We place our aging loved ones in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to ensure they get the around-the-clock care and attention they need. However, sometimes the very caregivers we trust are the ones who put our aging family members in harm’s way.
If you believe your loved one was the victim of any type of nursing home abuse in a South Florida facility, the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine can help you evaluate your legal options. In many cases, we can help you hold the facility responsible for their employee’s bad behavior or the systemic neglect that occurred and caused your family member to suffer. Call us today at 800-747-3733 to schedule your complimentary consultation with a nursing home abuse lawyer in North Miami.
What Are the Most Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse?
Elder abuse occurs more commonly than you probably realize. It can cause physical and emotional injuries and lead to financial losses for seniors who are already on a tight budget. Some of the most common ways abuse occurs in nursing homes across the state include the following.
Neglect is the most common type of nursing home abuse, but is often overlooked because it is not always intentional. Many nursing homes are chronically understaffed, or administrative decisions prevent nurses and other caregivers from giving each patient the attention and care they require. This can lead to missed treatments, untreated bedsores, falls, and other complications. Neglect can cause a major decrease in quality of life or even lead to death. For this reason, it is a very serious concern and the nursing home operators deserve to pay for their role in it.
Physical abuse is probably what you think of first when you hear “nursing home abuse.” Hitting, pushing, kicking, unnecessary restraint, and other violent acts are never OK. If a caregiver strikes your loved one, you should report them as soon as possible. While unthinkable, this type of abuse is not all that uncommon. Nursing home workers are under a lot of stress and too many lose their temper and react in a violent way.
Emotional abuse is much more difficult to identify than physical abuse or neglect. This is especially true because abusive caregivers often go out of their way to hide their abuse. Emotional abuse may not leave physical scrapes, bruises, or scars, but it can cause lasting psychological pain. If you hear a caregiver threaten, harass, intimidate, humiliate, or otherwise emotionally terrorize your loved one or another nursing home resident, report what you witnessed. Emotional abuse is abuse.
Sexual abusers look for victims who cannot fight back or are unlikely to report the abuse. This makes nursing homes a prime spot for molesters and rapists to find their victims. While rape and sexual assault does occur in some long-term care facilities, some sexual abuse is much more difficult to identify. Sexual comments, inappropriate pictures, and even unnecessary nudity are all types of sexual abuse. Of course, any unwanted sexual touching is also abuse and you should report it immediately.
Financial abuse occurs when a caregiver or other nursing home employee takes 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 the resident’s money, it is financial abuse.
How Can I Identify Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
It is important to understand the signs of nursing home abuse in order to keep your loved one safe. Consider these common signs and how they may indicate abuse:
- Unexplained injuries, including bruises, lacerations, and burns;
- Unexpected broken bones;
- Frequent falls despite known fall risk;
- Change in alertness level without a medical explanation;
- Sudden personality change, especially around a particular caregiver;
- Bruises or other signs of sexual abuse on the breasts or genitals;
- Fear or avoidance of a particular caregiver;
- New or untreated bedsores;
- Unaddressed hygiene issues, including soiled bed, sheets, or clothes;
- Missed doses of medicine or unnecessary use of medications;
- Strange changes to bank account ledgers; and
- Unauthorized billing for treatment or inappropriate use of funds.
While one of these signs alone may not prove your loved one is an abuse victim, they are serious enough to warrant an investigation in many cases. If you suspect abuse is occurring, you should report it as soon as possible.
How Can I Report Abuse?
If you believe a nursing home resident is in immediate danger, call 911 to get emergency medical personnel on the scene as quickly as possible. The police will collect evidence of abuse and can contact the Florida Department of Elder Affairs to fully investigate the incident.
If the senior is not in a life-threatening situation but you have concerns, you can report the issue directly to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs yourself. File a report online or call them at 800-962-2873. They investigate all credible reports and have the authority necessary to put a stop to any type of nursing home abuse.
After you secure your loved one’s safety, contact our lawyers so we can begin building a case on their behalf.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
Even if the nursing home administration seems to work hand-in-hand with the Department of Elder Affairs to identify and stop any type of abuse or neglect in their facility, this does little to help your loved one recover from the financial and emotional damages they suffered. A trip to the hospital for an evaluation and treatment, therapy for emotional injuries, and even pain and suffering all cost your loved one. We can help you recover compensation for these losses, allowing you to ensure your loved one receives the best care possible.
If you believe your aging loved one suffered abuse, give us a call as early in the process as possible. Your case may require knowledge of various areas of law, including personal injury, medical malpractice, and contract law. Our attorneys know how to navigate these cases to hold the at-fault party liable for your loved one’s damages.
How Can I Talk to a North Miami Nursing Home Abuse Attorney for Free?
At the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine, we offer free consultations. This allows you to talk to a lawyer with no obligation and no cost to you. If we believe you have a viable claim, we can walk you through the process of recovering compensation for your loved one’s financial losses and pain and suffering. We can give you the best chance at recovering damages on your loved one’s behalf. Call us today at 800-747-3733 to get started.