If your loved one resides in a nursing home, most likely they are being cared for properly. However, multiple reports and industry statistics indicate that elder abuse is more common than we’d like to believe. And those living in nursing homes or similar retirement communities may be subject to abuse, neglect and improper care at levels which are difficult to put numbers to.
It’s unfortunate, but nursing home abuse is does occur. Our law firm speaks to people each month about their concerns. Some reports show that 1-2 million seniors are abused each year. And that abuse can range from physical and emotional abuse to sexual and financial abuse. And with 10,000 Americans reaching the age of 65 every single day, concerns of abuse will likely continue to rise.
As a family member or caregiver, you have your loved one’s best interests at heart. But when you’re loved one lives permanently in another facility, how do you keep track of their welfare? And how are you able to know when something might be wrong with the way they’re being cared for?
The following are signs that something may be wrong and abuse or neglect exists. When you visit, you may notice unexplained bruises or injuries. You may see untreated bed sores. Your loved one seems distant or nervous or the staff doesn’t allow you to visit with them without a staff member being present. Similarly, your loved one denies visitors or wants to be left alone, perhaps because they’re scared or intimidated. Or they are heavily sedated or seem ‘out of it’ when you visit. Another sign could be unsanitary conditions such as unchanged bed sheets or dirty clothes or the state of other residents within the home.
Abuse and neglect of the elderly can be found in the form of bedsores, open wounds, cuts, bruises, dehydration, malnutrition, weight loss, burns, falls, bowel impactions, medication errors, poor personal hygiene, verbal or physical abuse, over sedation, stolen money and jewelry among many other forms.
“We usually tell people to go with their gut feeling,” says attorney Jon Herskowitz. “When you’re visiting the nursing home, you should be able to determine if things seem right – or not. And if they don’t seem right you should be able to inquire as to why these warning signs exist.”
Your loved one has legal rights and is protected by Florida and federal laws. Among those, nursing home residents are entitled to be treated courteously, fairly, and with the fullest measure of dignity.
They should be free from mental and physical abuse, corporal punishment, extended involuntary seclusion, and from physical and chemical restraints except those ordered by resident’s physician.
Learning that your loved one may be suffering from abuse or neglect in a nursing home is a devastating experience. If this happens to you, then you may have the option of filing a civil lawsuit against the nursing home that will let you recover damages for continuing care of your loved one (most likely at another facility). This action may also open avenues for investigation that can help to protect the other residents of the nursing home such as firing abusive employees.
If you’re considering a nursing home abuse lawsuit, contact us today. The experienced attorneys at Baron & Herskowitz have successfully conducted civil lawsuits for nursing home cases and helped families throughout Florida relieve the painful situation of abuse and neglect.