Elder abuse is by far one of the most heart wrenching topics we hear on the news in Florida. The unfortunate part about it is the fact that the horrific practice is common and gets reported only in a small percentage of suspected cases. While many nursing home and assisted living facilities are well run by professional and caring individuals, there exists large amount with numerous violations, including physical and sexual abuse, neglect, medication errors, unsanitary conditions and more.
In many cases the abuse goes unnoticed by the family of the patient because they do not know the signs to look for. Of course no one at the nursing home, where the abuse occurs, is going to train the family members in recognizing those signs. With proper basic training into elder abuse, families and friends of victims can take corrective measures for the sake of their loved ones well-being.
In 2010 Governor Charlie Crist signed into law a measure that requires criminal background checks for anyone who wants to work in a nursing home. Prior to that, there were upwards of 3500 individuals with criminal backgrounds working in or close to the facilities, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Who is to say that the already duplicitous facilities bothered to abide by that rule? It is difficult to find caregivers for a nursing home without paying an adequate salary unless you hire those that are desperate. Some facility operators care about nothing but profit and will cut any corner for the sake of the bottom line.
The Law Regarding Care
Florida law requires that all nursing homes employ an experienced staff of qualified professionals. All must be qualified under the strict legal standards of Florida to perform their specific duties. Residents are required to receive regular nutritious meals, exercise, social interaction, proper medication, mental health care, and are entitled to a life free from abuse of any kind. Any violations of the law should be reported to one of the agencies that oversee elder care found at the website of Nursing Home Patients’ Rights.
In addition to the basic needs being provided, it is also required by law to provide sanitary conditions to all residents which are defined as clean clothing, clean and regularly changed linens, dirt free, sanitized living quarters with ample light and safety features. In addition, heat and air conditioning and heated water of a safe temperature need to be provided.
Some signs to look for in a patient that you may feel is being abused are:
- Unexplained injuries such as broken bones, cuts, scrapes, bruises and marks. Note: Patients may be afraid to be truthful for fear of further abuse or punishment as retaliation.
- Unsanitary living conditions. Dirty linens, clothing, bathroom facilities, a smell of bodily functions or perspiration in the room.
- Bed sores or pressure ulcers
- Unexplained weight loss, hunger and dehydration
- Severe infection or sepsis
- Depression or withdrawal.
- Over sedation or medication or the lack of same.
- Money or possessions missing.
- Blood stained or torn clothing
- Staff members denying or delaying visitation.
- Injuries supposedly caused by wandering off.
- Injuries attributed to another resident
If you or anyone notices any of the above conditions, report the problem immediately. Make notes of when, how often, what location, (patient room, dining hall, etc.) the type of suspected abuse and the name and position of the person or persons suspected of the abuse.
We Are Here to Help
If you have a loved one who was abused and suffered in a nursing home, contact a nursing home abuse lawyer right away. If the person passed away after suffering abuse or is still living, there could be substantial compensation due for their pain and suffering. At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA our nursing home abuse attorneys our here to defend and protect the rights of the elderly. There is no cause closer to our hearts. If you feel your loved one was abused in an elder care facility call us today for a free consultation with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765