Nursing Home Care Abuse Is a Real and Rising Problem

August 6, 2015 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Nursing Home Care Abuse Is a Real and Rising Problem Since we all have aging loved ones, we know all too well that life comes with natural health degradation. But why should we allow nature to take its toll on our quality of living? The answer is simple: we shouldn't! It's becoming the norm for a caring offspring or multiple family members to pool their assets together and move a senior relative into a new home. Whether your beloved family member lives alone, with you or another friend or family member, or resides in an assisted living facility (ALF) or a nursing home, you'd want them to be taken care of. For the often generous price that is paid to keep your parent, spouse, sibling, or child in one of these facilities or homes, it's safe to expect the highest quality of care and comfort. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. By the day, more and more cases are being put forth by unpleased and heartbroken family members whose loved ones have fallen victim to managed care abuse. As expected, bigger facilities house more staff members; more staff members take in more patients; and subsequently, more patients equal a greater rate of abuse cases for said facility. It just so happens that Florida is very well known for its well-rounded medical schools and programs, hospitals, and facilities. Not only is it a vacation destination for the young and brisk, but it can also be a paradise for the older generation of adventure seekers as well. In Florida alone, there are nearly 85,000 beds across the approximately 700 nursing homes around the state. Alternatively, there are an impressive 3,050 ALFs with surprisingly the same amount of beds. Many of these beds—around 85%—are filled at any given time. Unfortunately, many of the seniors occupying those beds are currently suffering from neglect and/or abuse. Some of the sufferers will go unnoticed, but many families are stepping forward to fight for the treatment that their family member(s) deserve. There are many types of abuse that occurs in nursing homes and ALFs, but it's important to know the difference between the two before categorizing the types that are present in each. What are some differences between nursing homes and assisted living facilities? For those of you who have assisted in moving a loved one into a home or facility already, you probably know the differences between the two. In general, it's pretty straightforward… Nursing Homes: Nursing homes are like mini-hospitals populated almost exclusively with nurse-level staff and one or a few doctors. Naturally, depending on the scale of the nursing home, the number of staff should scale accordingly. These homes are dedicated to treating a fixed roster of senior residents who need either constant medical attention or must have a keen eye kept on them due to being a high health risk. These homes often try to squeeze as many patients as they can into their limited space, therefore making the quality of living go down drastically by default, so the quality and timeliness of medical care is expected to rise. Next, because the staff often has so many residents to care for, it can start to affect the staff-to-resident connection that is so vital. At the same time, however, these nursing homes are usually streamlined in order to provide great quality medical care to every patient at a respectable time. They know who needs what, when they need it, and how to get it to them. Nursing homes are fast-paced work environments for the staff, and treatment hubs for the residents. Assisted Living Facilities: Assisted living facilities are just as the name implies. Instead of the resident relying on the staff of the nursing home to remain in good health, residents at an ALF are mostly self-governing. They have independent lives and are free to go wherever they want, whenever they want. A high-quality assisted living facility is more of a hotel with medical staff on the premises in the event that anything happens. The price of living in one of these when compared to a nursing home is often incomparable, but that of course depends on the medical needs of the resident in question. For the most part, ALFs are primarily focused on providing a high quality of living for residents and try to supply everyone with a wealth of activities ranging from game rooms to pools. It's also common for these facilities to provide a means of transportation to and from requested hotspots like the local supermarket or a museum.  What are the types of abuse that goes on? With the differences of nursing homes and assisted living facilities listed, now it's time to jump into the types of abuse that are present at both. Regardless of the type of home your loved one is living in; there is still a chance that they are currently a victim of abuse. Even the most famed ALFs have been questioned and tried for abuse cases, so the price that is being paid for your family member to live in one of these homes doesn't always correlate with the treatment they receive. Let's go over some of the most common types of abuse seen in these homes. Physical Abuse: The stress of work gets to all of us, but stress in a fast-paced environment when coupled with patients who aren't always cooperative with staff members can sometimes take a turn for the worst. There is no excuse for physical abuse anywhere, and these senior homes are no exception, but that doesn't mean it won't happen. There are situations where nurses try to administer food or medication to a patient and they refuse. The nurse grows angry and dares to lay his or her hands on the patient in a fit of rage. The victim of this physical abuse is hurt and scared but can unfortunately be physically and/or mentally incapable of putting a stop to it alone. This leads to repeated abuse that seldom comes to an end unless another family member steps in to protect their loved one. Sexual Abuse: Just as physical abuse, a victim of sexual abuse can be incapable of calling for help or sometimes not given the ability to do so in those sheltered nursing homes. Staff can wrongly take advantage of their power and sexually abuse a patient living in one of these homes or facilities. Psychological Abuse: Psychological abuse can take many forms, but a saddening example is when a staff member knows that a patient has a cognitive condition and plays with the patient's mind. Whether that be tricking a resident into doing silly things just for kicks, or messing with a resident's vulnerable emotions, the only person this type of abuse is okay with is the wrongdoer and it should not be going on. Neglect: This type of abuse is when a resident deserves and requires a certain level of care, comfort, or attention, and does not receive it. This leads to bed sores that no one cares about, feelings of hunger that last all day, a dry mouth, uncomfortable weight loss, emotional distress, and much, much, more. The most upsetting part about all of this is that, often times, no one even gives a second look at the neglected resident; yet another form of neglect. Financial Exploitation: It's less common to see a solid case of financial exploitation, but as you can imagine, a home or facility that is solely out for profit will find ways to sneak it in. They might bill a resident for 3 checkups when there was really only 1, or charge a higher price for a certain medication than what it's worth. It's not easy to catch financial exploitation, but if you suspect any monetary wrongdoing on the organization's end, there is help out there. SPEAK WITH NURSING HOME ABUSE ATTORNEY IN THE CLEARWATER & TAMPA BAY AREA FOR FREE We know that sometimes life gets the best of you and it's hard to find time to check in on your loved ones when they're at a home or facility. Just like we all would, you'd love to think that they are getting the best treatment possible where they are residing. Often times, this can be true—however, the number of abuse cases has been steadily growing for an unknown reason. Families with loved ones in a nursing home or assisted living facility should therefore make a better effort to check in on their loved ones regularly and ensure everything is going smoothly and that he or she is happy with the way things are going. Don't forget that transferring to a different home or facility is as easy as it was getting into the first one, and that is always an option. If you or a loved one is currently the victim of managed care abuse, or you're suspecting that a family member is being abused at the home or facility which they reside currently, please contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA immediately for assistance. We have experienced attorneys standing by to talk you through your options and ensure that your loved one is receiving the treatment and care that they deserve. When it comes to their well-being and quality of life, you simply cannot settle for less. Call us today at 727-451-6900. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 727-451-6900


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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