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Nursing Home Abuse on the Rise in Florida

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Florida nursing homes have an obligation to their residents. Under Florida law, nursing homes must meet a specific standard of care, ensuring that they meet the basic needs of their seniors and maintain their quality of life. Homes are responsible for the actions of their staff and can be held liable in personal injury lawsuits (in addition to any criminal remedies).

But according to the Florida Department of Children and Families, elder abuse and neglect is on the rise. The number of verified abuse/neglect cases in Florida has risen 74 percent since 2011. The total for 2015 was 2,525. Many of those cases resulted in criminal charges.

Most cases of elder abuse happen at home. For example, last year the grandson of 95-year-old Lillian Moses was charged with abusing and neglecting his grandmother. While Lillian ultimately recanted her account of his alleged abuse and neglect, her story is an unfortunate reminder that seniors are a vulnerable population and aren’t always treated well.

While most cases happen at home, there are documented examples of elder abuse and neglect that happen at nursing homes. But recent reports have found that the state Agency for Health Care Administration has been censoring nursing home inspection reports and withholding details that could be used to prove abuse or neglect in a lawsuit.

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

Common types of elder abuse include:

  • Physical abuse — Inflicting physical harm on an elder is against the law and can also lead to civil liability. Illegal physical harm can range from hitting and kicking to sexual abuse.
  • Emotional abuse — Abuse isn’t limited to physical harm. Emotional abuse damages seniors in other ways, potentially leading to depression, anxiety and other issues. Examples include name calling and belittling the senior’s self-worth.
  • Neglect — This is similar to physical abuse in that it often results in physical harm to the senior, but from different causes. Any time a “caregiver” deprives a senior of a basic need (like food and hygiene), that is an example of neglect. One common symptom of neglect is if the senior develops bedsores.
  • Financial abuse — This might not be the first type of abuse that comes to mind, but it is a serious problem. Nursing home staff might steal money or property from residents, leaving them vulnerable to financial problems.

Injured seniors can bring personal injury lawsuits against the negligent nursing home seeking compensation for their medical expenses, pain and suffering and other damages. (Family may bring a wrongful death lawsuit.) The injured party has the burden of proving that the home acted negligently and that a reasonable facility would have acted differently.

Contact Us Today

If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, you might have the right to compensation for your injuries. Contact the Orlando nursing home abuse attorneys at The Pendas Law Firm today for a free consultation.

The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Jacksonville, Fort Myers, Tampa, Miami, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Daytona and Bradenton areas.

Resources:

orlandosentinel.com/health/aging/os-elder-abuse-lillian-moses-20160527-story.html

orlandosentinel.com/opinion/columnists/os-ed-secret-nursing-home-inspection-reports-20170309-story.html

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