Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

The decision to place a loved one in a long-term care facility is never an easy one. Sometimes though, it is the only thing to do, particularly if your family members need around the clock care that you cannot provide. The only reassurance you likely have after making the difficult decision is the fact that the nursing home staff members have promised to provide your loved one with the best possible care. They also likely tell you that they have certain protocols and that they have enough staff members to provide adequate care. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. There is a very large problem in Florida’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities. They often have inadequate infection control, they are notoriously understaffed, treatment is often delayed, and there is generally poor oversight of the staff members. These issues are usually present because owners and operators only care about making a profit, and do not always provide proper care to their residents.

Defining Negligence & Abuse

The terms nursing home abuse and nursing home negligence are often used interchangeably, but there are differences between the two. Nursing home negligence refers to when nursing home staff members act carelessly and fail to take certain actions that result in the harm of residents. Nursing home abuse, on the other hand, occurs when nursing home staff members intentionally inflict harm on residents.

For example, bedsores are an indication of nursing home neglect because they indicate that nursing home staff members failed to care for the resident, such as moving them regularly. When nursing home staff members sexually assault or hit residents though, these are examples of nursing home abuse.

Florida Laws Governing Nursing Home Abuse

Owners of nursing homes and the staff members that work within them are required to comply with the policies outlines by the Florida Department of Health (FDH). When these individuals fail to abide by these policies, it is important to speak to a nursing home abuse lawyer that can help injured elders file a claim for compensation.

Florida law requires anyone working within a nursing home to have a certain amount of education and course time prior to becoming employed within a facility. Florida law also requires at least one medical doctors, nurse, and nutritional specialist to be adequately trained and inside the facility at all times. It is standard procedure under Florida law to require staff members to be up to date with their immunizations, and for the owners of the home to conduct criminal background checks on all potential staff members.

Nursing home staff members are required to provide residents with appropriate medication, emergency medical care, and psychiatric counseling, when necessary. The minimum requirement for nursing homes is that they provide elders with proper nutrition, opportunities for physical activity and community interaction, and privacy. Nursing home residents also have the right to live in sanitary conditions.

No nursing home resident should be the victim of abuse or neglect. If abuse or neglect occurs, the incident should be immediately documented and the violations of the law should be outlined.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

Nursing home residents that are the victim of abuse or neglect do not always come forward about the abuse. Sometimes they are embarrassed or ashamed, while other times they may not have the mental capacity to understand that the abuse is occurring. Due to this, it is crucial that family members act as the advocate of their loved one and regularly watch for signs of abuse and neglect. The most common of these signs are:

  • Burns
  • Bedsores
  • Pelvic fractures
  • Unexplained falls
  • Unexplained injuries, such as broken bones
  • Cracked lips or dry skin that may indicate dehydration
  • Pneumonia
  • Medication errors
  • Subdural hematomas
  • UTIs and sepsis infections
  • Sudden weight loss, which could indicate malnourishment
  • Wrongful death

Types of Negligence & Abuse

There are a number of ways in which nursing home staff may abuse the residents in their care. The most common of these include:

  • Attacking a resident
  • Sexually abusing a resident
  • Denying a resident food or water
  • Striking or physically abusing a resident
  • Stealing personal property or money from a resident
  • Denying a resident adequate shelter and other comforts

How COVID-19 Has Impacted Nursing Homes

Nursing home residents have been the most vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Residents in these facilities that suffer from pre-existing conditions are at particular risk for contracting the virus. It is these older individuals that are also most at risk for the most severe effects from the disease. An elder that becomes infected with the virus will likely become seriously ill, and the condition may even be fatal for them. To protect both the residents in these facilities, as well as the staff members, the Florida Department of Health has issued guidelines all facilities should follow so they are better ready to respond to COVID-19.

Over the past several months, the number of deaths directly related to nursing home facilities has steadily increased. Over 1,000 lives have been lost unnecessarily, and at least 43% of all deaths in the state have been due to a COVID-19 outbreak in a nursing home.

Legal Consequences Associated with Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

A nursing home abuse case may involve both criminal and civil consequences for nursing home owners and their staff. Employees that do not properly document a case of abuse may face criminal and civil penalties if a number of other employees reported the abuse or negligence. When abuse or neglect is not reported, the nursing home will face large fines and may even be held civilly liable. In the most extreme cases, the nursing home may also be shut down.

Schedule Your Free Consultation

If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, it is important to report the abuse now and call Aventis Law Firm. You only have two years to file a claim for compensation and we will ensure your claim is filed properly and in a timely manner.