Entrusting a parent or loved one to a nursing home or residential care facility is difficult even under the best of circumstances. No matter how carefully you chose the care facility or how reputable it may be, it is important that you remain vigilant. Knowing the signs of elder abuse or neglect will help you protect your family member.
If you have reason to suspect that the facility or a caregiver may be abusing or neglecting you loved one, it is important to take immediate action and report the facility to the appropriate authority. To protect your family’s rights under the law, consult with the Naples nursing home abuse lawyers at the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine. We can explain your legal rights and your options for pursuing compensation for your loved one’s injuries. Call us today at 800-747-3733 for a free consultation.
What constitutes nursing home abuse?
When a nursing home employee or caregiver causes harm to a resident, either through negligence or intentional actions, it may qualify as abuse or neglect. Nursing home facilities are legally required to protect the rights of their residents. Abuse may also occur when a facility fails to maintain the minimum standards for health, safety, care, and comfort of its residents.
What are some signs that nursing home abuse is occurring?
Elder abuse and neglect can involve various forms of physical harm, emotional or mental abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, financial abuse, or a combination of any of these categories. There are usually specific signs or symptoms associated with each type of abuse, evidence of which we will collect to bolster your case.
Physical abuse usually causes injury, including:
- Bedsores or decubitus ulcers;
- Untreated infection;
- Medication errors or adverse events;
- Dislocations and fractures, primarily from falls;
- Burns or scalds;
- Traumatic brain injuries; and
- Bruises, cuts, and abrasions.
Emotional and mental abuse can be difficult to prove but can severely affect your loved one’s quality of life. Common signs that emotional or mental abuse is occurring include:
- Depression or anxiety;
- Fearfulness, especially upon visitor departure;
- Inhibited speech;
- Withdrawal; and
Neglect occurs when facility staff fails to provide adequate care to residents. Neglect can cause:
- Malnutrition and dehydration;
- Dirty clothing or bedding; and
- Unclean or unkempt appearance of residents.
Sexual assault is also unfortunately common in nursing home abuse scenarios. Some of the common signs of elder sexual abuse include:
- Complaints of pelvic pain;
- Bruises, bleeding, or irritation on the thighs, genitals, or buttocks;
- Unwillingness to sit down;
- Difficulty walking;
- Frequent or recurring urinary tract infections;
- Unexplained STDs;
- Panic or PTSD symptoms;
- Social withdrawal; and
- Unexplained fearfulness.
Financial abuse may also occur. This category of elder abuse can prove more difficult to detect. Some of the most common examples include:
- Missing possessions;
- Unexplained credit card purchases;
- Unexplained bank withdrawals;
- Identify theft; and
- Fraudulent billing for services.
In some cases, your loved one may not be able to tell you something is wrong. If you are unsure of what constitutes abuse or worry for your loved one’s safety, contact our nursing home abuse attorneys immediately. We can help you understand your or your loved one’s rights as a nursing home resident.
How can I help my loved one if I suspect nursing home abuse?
If you believe your loved one has been the victim of nursing home or caregiver abuse, report your concerns immediately to the proper authorities.
Call 911 immediately if you believe physical or sexual assault occurred or if a nursing home resident is in a significant state of neglect. This will help ensure that your loved one receives the medical care they need and removes them from the potential of future harm in that setting.
For non-emergency reporting of nursing home abuse in Naples, contact the Florida Department of Elder Affairs elder abuse reporting hotline, at 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873). You may also file a report online or by fax.
If you feel comfortable communicating your concerns with the nursing home, notify an administrator directly. Follow up any conversations in writing. Document any incidents in writing as well, noting dates, times, details, and the names of any involved staff members and other residents.
And of course, our nursing home abuse lawyers are here to help you in any way we can. We know confronting the reality that a loved one suffered abuse is emotional, and our lawyers can help you navigate the complex legal system.
Can I pursue legal action if I suspect nursing home abuse?
Yes, you can pursue legal action after a case of nursing home abuse or neglect. Once you reported the abuse or neglect to the proper authorities and your loved one is safe, contact our office as soon as possible. We can explain your legal options for seeking compensation for injuries as well as for pain and suffering.
No financial settlement can undo the damage done to your family member. However, it can pay for any medical bills and future care your loved one might need. A settlement can also assist you in placing your loved one in a safe location with caregivers you can trust.
It is important to act quickly, though. Under Florida law, you only have two years to act following the abuse or neglect. After that, you and your loved one will lose your right to compensation.
Finally, by pursuing legal action in a residential facility or caregiver abuse case, you may help ensure no one else experiences neglect or abuse by the perpetrator(s). If other residents are experiencing similar treatment, your decisive action may bring their situation to light.
How can I find a Naples lawyer to help with my nursing home abuse case?
The nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine can determine which aspects of the law apply to your case. An abuse claim may involve medical malpractice, personal injury, and wrongful death statutes, not to mention the criminal law violations that state prosecutors might pursue.
Our lawyers work to demonstrate that caregivers, nursing home employees, doctors, and/or the facility’s ownership entity was negligent and harmed your loved one. We will pursue a settlement or judgment that compensates your loved one for all damages.