What do I do if I suspect my loved one is being abused?
Everyone has known someone, whether it be an elderly grandparent or a family friend, who was placed in a nursing home at some point during their lives. Typically, the decision is made to put your loved one in a nursing home because they can no longer take care of themselves, and you fear for their health and safety when you are away. According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, there were approximately 73,189 individuals in nursing homes in Florida in 2015 . That’s a pretty large number. These individuals pay a pretty premium with the expectation that once they move into their new homes, they will be taken care of properly. Unfortunately, sometimes residents in these homes fail to get the care they deserve, and are abused by their caretakers. Nursing home abuse is a growing problem, and knowing what to do if you or a loved one is being abused is the first step toward recovery.
What is nursing home abuse?
You may be asking yourself, what is nursing home abuse, and how will I know it when I see it? Nursing home abuse can take many forms. The most obvious is physical abuse. This includes slapping, hitting, pushing, etc. But there are other forms of abuse. Some caretakers may withhold medication, or worse yet, provide the wrong medication.
Some of the possible warning signs of physical abuse may include:
- a caregiver’s reluctance to allow you to be alone with the resident
- injuries that can’t be explained (such as broken bones, sprains, bruises or scars)
- reports of refusals to take medications, or of medication overdoses
- unexpected signs of restraints on the wrists or legs
- signs of neglect (such as weight loss or soiled clothing)
Nursing home abuse is not just limited to physical abuse, however.
It is important to understand that mental abuse is another huge problem in nursing homes, and can be just as dangerous as physical abuse. Residents may be subjected to verbal abuse which includes speaking to the resident using derogatory terms, or even worse, making verbal threats to the resident. These verbal threats can cause a resident, especially an elderly resident, to fear the staff. Verbal abuse causes residents to live in a state of constant fear. This constant fear can have a huge impact on the mental health of a resident.
What should I do if I believe that my loved one is being abused in a nursing home?
The first, and most important step, is remove the resident from the facility. The health and well-being of your loved one should be your top priority. You should move your loved one to a new facility if at all possible. The new nursing home should be located within a close proximity to at least one of the elder’s family members. That’s because the best way to prevent future nursing home abuse is to have a loved one visit the elder regularly; being in close proximity helps make visiting often more likely. Once they are at the new facility, the next step should be to seek out an attorney who can evaluate the situation and potentially assist you and your elderly loved one.
How can an attorney help me with nursing home abuse?
An attorney can meet with you, discuss your situation, and advise you as to your rights and potential cause of action against the nursing home for the abuse they caused. This will usually be done during an initial meeting with the attorney. If the attorney believes that you have a valid claim against the nursing home, he or she will create a file and begin the process towards recovering on your behalf. It is important for you to come to this intake with as much information as possible to help the attorney evaluate your situation. If you have any photographs, bring those with you to the meeting. Make sure you have the name and address of the nursing home where the abuse occurred, and the names of the caretakers if possible. All of this information will be vital to get the ball rolling.
Contact a Florida Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If you or someone you love has been subjected to nursing home abuse, the attorneys at Dolman Law Group may be able to help. The skilled and knowledgeable attorneys at Dolman Law Group may be able to represent you throughout your nursing home abuse case and help you to obtain monetary recovery for you or your loved ones injuries and damages.