The elderly are a vulnerable population. This is especially true of those who reside in nursing homes. Many times, residents of nursing homes deal with isolation from family and friends, along with both physical and mental deterioration, which leaves them defenseless against abuse.
Nursing home abuse can occur in a number of ways. While the term “abuse” conjures images of physical violence, the abuse can take other forms other than physical abuse. Emotional and financial abuse are just as common, but can be harder to spot. In addition, caregivers may be negligent in their duties. Examples of this would include giving the wrong medications or incorrect dosages, neglecting hygiene, and failing to monitor residents.
Nursing Home Regulations
Nursing homes in Florida are required1 to have at least one nurse, one physician, and one dietician on staff. In addition, nursing home residents have basic rights of healthy meals, social activities and exercise, emergency care, mental health counseling, and medication. In addition, residents have the right to live in sanitary conditions, which include clean living areas, rooms, bathrooms, and the kitchen. Also included are clean clothes, sheets, and drinking water. Furthermore, there should be air conditioning and heat, as well as proper lighting, to ensure that the residents are comfortable.
Categories of Abuse Neglect
Abuse and neglect can come in any form and look like a wide array of actions. Some common examples include:
- Neglect – This is the most common form of abuse in nursing homes. Neglect occurs when those charged with the care of your loved one do not meet recognized standards of care.
- Psychological Abuse – This type of abuse can be verbal or non-verbal, but it causes a serious detrimental effect in the elderly person. Psychological abuse can take the form of bullying, intimidation, isolation or other forms of harassment.
- Financial Abuse – Financial abuse occurs when those entrusted with oversight of your loved one’s finances take advantage of their role and misuses funds. Financial abuse is more than just stealing funds from your loved one, but can also include delaying bill payment, mismanaging assets and cashing checks without consent.
If you suspect that your loved one may be the victim of nursing home abuse, you must act immediately.
Warning Signs of Potential Nursing Home Abuse
It is important to be able to spot signs of potential nursing home abuse or neglect. While it may be difficult to detect, some common indicators include –
Physical abuse signs:
- Physical Discomfort
- Emotional and social withdrawal
- Changes in moods
- Changes in spending patterns
- Sudden financial problems when none were present before
- Unpaid bills
- Changes in the resident’s will, power of attorney, trust agreement, etc.
- Missing valuables/keepsakes
- Unexplained diseases
- Physical discomfort
- Sudden weight loss
- Issues with medication, like new reactions/side effects
- Unclean sheets, clothes, and/or bathrooms
What To Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
The statute of limitations2 on bringing nursing home abuse lawsuits is 2 years from the date of the abuse or 2 years from the date of its discovery. Because of this short timeframe, it is important that if you suspect abuse, you contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney right away. The attorney will be able to evaluate and better investigate the claim and if substantiated, seek proper compensation for the resident who was abused.
Contact a Clearwater Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer Today for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, contact a Clearwater nursing home abuse and neglect attorney right away. Despite the strict regulations Florida law places on nursing homes, abuse and neglect are all too common. Fortunately, those who have suffered such abuse are not without recourse. Florida law allows victims to recover compensation for injuries and other losses that they may experience as a result of nursing home abuse and neglect. A lawyer familiar with litigating Florida nursing home cases can often help victims recover substantially more compensation than they would be able to retain on their own, so it is highly advisable for anyone injured in an accident to discuss their options with an experienced lawyer.
To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers at Dolman Law Group, call our office today at 727-853-6275 or send us an email through our online contact form.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765