Senior citizens are one of the most vulnerable populations in the United States. This is especially true for those who require around-the-clock supervision and nursing care, such as nursing home residents. It is hard to believe anyone would take advantage of, neglect, or abuse these elders, but it is much more common than you might believe.
If your family member or other loved one lives in a long-term care facility, you are their first and last line of defense against those who would abuse or take advantage of them. It pays to know what the signs of abuse and neglect look like and to report any suspicious behavior as soon as possible.
If your parent, spouse, or sibling does become the victim of abuse or neglect, the attorneys at the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine are here to help you hold the nursing home administration financially liable for your loved one’s damages. Our team of South Florida nursing home abuse attorneys can help you protect your family member’s physical, emotional, and financial well-being. Call us today at 800-747-3733 to schedule a complimentary consultation with a nursing home abuse lawyer in Port Charlotte.
What Are the Most Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse?
Neglect is by far the most common type of abuse seniors experience. Whether it occurs due to understaffing, overcrowding, or other issues, neglect can cause serious physical and emotional harm to residents. Some develop bed sores, go without needed medications, and live in dirty conditions simply because there are not enough nurses to provide care.
Physical abuse is what most people think of when they think of abuse. Hitting, pushing, shoving, unnecessary restraint, and other violent outbursts are common for abusers.
Emotional abuse causes the victim to suffer psychologically. It is extremely common and likely underreported, since it is difficult to identify unless you witness it firsthand. Emotional abuse includes embarrassing, intimidating, humiliating, threatening, or harassing residents in the nursing home.
Sexual abuse includes any unwanted sexual attention, inappropriate touching, or unnecessary nudity in a long-term care environment. Sexual abusers may use threats or other emotional abuse to prevent the victim from telling family members what has occurred. Those with dementia and other health conditions that would prevent them from telling are also targets for this type of abuser.
Financial abuse involves a nurse, caregiver, or other staff member stealing assets or otherwise taking advantage of resident for their personal financial gain. Stealing cash, valuables, and credit card information are the most common ways this occurs. Financial abuse may even be a systemic issue, with the nursing home billing for services they never render.
Why Is Neglect Such a Widespread Concern in Nursing Homes Across South Florida?
Most nursing home administrators do not intend to hurt the residents in their facilities. However, they make hiring and employment decisions that cause the residents to suffer. They accept too many residents, hire too few staff, and try to use untrained caregivers instead of trained nurses when possible. They cut budgets and cut hours, leaving the nurses and caregivers to do the best they can when they do not have the time to do their jobs properly and provide adequate care to every resident.
When it comes to other types of abuse, nursing home administrators are responsible for the actions of their employees because of vicarious liability laws. When it comes to neglect, however, they are often directly liable for the suffering of residents. They are the only ones who can take control of the situation and ensure every resident gets the care necessary based on their medical needs.
Our attorneys understand how to hold nursing homes responsible for neglect. Whether it was intentional or not, your loved one deserves compensation for the suffering they have endured.
What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Not every bruise or bedsore is directly related to abuse, but there are some important signs to watch for that may tip you off. If you see any of these signs and the nursing home cannot provide a satisfactory explanation, you should report your suspicions as soon as possible:
- Bruises, cuts, and burns with no known cause;
- Unreported broken bones;
- A change in alertness level or personality unrelated to a health condition;
- Bruises or other signs of force around the breasts or genitals;
- Unusual fear of a particular caregiver;
- Untreated bedsores;
- Soiled clothes or sheets;
- Hygiene problems;
- Skipped doses of medicine;
- Unnecessary use of medications, often sleeping aids;
- Missing valuables; and
- Any unauthorized use of funds.
How Can I Report Nursing Home Abuse?
In a life and death situation, you should call 911 immediately. The police and emergency medical team can provide the quickest care to your loved one. They can transport them to the nearest hospital by ambulance and even perform lifesaving procedures. The police will document the incident and may collect vital evidence to prove abuse.
You should also contact the Florida Department of Elder Affairs as soon as possible. They look into every report and have the authority to hand abusers over to police and sanction those who operate the facility. You can file a report online or dial 800-962-2873 to do so over the phone. In some cases, you may also opt to discuss your worries with the nursing home administration. If you have an issue with a particular caregiver or have questions about an unexplained physical injury your loved one suffered, they may be able to offer immediate help getting to the bottom of the problem.
After your loved one is safe, contact our attorneys. We can begin building your case immediately.
How Can I Talk to a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Port Charlotte?
If your loved one suffered abuse at the hands of a caregiver, the legal team from the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine can help you file a civil action against those responsible. We can often help our clients recover compensation to pay for their medical care, pain and suffering, and other abuse-related losses. Call us today at 800-747-3733 to schedule a free consultation.