When a loved one lives in a nursing home, it is assumed that he or she will be gently, if not lovingly, cared for and provided for. However, nursing home abuse is more common than most people know. Abuse could include anything from unreported falls to neglect. A Miami nursing home abuse attorney can help you determine if you or a loved one is suffering from neglect or abuse and assist you in taking the appropriate measures. No question is too insignificant; a Miami nursing home abuse attorney can help you get the answers you need.
Although the average cost per year for a nursing home is upwards of $70,000, nursing homes are often understaffed. This means that employees may neglect to properly care for patients or take out their frustrations on the individuals in their care.
Every year, approximately 25 percent of nursing homes are cited for causing injury or death to an elderly patient. Abuse is seldom reported to the proper authorities. An experienced Miami nursing home abuse attorney can help family members spot the warning signs of elderly abuse, ensure that the nursing facility is properly penalized and secure financial compensation.
A less acknowledged form of elder abuse is financial abuse. Financial elder abuse occurs when nursing home employees manipulate a patient’s assets. An employee may coerce a patient to sign a contract that benefits the employee financially or commit fraud by forging a patient’s signature. The employee may also withdraw care unless the resident pays a confidential fee.
Neglect involves refusing to fulfill the duties necessary to care for the elder. One of the most identifiable symptoms of neglect is bedsores. When a resident is unable to move, a member of the nursing staff must reposition the resident frequently. If the resident stays in one position for too long, especially if he or she is not properly nourished or hydrated or the sheets are moist because they have not been changed, bedsores may develop. The law requires a facility to prevent bedsores from forming unless they are medically unavoidable.
Sexual abuse is one of the most common forms of elderly abuse in nursing homes. Employees may take advantage of a patient’s weakened physical or mental state and force the patient to perform sexual acts against his or her will. Sexual elder abuse may also involve photographing a resident naked or in sexual positions or sexually harassing a patient.
It is evident that bruises, broken bones or other physical injuries may be signs of abuse. However, other symptoms can be less obvious. Unexplained blood on underclothing or bedding could be a sign of sexual abuse with bruising around the breasts or genital area. Unexplained hair loss is also a symptom of abuse. Residents dealing with emotional, physical or psychological abuse may become withdrawn or unresponsive and may display signs of self-soothing, such as rocking and sucking.
If an elderly person reports that he or she has been mistreated in any way, it is important to take this information seriously. An elderly person may not be able to communicate clearly, so it’s important to take note of physical or behavioral changes. Malnutrition, dehydration or poor hygiene can be an indicator that something is wrong. If a nursing home employee refuses to let family members visit a resident, the employee may be hiding something.
A Miami nursing home abuse attorney can advise you on the proper steps to take if you suspect abuse. This may involve calling the police, visiting the emergency room and documenting all signs and symptoms. Our Miami injury lawyers will also help you determine if you can sue the nursing home for negligence, neglect or abuse.
Nursing homes are monitored by the state and are required to comply with specific laws that prevent abuse. These laws include hiring a sufficient number of staff members to care for patients, preventing the deterioration of a patient’s ability to take care of him or herself and providing comprehensive treatment. Nursing homes are regularly inspected to ensure they are following appropriate laws and procedures.
Individuals who suspect nursing home abuse may call the Florida Department of Elder Affairs via a toll-free hotline. If several individual complaints or claims have been filed suggesting a nursing home has been neglecting or abusing patients, that nursing home will be investigated above and beyond regular inspections. That’s one reason why it is so important to report any incidence of abuse or neglect.
Violation of any of the laws that prevent elder abuse can lead to a lawsuit. Federal laws protect residents from bedsores by providing contingencies that require caregivers to follow strict measures of care. State laws provide regulations against nursing home neglect.
You can sue a nursing home if the facility:
In order to sue a nursing home, it is necessary to prove that the facility’s failure to comply with regulations caused injury to the patient. The evidence may be incomplete or may favor the nursing facility, which is why it’s important to work with an experienced Miami injury lawyer to determine the best course of action.
Contact a Miami injury lawyer if your loved one has unexplained injuries, bedsores or any other questionable condition, especially if the resident has told you about neglect or abuse. A Miami injury lawyer can help you report the incident properly and gather evidence to support your claim. This will help ensure that your case will be successful and you will bring the nursing home to justice. A Miami injury lawyer can also review your case and help you take action to recoup damages and make sure this serious situation does not happen to anyone else.