When a loved one lives in a nursing home, the nursing home is supposed to be just that — their home. Your loved one should feel safe and cared for. The facility should provide for their routine care and unique medical needs. They should also provide appropriate activities and arrange for interaction with other residents. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is a constant danger in Florida.
With a large senior population, nursing home employees, family members of residents, and anyone else who has contact with seniors in nursing home care should always be on the lookout for signs of abuse. But abuse can be subtle. It can take many forms. Abusers often go to great lengths to hide their behavior and continue the abuse. Here are seven types of nursing home abuse in Florida to help you determine if you need the help of a qualified nursing home abuse lawyer.
Too often, nursing home abuse takes the form of neglect. When the nursing home or their employees try to cut corners, the result can be that residents don’t get enough attention to their basic needs. The nursing home should evaluate the physical, mental, and emotional needs of each resident to provide the care that they need.
All residents have a right to food and water including adequate nutrition. They have a right to basic hygiene and medical care. Each resident has the right to be physically active as much as they are able. If a resident needs a walker or a wheelchair to improve their quality of life, they should receive it promptly. The nursing home must allow residents to take care of themselves, and they must provide the care that residents need to live comfortably with their basic needs met each day.
Caregivers who lack oversight and accountability may resort to emotional abuse. They might call a resident names or say negative things calculated to hurt their feelings. A caregiver might try to intimidate a resident or threaten them so that they won’t ask for help. If your loved one seems withdrawn or you notice other sudden changes in personality, emotional abuse might be the cause.
Physical abuse in a nursing home can take many forms. A caregiver might hurt, slap or push a defenseless resident. They might be too rough with them as they help them with daily tasks. Even failing to provide the resident the physical support that they need to prevent a fall can amount to physical abuse. In addition to broken bones, signs of physical abuse include unexplained cuts or bruises, broken glasses, and changes in mobility. Physical abuse can even involve refusing to give a resident their medication or giving them too much medication.
If you suspect physical abuse, remember that physical abuse in a nursing home often co-occurs with emotional abuse. Your loved one may be afraid to speak up. If you see warning signs of physical abuse, you may need to dig deeper and continue to investigate until you determine the cause of your loved one’s injuries.
Related: Nursing Home Abuse: How to Spot It
Sexual abuse is tragically common in Florida nursing homes. If your loved one has sudden, unexplained sexually transmitted infections, other physical trauma, emotional changes or sudden irritability, they may be a victim of sexual abuse.
Seniors are often victims of financial exploitation at the hand of the very people who are supposed to look out for their best interests. Caregivers might refuse to allow a resident to access their financial records. They might deny them incidental purchases that they need for daily care. Overcharges and intentionally confusing billing are just some of the ways that a nursing home might financially exploit their residents.
Physical isolation in a care facility can be intentional or neglectful. Seniors need to interact with others. They have the right to contact and visits with family members. They also have the right to socialize with other people in their nursing home.
Care providers might abuse their residents by leaving them to sit in their rooms for long periods of time. They might prevent them from walking down the halls or going outside. Physical isolation at a care facility can lead to depression and feelings of helplessness. It’s essential to treat physical isolation seriously as a form of abuse.
A caregiver might try to retaliate against a resident by ignoring them. They might refuse to let family members visit or tell family members that visiting isn’t allowed. Nursing home care providers often stop at providing for the physical needs of their residents and forget about their emotional needs. Emotional abuse and neglect can take a heavy toll on nursing home residents.
The Nursing Home Must Provide Reasonable Care
It’s up to the nursing home to provide reasonable care for the residents that they serve. If a nursing home abuses a person in its care, the actions of those involved might be a violation of Florida civil or criminal law. In addition to possible criminal charges, you may be able to bring a civil action against the nursing home and its employees for the damages and emotional suffering of your loved one.
What amounts to reasonable care for a senior is often a higher level of care than what’s reasonable for a typical adult. Because seniors are advanced in age, they usually have more serious or unique physical and mental needs than an average adult. When a home doesn’t provide reasonable care to a resident, it’s called negligence under the law. If a resident suffers harm because of nursing home negligence or abuse, the resident victim may deserve compensation for their losses and their suffering.
Working With a Qualified Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If you have concerns about your loved one’s treatment in a nursing home, contact Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys. We specialize in Florida nursing home abuse cases. Our legal team has the training, experience, and determination to help you ensure your loved one is receiving the level of care they deserve.