About 71,000 elderly patients reside in Florida nursing homes, as of 2019. When you or your family members make the decision to seek long-term care for your loved one, you expect them to receive the best care possible.
Yet thousands of nursing home residents have experienced nursing home abuse or neglect, while many more cases may never have been reported. The state of Florida has set high standards for assisted living care and regulations, but abuse, negligence, and nursing home neglect can still happen.
If you suspect your loved one has experienced abuse in their long-term care facility, you have options.
Learn more about:
- what to do if you suspect nursing home abuse
- how to file a nursing home abuse claim
- how a Florida nursing home abuse lawyer can help
Warning Signs Of Nursing Home Abuse
Any form of abuse can be devastating, but nursing home abuse can be painstaking because many residents do not report incidents. Nursing home residents may not have the mental or emotional capacity to report abuse, they may not want to worry their family members, or they may be afraid.
Though despicable, assisted living staff or others abusing residents may threaten to harm the resident if they report abuse. In some cases, neglect or negligence may happen due to understaffing or other staffing issues. However, this does not excuse neglect or abuse.
For these reasons, it’s important to understand the most common signs of nursing home abuse, which may include:
- ankle sprains
- bruising, cuts, or other wounds
- broken bones, fractures
- continual medication errors
- other sprains
- bedding or clothing that is soiled or appears unchanged
- weight loss or other signs of malnutrition
Types Of Nursing Home Abuse Cases
Unfortunately, there are many different types of nursing home abuse, including nursing home negligence and neglect. Regardless of the reason, elder abuse can cause nursing home residents and their family members pain and suffering or other harm. The following are some of the most common kinds of nursing home abuse:
Physical Nursing Home Abuse
Physical abuse is one of the most serious issues faced by Florida nursing home residents. Using physical force on an elderly patient is never acceptable, but still occurs in nursing home facilities.
Forms of physical abuse in Florida nursing homes may include:
- using unapproved restraints on residents
- any other physical act intended to harm or inflict pain on a resident
If you suspect your loved one is being physically abused in their long-term care facility, look for wounds that have healed or are healing. Pay attention to your loved one’s behavior. Do they appear afraid or are they refusing to see you or have visitors?
All of these warning signs may point to physical abuse. A Florida nursing home abuse attorney can help you understand what steps to take if you suspect abuse.
Emotional abuse in an assisted living facility happens when someone uses words or actions to cause your loved one emotional pain or suffering. Examples include using insults, intimidation, humiliation, making threats, and more. A staff member may isolate the nursing home resident, treat them like a child, or show signs of annoyance when caring for them.
Perhaps the worst form of nursing home emotional abuse includes keeping residents from seeing family members, their nursing home friends, or withholding meals or favored activities as a punishment.
Common warning signs of emotional abuse in a nursing home to watch for in your loved one include:
- being more upset than normal
- change in behavior
- personality changes
- refusing to see visitors
Sexual Nursing Home Abuse
Sexual abuse in a nursing home is any sexual act that occurs without the resident’s consent. Sadly, nursing home sexual abuse often involves a resident who cannot give consent because they are mentally unable or incapacitated.
This form of abuse may include unwanted touching, exposing a resident’s genitals, rape, and other acts. Sexual abuse of an elderly resident is a grave offense.
Signs to look for if you’re concerned your family member is experiencing sexual abuse in a nursing home include:
- bruising or bleeding in the genital area
- stains in underwear
- damaged underwear
- new diagnosis of STD or genital infection
- refusing to see visitors
- sudden behavior changes
Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home neglect happens when a nursing home facility or individual staff member fails to provide adequate care for an elderly resident.
This can include refusing or failing to provide means to the following:
- healthcare: hygiene, medication, etc.
- clothing changes or assistance
- general safety
- keeping residents comfortable
Essentially, nursing home neglect includes failing to provide the basic elements a resident needs to live safely and comfortably.
If you are worried a Florida nursing home is neglecting your loved one, look for sudden changes in behavior.
Pay attention to:
- whether they are taking their medication regularly and on time
- if their room, bed, and clothes are clean and cared for
- if they bathe regularly
- if they seem dehydrated or malnourished
- if they have access to things they need
- if they have any untreated health conditions
- whether their room temperature is comfortable
- if they appear to be getting the exercise and stimulation they need
Nursing Home Financial Abuse
Financial abuse of a nursing home resident can take several forms, but may be defined as stealing money from a resident or using fraudulent tactics to access a resident’s financial accounts or funds.
Financial elder abuse is illegal and may include forging the resident’s checks, asking them for money, not using power of attorney in the resident’s best interest, and much more.
Signs your loved one may be experiencing financial abuse in a Florida nursing home include:
- missing money from bank account or missing cash
- noticing a caregiver’s name on financial or other important documents
- missing ATM card, checkbook, credit cards, etc.
- absence of valuables
- sudden changes to will
What To Do If Your Loved One Has Been Abused In A Nursing Home
If you believe your loved one is experiencing nursing home abuse, it’s important to take action right away. Each Florida nursing home facility should have a strict protocol for investigating abuse. Report the incident or your concerns about warning signs of abuse to nursing home administration.
The incident should then be documented, and the administration should open an investigation, possibly suspending involved caretakers or nursing home staff until the issue is resolved.
You may also want to file a police report with law enforcement. This could help ensure the issue is resolved and that any parties who inflicted harm or neglected your loved one are no longer allowed to care for them or others.
Finally, consider contacting a Florida nursing home abuse lawyer for a free case evaluation. An attorney can help you seek compensation for any personal injury and make sure responsible parties are held accountable for the abuse.
How To File A Nursing Home Abuse Claim
Filing a nursing home abuse claim is the first step in starting a personal injury lawsuit. While it’s possible to file a personal injury claim without the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer, you may want to consider seeking legal advice.
A reputable law firm can provide access to a number of skilled and compassionate lawyers who have experience in multiple personal injury practice areas, including nursing home abuse or neglect.
Working with a lawyer means they can collect the necessary documentation, such as the police reports, nursing home medical records for your loved one, names of caretakers, contact information for all involved parties, and more.
When it’s time, they can help you open a nursing home abuse case on behalf of your loved one to seek compensation for any serious injuries or abuse. The nursing home abuse lawyer will walk you through each step of the process, providing legal counsel and support along the way.
Will Florida Nursing Homes Be Held Liable For Negligence?
Florida nursing homes can be held liable for negligence or abuse perpetrated by staff members or caretakers. This includes any failure to provide adequate staffing, access to things residents need, failing to provide facility updates that secure the safety and comfort of residents and more.
Common claims brought against long-term care facilities for nursing home negligence include:
- failing to provide adequate training for staff members or caretakers
- neglecting to provide proper security for long-term residents
- hiring dangerous people or people who are not qualified to care for the elderly
- failing to provide food, water, shelter, or other basic needs for nursing home residents
- neglecting necessary medical care or medications
- failing to monitor staff and their care for residents
- neglecting to enforce rules and policies for abuse of residents
- failing to discipline caretakers who abuse residents or otherwise violate facility policies
Any Florida nursing home that does not uphold the standard of care set by the state of Florida or federal policy may have neglected its resident’s care and safety.
Florida statutes are in place to regulate long-term care facilities and nursing homes to safeguard against negligence and abuse. Nursing home abuse claims exist to help residents and their families seek compensation for damage caused by abuse.
List Of Florida Nursing Home Lawyers
If your loved one is a resident in a Florida nursing home and you’re concerned they are being abused, you may want to speak to a lawyer right away. The law offices of Florin|Roebig can provide a free consultation to discuss the incident(s) and will help you file a nursing home abuse claim when you and your loved one are ready.
With over 30 years of experience in personal injury law, our attorneys can provide the advantage you need for a favorable outcome in your case.
Our Florida nursing home lawyers include:
- Wil H. Florin, B.C.S.
- Tommy D. Roebig, B.C.S.
- Michael L. Walker, B.C.S.
- Chase P. Florin, B.C.S.
- Jordan A. Kolinski
- Parker Y. Florin, LL.M.
- Taylor D. Roebig
- Nollys R. Solarte, O.C.
- Lawrence J. Najem, O.C.
- Andrew M. Leone, O.C.
We can provide legal aid to residents throughout the state of Florida.
Some of the cities we serve include:
- Fort Lauderdale
- West Palm Beach
Find A Florida Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If your loved one is in a Florida nursing home or assisted living facility and may be experiencing neglect or abuse, don’t wait to reach out for help. Florida law prohibits standards that lead to or allow abuse of the elderly in nursing homes.
You may be able to file a claim against the nursing home, their insurance company, or any individuals involved in the neglect or abuse of your loved one.
To learn more about how to file a Florida nursing home abuse claim, contact Florin|Roebig law firm today for a free consultation.