Boston Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

In an ideal world, all families would have the time and money to care personally for their elderly parents and loved ones. However, the realities of modern life often require families to rely on nursing homes and assisted living facilities to look after their elder relatives. The goal of nursing home care is to provide personalized and professional attention to elderly citizens who cannot otherwise fully care for themselves.

Today, large corporations own many of our nursing homes. Unfortunately, many of these corporations prioritize earning profits rather than providing adequate and quality care. Given this fact, many nursing homes are understaffed, overpopulated and poorly supervised. This means that some elderly residents may not receive the focused and specialized care that they require. There is also an increased possibility that an elderly person will become the victim of nursing home negligence. This negligence may occur in many different ways, some of which include:

At Sweeny Merrigan Law, we are completely dedicated to defending the rights of the elderly. If you have an elderly friend or relative that you suspect has been the victim of nursing home negligence, contact Sweeney Merrigan Law today at 617-391-9001. Our personal injury attorneys in Boston will immediately investigate your claim and take every step necessary to ensure that your loved ones receive both the treatment and respect that they deserve.

victim of nursing home negligence

What is Nursing Home Negligence and What can be Done About it in Boston, MA

Nursing home negligence refers to a nursing home facility or any of its staff members failing to fulfill the expected standards of resident care, often resulting in harm to the resident. The expected standards of care come from federal and state nursing home laws as well as ethical obligations. Nursing homes in Boston have a legal responsibility to provide for elderly residents’ physical, emotional and psychosocial needs. Breaching this duty of care is neglect. Some nursing homes are aware of neglect and continue allowing it to happen, while others may not recognize their shortcomings. Neglect is unacceptable in both cases.

Why Nursing Home Abuse Is Common in Boston For-Profit Facilities

A for-profit nursing home operates like a business rather than a hospital or health care center. Its main goal will always be to increase its bottom line. The most powerful motivator for a for-profit nursing home is money – not providing quality care to its residents. Sadly, this leads to more cases of neglect and abuse in for-profit than not-for-profit nursing homes and long-term living facilities in Boston. A for-profit nursing home could be guilty of many acts of negligence when profits are its main mission. 

  • Cutting corners in resident care quality standards.
  • Hiring poorly qualified staff members and skipping training.
  • Failing to conduct background checks on new employees.
  • Failing to maintain a proper resident/employee ratio.
  • Feeding residents low-quality or unhealthy food.
  • Failing to invest in safety measures such as bedrails.
  • Allowing premises maintenance standards to slip.
  • Being slow to repair known hazards, such as broken lightbulbs.
  • Failing to treat residents for medical problems.
  • Lacking in proper nursing home hygiene and sanitation.
  • Committing health care fraud.


These are common examples of issues you are more likely to find in a for-profit nursing home in Boston than nonprofit homes. At Sweeney Merrigan Law, our lawyers know what to look for when searching for signs of negligence and abuse at nursing homes. We are passionate about bringing negligent – and sometimes criminal – facilities to justice. We can help your family seek compensation even if you had to sign a liability waiver to gain admission to the nursing home. We know how to handle arbitration agreements while still protecting a client’s rights. 

A for-profit nursing home may promise high-quality resident care but provide the opposite in the name of saving money and turning a profit. Unfortunately, victims themselves often do not speak up due to incapacity, disabilities or fear. It may be up to you as a friend or relative to visit your loved one often to search for signs of something wrong. Contact us the day you realize your loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect at a for-profit nursing home in Massachusetts. 

Beginning an Investigation Into Nursing Home Negligence in Boston

As soon as you recognize or hear about nursing home neglect, initiate an investigation into the facility by notifying the nursing home and/or the police depending on the severity of the situation. Always report nursing home negligence. Officials will inspect the nursing home and intervene to help residents. They may force the nursing home to make changes that prevent future acts of neglect, such as hiring more staff members. In the meantime, you may take your loved one out of the nursing home to someplace safe. If neglect harmed your loved one, discuss the possibility of a lawsuit with our lawyers at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP. Holding a nursing home responsible through a lawsuit can bring your loved one justice and promote a safer facility in the future.

Reporting Negligence in Boston Nursing Homes

Reporting nursing home neglect can help your loved one and other individuals in the facility’s care. It can also lead to long-term and future changes in how the nursing home operates, helping to ensure the health and safety of seniors in the community. As soon as you recognize potential signs of neglect, report them to an administrator at the nursing home. In extreme cases, call 911 for an immediate investigation of the nursing home. You may also need to involve local social service workers. You can contact multiple authorities if desired. Report nursing home neglect and abuse to your local Long Term Care Ombudsman program as well. This program has advocates who hear and respond to concerns from older adults.

The Three Types of Negligence in Boston Nursing Homes

 Nursing home neglect can take many forms. In general, any failure to meet the basic standards of care at a nursing home is neglect. The three main categories of neglect are physical, emotional and psychosocial. Physically neglecting a nursing home resident can refer to leaving him or her alone for too long, ignoring dirty adult diapers, failing to maintain personal hygiene standards, withholding food or water, or ignoring medical needs. Physical neglect can be a form of abuse if it is intentional.

Emotional neglect at a nursing home is the failure to fulfill residents’ mental and emotional needs. This can involve isolating or physically restraining a nursing home resident, ignoring the resident’s needs, yelling at or berating the resident, speaking in a harsh tone, or humiliating the resident. Psychosocial neglect refers to ignoring the resident’s social needs. Elderly individuals need social connections and stimulation to maintain healthy mental statuses. Ignoring these needs or withholding social interactions is nursing home neglect.

What are the Main Signs of Negligence in Boston Nursing Homes

Neglect at a nursing home can negatively impact residents in many ways. Signs can be physical or emotional. A neglected nursing home resident might appear unkempt, dirty or in the same clothes repeatedly. Signs may show in the victim’s physical appearance, such as in unexplained weight loss, an increase in injuries, infections, malnourishment, loose or yellow skin, and parched lips. A neglected nursing home resident could also exhibit mental and emotional signs of neglect, such as depression, anxiety, fear, withdrawal, isolation, mental health declines, and suicidal thoughts or actions. If you notice any potential signs of nursing home neglect, contact us right away for a free consultation about your family’s legal options in Boston.          

What Kind of Compensation Is Available for Nursing Home Abuse in Boston?

Coming forward about nursing home neglect and abuse in Boston is critical not only for your loved one’s safety but also for that of others in your community. Shining a light on nursing home abuse or misconduct in Boston could force a negligent or criminal facility to change its ways or shut down, potentially saving other senior citizens from the same fate. Talking to an attorney and filing a lawsuit for nursing home abuse in Suffolk County could also provide your loved one with important financial compensation to make him or her whole again.

  • Economic damages. Out-of-pocket or financial costs the victim or your family suffered, including any related medical bills, medications, surgeries, fees, legal costs and travel expenses.
  • Noneconomic damages. Nonphysical losses such as personal suffering, emotional distress, physical pain, inconvenience, humiliation, mental anguish, lost enjoyment of life and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Punitive damages. An award sometimes granted during nursing home abuse cases in Massachusetts to punish defendants for particularly wrongful or egregious acts. It is a judge’s prerogative to award or not award punitive damages based on the facts of the case.

These are the general categories of compensation that may be available during a nursing home abuse or negligence claim in Massachusetts. The specific damages you can claim on your lawsuit will depend on the situation. A Boston nursing home injury and negligence attorney from Sweeney Merrigan Law can help you create a list of appropriate damages to seek for your particular claim. We can also give you an accurate estimate of how much your nursing home abuse case is worth. If we agree to represent you, our lawyers will fight for maximum compensation on your behalf. Contact us today for a free nursing home abuse case evaluation in Boston.

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