Has Your Loved One Been Harmed in Their MN Nursing Home? Fight Back

It is not easy to make the decision to put your aging loved one in a long-term care facility. You do it because you want the best possible care for them and you do not believe that you can offer that. Instead, you put your trust in trained medical professionals who have made it their duty.

So if you believe that your loved one is being mistreated in some way at their facility, it can feel like a deep betrayal. You were promised excellent care, but instead find yourself having to deal with the exact opposite.

At Olson, Poole & Envall, our attorneys hear stories like this all too often involving facilities in and around Duluth. Nursing home residents who are abused by their caretakers. People living in assisted living facilities who end up neglected.

Our state has a complaint process designed to handle these kinds of issues, but often it is not enough to help families get justice on its own. Every year, The Minnesota Office of Health Facility Complaints receives thousands of elder abuse complaints, and only a small percentage are actually investigated by the Department of Health.

In recent years, a coalition of senior advocates has pushed for more protections for those living in these types of facilities. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has led to a shift in priorities at a time when vulnerable seniors need protection more than ever.

If your loved one has suffered abuse, neglect, or wrongful death in a Minnesota long-term care facility, you need to understand what it takes to fight back and push for changes and accountability. Olson, Poole & Envall can help. 

Duluth Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect: Signs to Watch For

One of the saddest parts of elder abuse and neglect cases is that many seniors simply will not report it on their own. There are many reasons for this. They might feel embarrassed. Or like no one cares enough to help. In some cases, their abusers may intimidate them into keeping quiet. Additionally, there are elderly victims who might not even realize they are being abused or neglected due to their condition.

To keep your loved one safe, it is vital that you not only pay close attention to their physical and mental well-being, 

Signs to look for include but are not limited to:

  • Broken bones or fractures
  • Bruising
  • Cuts, open wounds, or bleeding
  • Excessive sadness or depression
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Infections
  • Lack of hygiene
  • Malnutrition or dehydration
  • Physical pain or discomfort
  • Pressure sores
  • Refusing to eat
  • Not talking – especially when around caretakers
  • Skin irritation
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Uninterested in activities or socializing

If you notice your loved one suffering from one or more of these issues, it does not necessarily mean that they are being abused or neglected. It is, however, a big red flag that you should pay attention to and follow up on. Document what you notice, report it to the appropriate offices and officials, and consult an experienced Duluth nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer as soon as possible.

Minnesota Nursing Home Abuse Cases in the Age of Coronavirus

If you have been following the news at all, you have likely read or heard a number of stories about COVID-19 running rampant through many nursing homes and assisted living facilities. There are individual homes with dozens of cases. Instances of quarantines and lockdowns. Even reports of some facilities stacking bodies in unused rooms and lying about how bad the problem really is.

While it is not entirely surprising that long-term care facilities would be some of the places hardest hit, this does not mean that the people running them should be able to get away with not providing proper care. The key in these types of cases is going to be showing that the owners and operators of the facility engaged in outrageous conduct that resulted in your loved one being harmed.

What kinds of “outrageous conduct”?

Typically, when proper procedures are being ignored in a systemic way, the issue is that the people in charge have been offering only bare-bones services in an effort to keep as much money as possible for themselves. There have even been instances of owners and operators funneling money out of facilities using illegal schemes.

Beyond the moral bankruptcy of stealing from a senior care facility, taking this money tends to result in a number of problems regarding how the facility operates, such as: 

Being understaffed. When there are too few staff members, or they are not working an appropriate number of hours, it is impossible to adequately care for residents.

High staff turnover ratio. Poorly-run facilities often cycle through staff members regularly, resulting in a lack of experience and a constant need for on-the-job training.

No pandemic response plan. While none of us could have been completely prepared for COVID-19, long-term care facilities should have some kind of general pandemic response plan ready to implement for when the worst occurs. Facilities with no plan should be held accountable.

Neglect of safety protocols. There are a number of safety protocols that all long-term care facilities should have been engaging in fairly early in the pandemic. These include things such as sanitizing, quarantining, providing treatment within a reasonable timeframe, properly screening people before entry, preventing clearly infected employees and visitors from entering, utilizing N95 masks, and protecting the uninfected by grouping infected patients together, and so on.

Your Aging Loved One Deserves Justice — Let Olson, Poole & Envall Help You Get It

Bottom line? This is about greed. While the specific issues will differ from case to case, your end goal should be to focus your arguments on showing how those at the top caused the problems by skimping on care to line their own pockets. Hard-working staff members are victims, too.

One important note: with coronavirus cases in particular, there are laws being debated around the country that may limit the liability of long-term care facilities. What does this mean? That it is even more vital for you to seek out the help of a knowledgeable Minnesota injury lawyer. Someone with experience handling these types of cases, and who will make a point of keeping up-to-date about the latest changes to any laws, rules, or regulations. 

At Olson, Poole & Envall, our skilled attorneys are ready and willing to help you receive fair and just compensation. Schedule your free consultation immediately by calling 218-461-0247 or 218-727-5384, emailing Andrew@NorthlandLawyers.com, or filling out our easy online form. As soon as you get in touch, we can start fighting for you.