When we put our loved ones in nursing homes, we expect them to receive compassionate care from professionals who have their best interests at heart. Most of the time, that is exactly what happens. But sadly, nursing home abuse and neglect is also a reality. Sometimes, family members find themselves betrayed by those they trusted most to care for their loved ones. If you suspect nursing home abuse is occurring to a family member or loved one, it is important to know what to do.
First, you should take immediate action to put a stop to the abuse and get your loved one any emergency care they might need. Then, discuss your legal options with a lawyer. You and your loved one may be eligible to receive compensation from the nursing home. At the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine, we have experience navigating nursing home abuse and neglect cases. We fight for compensation on your behalf so you and your loved one can focus on recovering. Call our office at 800-747-3733 to schedule a free consultation with a nursing home abuse lawyer in Port St. Lucie.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
The state of Florida tightly regulates nursing homes and sets a high bar for how they must treat their residents. When a caregiver causes harm to a resident, whether it is by neglect or an intentional act, the law considers it nursing home abuse. Here are some common examples.
Physical Abuse: At times, it is appropriate for a caregiver to physically restrain a resident, such as when a patient with dementia attempts to leave the premises. However, there is a standard of care they must follow when doing so. When a caregiver uses excessive force when handling a resident, such as hitting, kicking, or pushing, it is abuse.
Emotional Abuse: Intimidation, threats, demeaning comments, and manipulative tactics toward nursing home residents are all forms of emotional abuse.
Neglect: Nursing home caregivers must ensure residents are properly fed, clothed, and bathed at all times. When a caregiver fails to provide this basic care to a resident, or they abandon the resident for an extended period, it is neglect. This is true whether the caregiver’s actions were intentional or unintentional.
Sexual Abuse: Any forced or unwanted sexual contact with a nursing home resident, including displays of nudity or inappropriate comments, is sexual abuse.
Financial Abuse: This includes stealing money or credit cards, convincing residents to purchase goods for the caregiver, or improperly billing for services that the resident did not receive.
Regardless of what form the abuse took, we will pursue the maximum damages. No amount of money can take away the pain and broken trust of nursing home abuse, but it can help with the recovery process and any medical bills that might result from post-trauma care.
What are the signs of nursing home abuse?
Unfortunately, many nursing home residents are unable to report that abuse is occurring. However, family members and loved ones can stop nursing home abuse early in the process by knowing the signs to look for. Here are some warning signs that your loved one might be a victim of nursing home abuse:
- Unexplained injuries, including broken bones, bruises, burns, or cuts;
- Unexplained personality changes;
- Trauma to the genital region;
- Poor hygiene, including dirty, unchanged clothing or soiled bed sheets;
- Unexplained fear or apprehension toward a particular caregiver;
- Missing money or unexplained charges or bills; and
- Missed doses of medication or unnecessary new medication.
Keep in mind this list is not exhaustive, and you should rely on your intuition to speak up when something does not feel right. It might turn out to be nothing, but you will not know for sure until you investigate.
What can I do if I think abuse is occurring?
If you suspect your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, your first priority is to ensure their safety. If they are in immediate danger, call 911 and get them emergency care. Otherwise, report your suspicions to the authorities and ensure your loved one has no contact with the suspected abuser.
You can also report suspected nursing home abuse to Florida’s Department of Elder Affairs. You can report abuse by phone at 800-962-2873 or file a report online. If your suspicions lie with a single caregiver, you might also want to speak to the person’s supervisor at the nursing home.
Once authorities confirm the abuse, contact our office to discuss your next steps. You and your loved one deserve compensation for your suffering. Our qualified attorneys can pursue the responsible party for damages.
How can a lawyer help?
The legal landscape concerning nursing home abuse is tricky. Many facets of law are potentially at play, including contract law, personal injury law, medical malpractice law, and criminal law. We can determine the best route to pursue for your case, gather all the evidence, and aggressively seek the maximum compensation.
No amount of money can reverse the damage of nursing home abuse, but a financial settlement can help your family pay for medical treatment that your loved one might require. We may even seek punitive damages to punish the responsible party.
In a worst-case scenario where a loved one dies from nursing home abuse or neglect, we can pursue a wrongful death case on their behalf.
Moreover, by pursuing the responsible party for damages, you can help put a stop to a facility or caregiver’s abusive behavior and potentially keep future residents from suffering the same abuse.
Contact us today for a free consultation.
Because of the complexity of nursing home abuse law, you want to go with a lawyer who has experience with these cases. The attorneys at the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine have helped many families win settlements for loved ones who suffered nursing home abuse. We can put our knowledge, experience, and extensive resources to work for you. Call our office today at 800-747-3733 for a free consultation.