There are nearly 85,000 beds across 691 licensed nursing homes in Florida. As of 2019, these nursing homes were home to about 71,000 elderly residents. When you or other family members make the often difficult decision to seek long-term care for your elderly loved one, you naturally and rightfully expect them to receive the best care possible.
However, thousands of Florida nursing home residents have experienced various types of nursing home abuse or neglect. At the same time, many more nursing home abuse and neglect cases might never be reported. Even though Florida has enacted high standards and regulations for assisted living care and nursing home care, abuse, negligence, and neglect can and does still happen. Suppose you suspect your family member has experienced abuse or neglect in a Florida long-term care facility. In that case, you have legal rights and options. It’s best to discuss these with an experienced Palm Beach County nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer as soon as possible.
Nursing Home Abuse Warning Signs
Any type of abuse is devastating, but nursing home abuse and neglect can be devastating because many residents don’t report incidents. It often goes unreported because victimized residents:
- May not have the emotional or mental capacity to report abuse
- May feel embarrassment or humiliation
- May not want cause their family members worry
- May feel afraid
Though appalling, staff abusing residents may threaten additional harm to the resident or even their family members if they report abuse. In some nursing homes, neglect or negligence may occur because of understaffing or other staffing issues. However, there’s no excuse for abuse or neglect.
Since abused or neglected nursing home residents often don’t speak up for themselves, it’s essential to understand the most common signs of nursing home abuse, which often include:
- Ankle sprains
- Other sprains
- Bedsores or pressure ulcers
- Bruising, cuts, or other wounds in different stages of healing
- Broken bones, fractures in various stages of healing
- Repeated medication errors
- Soiled or unchanged bedding or clothing
- Weight loss or other signs of malnutrition or dehydration
- Bed injuries/asphyxiation
- Unusually emotionally agitated or upset
- Extreme withdrawal and refusals to communicate
- Head injuries
- Wandering or elopement from the nursing home
- Reluctance to speak in staff members’ presence
- The unexplained or unexpected death of the resident
- Sudden or unusual changes in behavior such as fear of being touched, sucking, biting, rocking
- Unsanitary and unclean conditions
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
While physical abuse is commonly what people think of when they hear “nursing home abuse,” it can entail several different types. Nursing home residents are at risk of not just physical abuse but also:
- Emotional abuse—occurs when someone uses words or actions to bring your loved one emotional pain or suffering. Examples include treating the resident as a child, using insults, humiliation, intimidation, and making threats.
- Sexual abuse— happens when any sexual act happens and lacks the nursing home resident’s consent. Sadly, sexual abuse of nursing home residents often involves a resident who is unable to consent because they are mentally incompetent or incapacitated in some other way. This form of abuse might include unwanted touching, exposing a resident’s genitals, rape, and other sexual acts.
- Financial abuse— financial abuse of a nursing home resident has several potential forms but could be defined as stealing cash from a resident or using fraudulent strategies to gain access to a resident’s financial accounts or funds. Examples of financial abuse include forging the resident’s checks, asking them for money, and not using a power of attorney in the resident’s best interest.
What Should You Do if Your Loved One Has Been Abused in a Florida Nursing Home
If you think your loved one is experiencing nursing home abuse, it’s crucial that you take action immediately. Each Florida nursing home facility is legally supposed to have a strict protocol for investigating reported or suspected abuse. First, report the incident or your concerns regarding the warning signs of abuse to the nursing home’s administration.
Your report should be officially documented, and the administration should open an investigation. Their investigation may possibly involve suspending caretakers or nursing home staff until the investigation is complete.
It’s also typically a good idea to file a police report with the local law enforcement agency. Your report could help ensure the matter is resolved and that anyone who inflicted harm to or neglected your family member is no longer allowed to care for them or others.
Finally, you may want to think about contacting a Palm Beach County nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer for a free case review. Your attorney can help you pursue compensation for the harm your loved one endured and ensure the responsible parties are held accountable for the abuse and neglect they suffered.
How to File a Florida Nursing Home Abuse Claim
Filing a nursing home abuse and neglect claim is the initial step in beginning a Florida personal injury lawsuit. You can file a personal injury claim without the help of an experienced Palm Beach County nursing home abuse and neglect attorney; you may want to consider seeking professional legal assistance.
By working with a well-versed lawyer, family members can gather the necessary documentation, such as:
- Police reports
- Nursing home medical records
- Names of caretakers
- Contact information for all involved parties
At the right time, your Palm Beach County nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer can help you file a nursing home abuse case on behalf of your family member seeking compensation for any severe injuries or abuse. Your attorney will guide you through each step of the process, providing legal counsel and support you deserve along the way.
Hire a Compassionate Palm Beach County Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer
Have you noticed signs or symptoms of nursing home abuse involving a loved one? Do you want to file a personal injury compensation or wrongful death claim? If so, time is of the essence in these types of situations. All legal documents must be submitted to the appropriate county courthouse before the Florida statute of limitations expires.
The Palm Beach County nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at the Iscoe Law Firm can take immediate legal action to stop the abuse and hold all parties responsible for the harm your loved one suffered accountable for their actions or inactions. Contact our law firm today to schedule your no-obligation consultation. You can reach us 24/7, any day of the year, by calling 800 800-6500 or feel free to contact us online.