Nursing home residents are among the most vulnerable populations in the United States. Abuse and neglect from trusted caregivers is far more common than most people believe. Luckily, there are state laws to protect residents from their abusers and hold those abusers responsible financially and criminally.
If you suspect your senior loved one was a victim of nursing home abuse, you need to act quickly to protect them and recover the compensation they deserve for their ordeal. At the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine, our South Florida nursing home abuse lawyers can help you understand your options for holding the abusers responsible for their actions. Call us today at 800-747-3733 for a complimentary consultation with a nursing home abuse lawyer in Deerfield Beach.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse happens in a number of ways. It can cause physical, emotional, and financial harm to victims. Some of the ways abusers may intentionally cause harm to long-term care facility residents include:
- Physical abuse, including hitting, pushing, and unwarranted restraint;
- Emotional abuse, including threats, intimidation, and humiliation;
- Sexual abuse, including rape, unwanted touching, or unnecessary nudity; and
- Financial abuse, including stealing, misappropriation of funds, and improper billing.
Is Neglect a Type of Elder Abuse?
Neglect is abuse. It is one of the most common types of nursing home abuse and the only type that can occur unintentionally. Many caregivers intend to provide all the care, medications, and services residents require, but they cannot because of issues with the way the administrators run the nursing home.
Neglect often occurs because the facility is massively understaffed, the administration will not allow overtime, or they rely on under- or untrained caregivers to perform tasks that a nurse should do. All of this comes down to money. They do not want to pay trained and experienced staff members enough or they refuse to hire additional certified staff because of the cost.
Some nursing home residents go several days without getting necessary treatments or therapies, even if they need them daily. Often, caregivers have to spend far less time than they would like with each resident because there are simply not enough staff members to go around. These vulnerable seniors miss out on the attention, assistance, and even medical care they need.
What Signs Should I Watch for to Spot Nursing Home Abuse?
It is often hard to spot nursing home abuse because abusive caregivers go out of their way to hide their behavior from family members. Even when a nurse or other staff member feels your loved one is not getting the care they deserve, they are unlikely to share their feelings with you because it could put their job in jeopardy. For this reason, you need to keep an eye out for signs of abuse and take prompt action if you see any of these:
- Bruises, cuts, or burns not related to a known incident;
- Broken bones;
- A change in alertness level not due to other factors;
- A sudden change in personality not due to another condition;
- Bruising around the breasts or in the genital area;
- Unexpected and untreated bedsores;
- Soiled bedsheets, underwear, or clothes;
- Other hygiene issues;
- Missed doses of medicine;
- Unnecessary use of medications;
- Unexpected changes in financial accounts; or
- Avoidance or fear of a particular caregiver.
What Should I Do If I Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
The most important thing you need to know if you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect is that you can report it right away. You do not need to wait for more evidence or try to prove anything on your own. The Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) can handle that when they conduct their investigation.
If you believe your loved one or another resident is in immediate danger, call 911. The police who respond can collect evidence of physical assault, sexual abuse, or severe neglect. They will also transfer the victim to the local hospital for medical treatment, if necessary. This is the best way to ensure they receive the help they need as soon as possible.
If there is no immediate risk but you have concerns, report what you saw to the nursing home administrators. They can often take action quickly to protect residents from further harm.
No matter whether you call police or notify the nursing home, it is always a good idea to also file a report with the DOEA. You can file a report online or call them at 800-962-2873. They investigate every report of abuse and can ensure all residents in the nursing home receive the high level of care they need and deserve.
After you report your loved one’s abuse or neglect, you should take the time to call our experienced attorneys. We can help you understand who is liable for your loved one’s suffering. We will help you hold them responsible for your senior’s medical care, emotional trauma, and other losses.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me?
We can document the abuse that occurred in your loved one’s nursing home and provide evidence to show their injuries, suffering, and financial damages. This allows us to file a claim and collect compensation for their losses. This is true no matter what type of abuse they suffered and whether it was intentional or unintentional. In this way, we can hold the nursing home or their parent company liable for the harm their negligence caused your family member.
Nursing home abuse cases are complex because they involve several different statutes and many different areas of law. It is not unusual for one of these cases to involve contract law, personal injury law, and medical malpractice law. That is not including the criminal charges the police may bring against the abusers.
Because of the number of legal practice areas involved in an elder abuse case, it is paramount to have an experienced and knowledgeable team of lawyers on your side. We have the resources to fully investigate your case, giving your senior the best chance at the maximum payout available.
How Can I Reach the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine?
The elder abuse lawyers at the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine are ready to get to work on your claim. We offer free case reviews and can help you understand your legal options if your loved one was the victim of an abusive caregiver. Call us today at 800-747-3733 to get started.