The decision to move a loved one into a nursing home is never easy, and you should at least be able to trust that the facility will provide attentive, compassionate care for your family member. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse may occur at even the best care centers.
According to recent figures from the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), almost 2 million elderly Americans live in approximately 17,000 nursing homes. With an aging population that is increasing in numbers and living longer, instances of nursing home neglect and abuse are expected to rise
If you believe a loved one is suffering from abuse or neglect in a Florida nursing home or assisted-living facility, you should immediately contact the authorities and get in touch with the dedicated Orlando nursing home abuse attorneys at Best Law Firm Florida P.A.
Nursing Home Abuse Explained
Lawsuits against nursing homes typically fall under the categories of:
- Neglect, which is distinguished from abuse by a lack of intent to harm and may include failure to prevent conditions such as bed sores
- Abuse, which focuses on an intentional infliction of harm, such as assault or the willful deprivation of food and drink
- Medical malpractice, in which doctors or care providers cause personal injury or wrongful death due to a negligent medical error, such as improperly diagnosing a condition
- Theft or financial exploitation, which may entail identity theft or stealing personal possessions
Negligent behavior in nursing home abuse claims can take many forms, from mental cruelty to physical abuse to financial manipulation. Among the more common types of nursing home neglect and abuse are:
- Assault and battery
- Deceit to gain access to personal information or finances
- Lack of adequate care for existing medical conditions
- Lack of assistance in maintaining personal hygiene
- Failure to prevent dehydration or malnutrition
- Failure to provide sanitary living conditions
- Sexual assault
- Slip and fall injuries caused by negligence
- Unlawful imprisonment or restraint
- Verbal abuse
Although accurate figures on nursing home abuse are difficult to maintain because many instances go unreported, a federal report cited by the NCEA estimated that as of 2003 between 1 and 2 million Americans age 65 and older had been victims of some form of abuse by a caregiver.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Many nursing home residents are unable or unwilling to report neglect or abuse. If you have a family member in a nursing home, you should watch for signs of neglect and abuse including:
- Bed sores or other infections
- Changes in physical appearance, such as sudden weight loss
- Inadequate medical attention, including improper dispensing of medication or poor wound dressings
- Lack of food and drink
- Unexplained injuries such as bruises or cuts
- Unusual behavior
- Unsanitary conditions
If your loved one complains of neglect or abuse, or if you see physical symptoms of neglect or abuse, you should report your suspicions immediately and contact the experienced Florida nursing home abuse lawyers at Best Law Firm Florida P.A.
Causes of Nursing Home Abuse
There is never a satisfactory explanation for nursing home abuse, but there are conditions that contribute to its disturbing reality. Some common causes of nursing home abuse include:
- Inadequately trained staff
- Negligent hiring practices
- Staff shortages
- Unsafe premises or inadequately maintained facilities
The personal injury attorneys at Best Law Firm Florida P.A. fight for the victims of nursing home abuse and their families, and we are committed to raising awareness for the prevention of nursing home abuse.
If you or a family member has suffered neglect or abuse in a nursing home or assisted-living facility, please contact the Florida nursing home abuse lawyers at Best Law Firm Florida P.A. for a free case evaluation.