West Palm Beach Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Sadly, millions of older people are not treated with the care and attention that they deserve. While we often like to think that the retirement, assisted living, and nursing home facilities that our older family members depend on treat them with the utmost respect, that is not always the case. There are predators that take advantage of older people’s finances, leave them in spoiled clothing or deny them food, psychologically or physically abuse them, and force them to perform sexual acts. All of these types of abuse occur in nursing homes. Florida has one of the oldest population out of all 50 states, and has the highest percentage of senior citizens at 17.3 percent, according to CNN. This means that hundreds of thousands of Florida residents live in assisted living centers or nursing homes. Most homes and caretakers are incredibly generous, caring people, and most elder abuse is actually performed by family members, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. However, if you suspect your loved one is being abused by staff members of their nursing home, watch out for the signs listed below and contact our West Palm Beach nursing home abuse attorneys right away.
Types of Physical Abuse and Neglect at West Palm Beach Nursing Homes
The most common types of nursing home abuse is physical abuse and neglect, which are described below:
- Physically forcing the older person to do something;
- Sexual abuse;
- Ignoring the older person;
- Limiting their food, water, or toiletries;
- Keeping them in spoiled clothing or bed sheets; and
- Not allowing visitors.
Signs of Physical Abuse and Nursing Home Neglect
- Finger bruise marks;
- Signs of restraints on arms or ankles;
- Cuts or broken skin;
- Unexplained injuries;
- Injuries to both sides of the body;
- Older person flinches or shows fear;
- Suddenly non-talkative;
- Malnourished or dehydrated;
- Bed sores;
- Wearing dirty clothes (looks disheveled);
- Sudden weight loss or gain;
Signs of Psychological Nursing Home Abuse
Not all abuse is physical. Emotional abuse can consist of threats, intimidation, yelling, teasing, treating the older person like an incompetent or like a child. The following are signs of emotional nursing home abuse:
- Upset more than usual;
- Withdrawn or antisocial;
- Avoid making eye contact or seem scared of certain staff members;
- Do not want to leave their room;
- They have tried to injure themselves; and
- Sudden weight gain or weight loss.
Signs of Financial Nursing Home Abuse
Staff members of nursing homes may also attempt to take financial advantage of the people they are supposed to be looking out for. They may feel that they can get away with this because they believe they can outwit the older person or can intimidate them into not reporting the incident, which is why it is so important to keep a close track of how your older nursing home relatives are doing on a regular basis. Below are signs of financial abuse:
- Unexplained debt;
- Unpaid bills;
- Disheveled clothing (because they are unable to purchase new clothes);
- Unexplained bank account withdrawals;
- They request to make a sudden change in their will; and
- A caregiver shows strange signs of interest in the spending habits of the older person.
West Palm Beach Nursing Home Negligence Attorney
If you or a loved one has recently been the victim of nursing home negligence, call Pike & Lustig, LLC right away. As loved ones grow older or become ill, we rely on nursing homes to care for them. When a resident is abused or neglected, the nursing home and its staff should be held responsible. You may be able to sue for financial compensation related to such negligence. To learn more about legal action you can take for nursing home negligence, read below. Then, contact the experienced West Palm Beach nursing home negligence attorneys at Pike & Lustig, LLC for quality legal assistance.
Common Forms of Nursing Home Negligence
With over 680 nursing homes throughout Florida, many West Palm Beach residents are cared for at such facilities. Nursing home residents and their families rely on staff to respect residents’ rights and provide adequate care. Tragically, nursing home neglect and abuse is a growing problem. When nursing home staff members fail to provide the level of care legally required, residents suffer. Every case of negligence is different, but some common forms of nursing home negligence include:
- Failure to provide medication
- Failure to provide food or water
- Neglecting a resident’s hygiene
- Failure to keep residential areas clean and sanitary
- Improperly hiring unlicensed medical staff
- Emotional neglect
For someone in fragile health, these issues can quickly lead to serious health complications. A resident’s mental, emotional and physical health can be severely compromised when negligence abounds. Tragically, such negligence could lead to a resident’s declined health or even death.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing Home Negligence and the Law
State law requires nursing homes to maintain certain staffing and facility standards. For example, every Florida nursing home is required to hire at least one nurse, doctor and dietician to provide services to residents. These care providers must be trained and licensed to practice in Florida. Additionally, the law requires nursing homes to run criminal background checks on every single staff member. Such requirements are designed to prevent nursing home negligence and resident injury.
Besides staffing requirements, the law also provides certain rights for nursing home residents themselves. Under the law, residents are entitled to sanitary conditions, proper nutrition and medication, exercise, and an abuse-free resident facility, among other rights. When these rights are violated, or when a nursing home fails to meets its legal obligations, the home can be sued.
Call Experienced West Palm Beach Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
Your loved one does not have to suffer nursing home abuse or neglect in silence. If you suspect neglect or abuse, report it immediately to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. Then, contact reputable nursing home abuse attorneys to help. The law imposes strict time limits on when a resident or their family can bring a civil suit against the nursing home. Time is of the essence, so it is imperative to contact a lawyer immediately to discuss a nursing home abuse matter. At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our experienced West Palm Beach nursing home neglect attorneys understand this complicated law area of the law. We are aggressive personal injury litigators who have helped many clients throughout Florida, and we can help your family, too. Contact us today for more information.