loved one in a nursing facility, with the expectation of skillful and constant care and attention. Before making their decision they research, ask questions, and do onsite visits. But sometimes it is not enough.

Nursing homes have a duty to provide skilled nursing care in a clean, safe environment staffed by people committed to providing the highest level of care for their patients. But what happens when a facility fails in its duties? What do you do when someone who works at the facility violates the trust that you have placed in it by abusing or neglecting your loved one?

Kirkendall Dwyer LLP has helped countless Texas families in their fight to get justice for their loved ones injured while in the care of a nursing home. If you or someone you know experienced Texas nursing home abuse, do not hesitate to reach out to us so we may help you figure out the next steps.

What is Nursing Home Abuse?

A large number of senior citizens may need specialized, long-term care which is often not possible at home. In addition to nursing care for the elderly, some facilities also provide quality care to persons with disabilities of all ages who may have suffered catastrophic injuries or chronic diseases that require around-the-clock attention from skilled nurses, therapists, and support staff.

While you and your loved one are dependent on the skilled care and support of the medical staff, in some instances, your trust may be violated. Texas nursing homes have been reported to be understaffed, or have professionals who are under-trained and/or not properly screened. In one recent survey conducted by the Texas Health Care Association and LeadingAge Texas, one-third of respondents said that their Texas nursing home had to turn away new residents because they were at capacity.

Insufficient staffing makes residents more susceptible to neglect. This may happen when a nursing home employee who is improperly trained or lacks sufficient time to do their job is unable to adequately care for a resident, fails to administer the right medication, or neglects to reach out to a medical professional on time.

In more egregious examples, the employee may seek to take advantage of residents through physical, sexual, or financial abuse. To make matters worse, the nursing home may refuse to take necessary action to investigate allegations of abuse, and may even cover up abuse or fail to take preventive measures to avoid future instances of abuse.

Texas Nursing Homes by the Numbers

Texas has over 1,200 Medicaid and Medicare nursing homes. The Texas Department of Aging and Disabilities (DADS) regulates nursing facilities in the state. DADS also inspects and licenses these nursing homes, which must meet stringent health and safety standards to stay in good standing with the state of Texas. It also requires these clinical spaces to provide a basic standard of care for individuals in their charge.

According to a ProPublica report, of the approximately 1,200 nursing homes in the state of Texas, 387 had serious deficiencies. In the same report, 1,055 facilities had Covid-19 infection-related problems, with these sites facing a collective $42.8 million in penalties. From November 8, 2021 to March 28, 2022, a skilled nursing facility in the city of Austin had been subjected to the most fines in Texas, with 39 deficiencies and fines totaling $622,000.

Texas Nursing Homes: Statistics

According to a July 2020 article in the Texas Observer, corporate-owned nursing homes serve 83% of 76,000 Texas residents. When nursing homes are short-staffed, patient care diminishes in quality. Abuse and neglect, which the state defines as “failure to provide medical services necessary to prevent emotional or physical harm or pain,” accounts for the vast majority of deaths.

Statistically, 70% of Americans over 65 will require long-term nursing care. There are approximately 29 million people in Texas, with the median age being 35 years. These numbers mean that every day, more people in the state discover that a loved one requires long-term, around-the-clock clinical intervention in a nursing home.

We know you want to make the best decision for your loved one. We also understand the trauma of finding out that they have suffered abuse or neglect while in the care of a nursing home. Kirkendall Dwyer nursing home abuse attorneys have the skill and experience to ask the right questions and identify the proper protocols and procedures required to provide a reasonable standard of care. Identifying abuse or neglect may be complicated by the resident’s inability to clearly communicate or comprehend substandard care or abuse. We can help you identify and gather the evidence you may need to pursue action against a neglectful or abusive nursing home facility.

How to Recognize the Signs of Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes

When you enter your loved one’s nursing home, you must stay alert and attentive to pick up on any issues that may be critical indicators of possible abuse or neglect. Some of the questions you may need to bear in mind include:

  • Is your loved one clean?
  • Are there any marks or bruises?
  • Do they look well-hydrated and properly fed?
  • Are there signs of sexual abuse?
  • Do they engage with you?
  • Are they fretful when you prepare to leave?
  • Or tragically, has your loved one died under mysterious circumstances?

Remember, you have a right to view the nursing care facility’s most recent nursing home inspection report from the Texas Department of Aging and Disabilities. If you have concerns about your loved one’s proper care or observe questionable staff procedures, you should ask for the report immediately. It is a red flag if you sense the nursing home is deliberately slow to respond or does not respond at all to the request. Management and staff should always be responsive or show a sense of urgency to a family member or friend’s questions about a patient’s care.

Our Texas nursing home abuse lawyers understand the effort and preparation that goes into making the crucial decision to entrust your family member or friend to a nursing home. We appreciate the pain you feel at the facility’s violence of your trust, especially when their actions or inactions may have resulted in your loved one’s injury or death.

How Our Texas Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Can Help

We are a group of compassionate Texas nursing home abuse lawyers with a tough mindset focused on fighting for justice on behalf of our clients, including against influential individuals or big companies. We pride ourselves on being attentive and responsive to our clients’ needs. We are here to answer any questions you may have about a nursing home’s treatment of your family members, and the legal recourse you may take in the event of nursing home abuse.

Our offices are in Dallas, El Paso, and Houston. Schedule a free legal consultation to learn more about how we can help.