The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is difficult, but often necessary so that they can receive the level of care and support they need. When you entrust a family member to a nursing home or long-term care facility, you have the right to expect that they will be treated with dignity and respect.

In fact, the right to proper treatment for nursing home residents is so important that it is written into Alaska law. Title 7 of the Alaska Administrative Code, Section 12.890 explicitly states that nursing home residents have the right to:

  • Associate freely and privately with people of their choice;
  • Have reasonable access to a telephone to make private calls;
  • Send and receive unopened correspondence;
  • Be informed of their facility’s grievance procedure;
  • Be free of unnecessary chemical or physical restraints;
  • Be treated with recognition of their dignity and individuality;
  • Have their medical and treatment records kept confidential;
  • Be free from unnecessary or excessive medications;
  • Have private visits with a spouse;
  • Be informed of the facility’s services and costs and of their medical condition in a language they can understand;
  • Refuse to participate in experimental research and certain treatments;
  • Participate in their care plan;
  • Be informed of the experience and training of their care providers and of their treatment options; and
  • Be informed of these rights.

Unfortunately, age and health issues make nursing home patients among the most vulnerable Alaska residents, and that vulnerability sometimes makes them targets of abuse. If you or a loved one has suffered mistreatment in a nursing home, you have legal rights. Attorney Eric Derleth can help you enforce them.

Eric is an Alaska native and attorney with more than 25 years of experience standing up for injury victims in Alaska’s courts, including victims of nursing home abuse. He is known as “the Trial Guy” because of his reputation for meticulous trial preparation and effective courtroom advocacy.

Recognizing Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Nursing home neglect and abuse are not always obvious, because loved ones cannot be with the resident at all times and often do not witness abusive behavior. However, here are some signs that might indicate your loved one is being neglected or abused, whether physically, emotionally, or even sexually:

  • Unexplained broken bones, bruises, sprains, or dislocations
  • Evidence of restraint, such as marks on the resident’s wrists
  • You are prevented from seeing or being alone with the resident
  • The resident appears fearful when certain caretakers approach
  • The resident is not taking or receiving their medication as ordered
  • Broken eyeglasses or broken or lost personal possessions
  • Financial irregularities, like money missing from the resident’s accounts
  • The resident has poor hygiene or an unclean room
  • The resident has a significant or unexplained weight loss
  • Unusual behavior that may seem dementia-like, such as the resident mumbling to themselves, sucking their thumb, or repetitively rocking back and forth
  • Unexplained sexually transmitted infections
  • Bruising or bleeding near the breasts or genitals

The presence of these signs does not always mean that a nursing home resident is being abused or neglected, but they may point to abuse, especially if there are several signs or you have other concerns. It is a good idea to consult an experienced Alaska nursing home injury attorney to discuss your observations and worries.

Some nursing home residents are especially vulnerable because they have dementia or are non-verbal. Naturally, you should ask your loved one if they are being harmed, but even if they say no, you should trust your gut and seek help if you think they are at risk.

In Alaska, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit due to nursing home injury, including death from nursing home abuse, is only two years. After that time, you cannot file a claim, no matter how serious the abuse. Protect your loved one and their rights by speaking with a lawyer as soon as possible.

Work with an Experienced Alaska Nursing Home Injury Attorney

If your loved one was injured by careless or intentional mistreatment in a nursing home, they deserve compensation and help getting proper care and treatment. The help of a knowledgeable litigator not only makes it more likely that a claim will be successful, but that any recovery will be larger than what you might have achieved on your own.

Attorney Eric Derleth takes a unique approach to injury cases. Determined to outwork and outprepare his opponents before trial, he is better equipped to take a nursing home neglect or abuse case all the way to trial if necessary. Eric has cultivated a deep understanding of how juries make decisions, and he is skilled at communicating in such a way that juries feel compelled to find in his clients’ favor.

There is no risk to you in consulting an attorney; our office offers no-obligation consultations and only receives an attorney fee if your case is successful. To learn more about Alaska nursing home neglect and abuse law, and how an attorney can help you, call Eric Derleth at 907-262-9164 or contact our law office. From his office in Soldotna, Eric Derleth serves clients in Anchorage, the Mat-Su Valley, Juneau, and throughout Alaska. Call today for a free, confidential consultation.