Florida Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Few subjects are more grim than nursing home abuse and neglect. When a loved one makes a transition from the home environment to a nursing home, retirement community, or long-term care center, we want to feel reassured that they will be treated with the love and respect they deserve. Unfortunately, what brochures featuring cozy apartments, arts & crafts, community events, and dining facilities fail to mention is that nursing home abuse and neglect is a real problem affecting nursing home residents and their loved ones. This is not to say that the state of Florida is without upstanding nursing homes and caring nursing home employees. It is important to ensure, though, that nursing home residents and their loved ones understand the rights of residents and the responsibilities of nursing homes. When those rights are abused, or when nursing homes fail to meet state-mandated responsibilities, there exists legal recourse. If you suspect your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact a dedicated Florida nursing home abuse lawyer immediately. We have offices in Orlando, Fort Myers, Tampa, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale & Miami.
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Broad Rights of Florida’s Nursing Home Residents
Under Florida law, nursing home residents have a right to independent personal decision-making within the nursing home facility. This means that employees cannot force residents to partake in activities or do things that they do not with to do. Physical force is never acceptable under any circumstance unless the resident is putting themselves or others in danger. Underpinning this right is the responsibility of the nursing home to both publicly state the existence of the right, as per Florida statutes 400.002, and for its staff to encourage and assist residents in the fullest possible exercise of the right.
As unfortunate as it may seem, Florida nursing home staff often mistreat residents, by abusing and neglecting them in a variety of different ways. Some different types of nursing home abuse and neglect include:
- Hitting and physically abusing the resident;
- Sexually abusing the resident;
- Denying the resident food and water;
- Denying the resident adequate shelter or comforts; and
- Stealing money from the resident.
If you suspect that your loved one has experienced any or all of these types of abuse and neglect by a nursing home provider, it is imperative that you speak with a Florida nursing home abuse lawyer immediately to find out how you can be compensated.
The Disturbing Prevalence of Elder Abuse in Florida and the U.S. as a Whole
Most nursing home and assisted living residents never bring to justice those who have abused or neglected them. This is true for both elders who are abused by family members and elders who live in nursing or assisted living homes. A recent study published in the National Center for Biotechnical Information found that only one in 14 cases of elder abuse is reported to the authorities. Ninety percent of elder abusers are family members of the elder, due to the higher percentage of people 60 years and older living with family, as opposed to assisted living and nursing homes. If you have been abused by a family member, or you have been abused or neglected by staff of a nursing home facility or assisted living home, contact an experienced lawyer immediately.
Recognizing Signs and Symptoms of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
You can protect your loved ones from further abuse and neglect by learning to recognize the signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect. Because older people, especially those who are very old or have dementia or other disabilities, are afraid of retaliation and are generally fearful of the abuser, you cannot expect them to speak up to you or to others about abuse and neglect they are facing. It is up to you to bring the abuse to a stop. If you suspect abuse but are not sure, contact a lawyer and the proper authorities at once. It is never wrong to be careful in these situations, as abuse and neglect have serious implications with the quality of life and life expectancy of older people. Signs of physical abuse are as follows:
- Injuries that are unexplained or denied by the older person;
- Bruising, cuts, broken bones, sprains, burns, scrapes, pressure marks from grabbing, and other injuries (especially when they are on both sides of the body); and
- The older person flinches, cowers, or attempts to hide in the presence of certain staff.
Signs of neglect:
- Unattended medical needs and wrong prescriptions;
- Bedsores and/or unclean bedding;
- Dirty clothes and disheveled appearance; and
- Drastic or unusual weight loss.
Signs of financial abuse:
- Unexplained bank account withdrawals;
- Bounced checks;
- Unusual and unexpected new “best friends,” especially when there is a large age difference;
- Secretism; and
- Unusual changes in a will or estate.
Signs of emotional abuse from being yelled at, taunted, teased, belittled, and being treated like a child often coincide with signs of neglect and physical abuse. Many types of sexual abuse, such as any unwanted touching, groping, kissing, and nonconsensual sex also create behavioral issues and physical telltales that are similar to the signs of emotional and physical abuse.
What to Do If Your Loved One Has Been the Victim of Florida Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
In terms of specific violations of the rights of Florida’s nursing home residents, neglect, prescription medication errors, unsanitary facility conditions, physical abuse, and sexual abuse are typical. With regard to the responsibilities of nursing homes, facilities must meet stringent state standards specifying the requisite experience level of staff members and professional quality of health care. Know the rights of your loved one, and when you suspect those rights have been violated, contact a dedicated Florida nursing home abuse lawyer today to discuss any civil and criminal legal actions available to you.
The Pendas Law Firm – one of Florida’s most prominent in the area of personal injury – provides precisely the highly effective and experienced lawyers needed to handle nursing home abuse or neglect related personal injury claims. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today to learn how we can serve you in this time of need. The Pendas Law Firm has offices in Orlando, Fort Myers, Tampa, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale & Miami, and is dedicated to serving the community with its highly effective and experienced team of lawyers.