Nursing Home Abuse
Tamarac, Lauderhill, Boca Raton, Hollywood, Boynton Beach, and many other nursing homes in cities throughout Broward and Palm Beach County have felt the wrath of our client’s families suing them with the help of our personal injury firm for negligence and abuse, for more than 35 years. To find the best nursing homes in Florida for your loved ones, you must do the research, and the best place to start is Nursing Home Compare.
Negligence in nursing homes used to be rampant in Florida. Lawsuits and strong Federal and Florida laws have helped curbed the abuses that used to regularly and much more frequently occur in Florida. Several years ago, we obtained a $1.8 million jury verdict for the family of a woman who the nursing home allowed to fall 8 times in a short period of time. The case was settled confidentially after the large jury verdict in the punitive damages stage of the trial. Our law firm has been handling nursing home cases in South Florida since the late 1980’s.
Selecting a nursing home requires extensive research. Before making a decision on a place, the individual or family member should evaluate the elderly person’s medical needs. Each person is different, and some people may have specific medical needs that select nursing home facilities may specialize in. Additionally, the individual should feel comfortable in the nursing home, and should be satisfied with the amenities and services provided by the facility. Also, the person and family members involved in the decision making should visit several nursing homes, and take a look at the cleanliness, staff, and observe whether other residents seem satisfied with the facility. After narrowing down the choices, the elderly individual and family members should visit the facilities a second time, without an appointment. The purpose of the second visit would be to observe the facility on a regular day, rather than a scheduled visit.
The process of aging affects each person differently. Some individuals are healthy and live independently in their private residence or retirement community. However, for individuals who require medical assistance, often their first option is a nursing home. While nursing homes seem to be a fit option for the frail elderly, it is important to note that some nursing homes are abusive to the elderly, and in some cases, the abuse may lead to serious injury or death. Elderly abuse or mistreatment signifies any type of intentional harm or negligent actions to an elderly person. Examples of mistreatment provided by the Department of Health and Human Services include but are not limited to:
- Physical abuse (hitting, bruising, restraining, etc.)
- Sexual abuse
- Neglect such as failure to provide food, hygienic services, or the appropriate health care required for the individual
- Exploitation such as taking, or misusing money, jewelry, or other valuable assets from the individual for another person’s benefit
- Emotional abuse such as humiliating, intimidating, or threatening the elderly person
- Self-neglect – characterized as the failure of a person to perform essential, self-care tasks and that such failure threatens his/her own health or safety
Further, family members and friends of seniors living in nursing home facilities should be aware of the signs of abuse. The following are a list of possible signs of negligence or mistreatment of the elderly indicated by the Department of Health and Human Services:
- Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, and burns may be an indication of physical abuse, neglect, or mistreatment.
- Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, and unusual depression may be indicators of emotional abuse.
- Bruises around the breasts or genital area can occur from sexual abuse.
- Sudden changes in financial situations may be the result of exploitation.
- Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, and unusual weight loss are indicators of possible neglect.
- Behavior such as belittling, threats, and other uses of power and control by spouses are indicators of verbal or emotional abuse.
- Strained or tense relationships, frequent arguments between the caregiver and elderly person are also signs.
In an effort to reduce and prevent elderly abuse, the Elderly Justice Act was passed. The act provides funding for Adult protective services, and establishes an advisory board committed to coming up with goals and projects to prevent elderly abuse. In addition, nursing homes are required to report abuse and or any suspicion of mistreatment. The reports are used to come up with statistics, which provide guidance on what types of abuse are more prominent and help the advisory boards come up with adequate goals and solutions to the problem areas.
If you suspect or know that your family member is a victim of elderly abuse, contact our law office now at 1-877-853-7466 to protect your loved one from further suffering. It is important to take action against negligent nursing homes and bring awareness to communities to prevent future incidents from happening.