Nursing home abuse is a crime no one should suffer. If your loved one was the victim of abuse — or if she suffered neglect in a poorly-run, overcrowded, or understaffed care facility — you need to know how to react to protect her. You also need to know where to turn to ensure she receives the compensation she needs and deserves. This is where the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine comes in.
A nursing home abuse lawyer in Fort Myers can help you understand your options for compensation for both medical care and emotional stress. Call us today at 800-747-3733 to discuss your situation with our team for free.
What Types of Abuse Occur in Fort Myers Nursing Homes?
Elder abuse happens in many ways, and can leave seniors with physical, emotional, and financial injuries.
Physical abuse is, perhaps, the most obvious type of abuse. This may include hitting, pushing, and other violent actions. It may also include things like force-feeding or unnecessary use of restraints.
Emotional abuse is just as damaging, only it affects the victim psychologically instead of physically. Emotional abuse is common, but often difficult to spot. It often occurs when caregivers threaten, intimidate, humiliate, harass, or isolate nursing home residents.
Sexual abuse of a nursing home resident is unthinkable to most of us, but it does happen. Any unwanted sexual touching or unnecessary nudity may fall into this category. Other types of sexual abuse can vary from sexual comments to rape. Often, sexual abuse may also occur in conjunction with physical and emotional abuse.
Financial abuse occurs when caregivers or other nursing home employees take advantage of a resident for their own financial gain. This can include stealing valuables, misuse of a credit card, and even improper billing. Any time a nursing home employee misappropriates a resident’s money, it is financial abuse.
How Is Neglect Different From Other Types of Nursing Home Abuse?
Neglect is also a type of nursing home abuse, and can cause the same serious injuries and emotional damages as other types of abuse. The main difference is that, with neglect, the abuser may not mean to cause the resident any harm. In most other types of nursing home abuse, the abuser causes harm intentionally.
However, even when it is unintentional, the nursing home administration and/or owners are still liable for the damages the residents suffer. Often, neglect occurs because there are too many residents or too few trained staff members to provide care. The nursing home exceeds capacity, or is chronically understaffed. Nurses and other caregivers try their best, but there are simply not enough hours in the day to provide the level of care necessary to every resident.
All these problems occur because the facility is not managed properly. Because of vicarious liability laws, the owners or operators of these facilities are financially responsible for all types of abuse their employees commit. When it comes to negligence, however, they are often the only people who could have prevented it in the first place.
What Signs Do I Need to Look for That May Indicate Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
Many of the signs of nursing home abuse can also be signs of other health concerns, or even normal side effects of aging. However, if you see any of these signs and there is no other explanation, we encourage you to document any physical evidence and report your suspicions.
Common signs of abuse include:
- Unexpected bruises, cuts, or burns
- Broken bones not related to a reported incident
- A sudden change in alertness level or personality
- Bruising, scrapes, or other marks around the breasts or genitals
- Fear of a particular caregiver
- A certain caregiver’s unwillingness to leave you alone with your loved one
- Untreated bedsores
- Soiled bed, sheets, or clothes, or other hygiene problems
- Missed doses of medicine
- Unnecessary use of medications to decrease alertness
- Unapproved changes to bank accounts or unauthorized use of funds
How Do I Report Suspected Nursing Home Abuse in a Fort Myers Care Facility?
If you believe the resident may be in immediate danger, call 911 or the Fort Myers Police Department as soon as possible. The police can transport your loved one or another resident to a local hospital to ensure her safety and well-being. They also collect evidence, and can arrest the abuser on site if necessary.
When your primary concern is neglect but it is not yet serious enough to warrant emergency transportation, you may want to report it to the nursing home administrators and monitor their response. This often prompts them to provide the necessary care immediately.
In Florida, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs investigates all reports of nursing home abuse and neglect. Even if you call police or talk to administrators, you should still file a report or call them at 800-962-2873 to report your suspicions. They have the authority and expertise necessary to ensure all seniors living in the facility are getting the care they need.
How Can I Hold the Nursing Home Liable?
To hold the nursing home liable, we must be able to establish the nursing home violated its standard of care to provide your loved one with a safe environment. This could be through neglect or abuse. To establish this, we must provide evidence such as:
- Eyewitness statements
- Medical records
- Personnel reports and results of background checks (to determine whether the caregiver in question had past instances of abuse)
- Any past grievances with the nursing home
- Bank statements
- Signed contracts (to establish financial abuse)
- Photos of bruising, bedsores, etc.
- Staffing reports (to determine whether the facility was understaffed)
We will handle this process for you so you can focus on keeping your loved one safe or transferring her to a new facility.
How Can a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Fort Myers Help My Loved One?
Nursing home abuse cases are complex. Often, they involve an investigation by the Department of Elder Affairs, criminal charges against the abuser, and civil action filed by the family of the victim. This is a lot to deal with, especially when you still need to figure out how to ensure your aging loved one receives the best care possible.
This is where we come in. Remember that we will handle all aspects of your civil action against the nursing home, recovering the compensation your beloved senior deserves for her medical care, pain and suffering, and other losses. When we manage your case, you are free to focus on spending time with your family and working to help them heal.
Call today 800-747-3733 for a complimentary consultation with a Fort Myers nursing home abuse attorney. The legal team from the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine is available to take your call 24/7.