There may come a time in your parent or grandparent’s lives when they want to remain in their homes, yet need a bit of help. Once their physical or cognitive abilities begin to decline, they may benefit from someone else doing the cooking, cleaning, running errands, and managing their finances. When this time comes, at-home care may be best. Your loved one can have a part- or full-time caregiver to enable them to stay in their own home. Unfortunately, your loved one’s reduced physical and cognitive capabilities can leave them vulnerable to home care abuse. If you discover that your parent or grandparent’s caregiver is neglecting or abusing them, contact a Wisconsin nursing home abuse lawyer from Studinski Law, LLC right away. We are here to help you get our loved one the care they need and pursue compensation from the offender.
With offices in Plover and Marshfield, we serve elderly clients throughout Wisconsin, including Wisconsin Rapids, Stevens Point, and Waupaca. Call us at (715) 343-2850 to schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your situation.
Home Care Can Lead to Elder Abuse and Neglect
At-home caregivers can enable your loved one to stay in their home, where they are most comfortable and happy. They give your loved one a sense of independence and privacy they cannot retain at an assisted living facility or nursing home. They can also keep your loved one from feeling lonely and discarded. However, with caregivers comes a risk. There is an asymmetrical power dynamic between an elderly person in need of help and a younger, able-bodied individual.
Caregivers who are with your parent or grandparent everyday can become physically, emotionally, sexually, and financially abusive. They may fail to take proper care of your loved one, leading to poor hygiene, which can evolve into serious medical conditions like bedsores and urinary tract infections. Caregivers can yell at, threaten, harass, berate, hit, or restrain your loved one, who may have little power to defend themselves or stop it.
Due to the caregiver’s position of power and your loved one’s physical and mental restrictions, it can also be difficult for your parent or grandparent to seek help or let someone know what is going on. These difficulties coupled with a caregiver’s threats mean your loved one could suffer from long-term abuse without your knowledge.
Signs of Elder Abuse or Neglect
When you and your loved one welcome a caregiver into your lives, you need to be aware of the signs of neglect and abuse. Your knowledge and vigilance is your loved one’s strongest protection.
Common signs of elder neglect include:
- Weight loss
- Complaints of thirst or other signs of dehydration
- Dirty living conditions, including a lack of basic cleaning around the home and messy kitchen
- Unsanitary conditions like soiled bedding and clothes
- Poor hygiene such as if your loved one is not being bathed on a regular basis or given clean clothing
- Untreated medical conditions such as bed sores or cuts
- Improper clothing for the clothing or environment
Common signs of abuse include:
- Serious injuries such as broken bones
- Unexplained injuries like bruises, black eyes, welts
- Signs of restraint, such as marks on the wrist
- Torn or bloody clothing
- Changes in your loved one’s personality, such as withdrawal, nervousness, depression, or mood swings
- Behavior signs, such as avoiding eye contact or cringing at physical touch
- An increase in self-soothing behaviors, such as mumbling to themselves or rocking
- Common complaints about headaches or stomach aches
Your Loved One’s Rights Following Home Care Abuse
If your loved one has been abused or neglected, they may have the right to pursue compensation from the caregiver or that individual’s employer. Evidence of abuse and neglect demonstrates that a caregiver did not uphold their legal duty to your loved one. This negligence or intentional wrongdoing creates a civil liability. Your loved one can pursue a personal injury claim and seek compensation for their medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and more from the abusive caregiver.
Specific acts of elder abuse and neglect can also amount to crimes in Wisconsin. If there is evidence that the caregiver’s actions were unlawful, then this needs to be brought to the police’s attention. If the caregiver is charged and convicted of a crime, then this is can be additional evidence of their civil liability toward your loved one.
Liability for Compensation Following Elder Abuse or Neglect
If your loved one’s caregiver was an independent worker, then your parent or grandparent will seek to hold them solely responsible. However, when the caregiver was an employee of a business that hires and provides at-home care workers, your loved one may also be able to hold this company liable. As a business providing a personal service, it is responsible for hiring properly trained and ethical care workers. If the business hired or retained someone who showed signs of being unprincipled, neglectful, or abusive, then it may be liable for compensating your loved one.
Contact Our Wisconsin Home Care Abuse Attorney for Help
After learning that your loved one has been abused or neglected by an at-home caregiver, your first priority is ensuring they are better cared for and safe. Your next priority should be to hold the care provider responsible for their actions. To better understand your loved one’s rights after being abused or neglected by a caregiver, call us at Studinski Law, LLC at (715) 343-2850. We are here to help protect your loved one from any further harm and pursue the compensation they deserve.