Watching a beloved family member age is difficult for those who care most about them. When they are no longer able to live in their own home and care for themselves, a nursing home may become the only option. Despite the best of intentions and efforts, sometimes a nursing home is not the picture perfect environment it appears on the surface.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse can appear in a wide variety of forms including:
- Physical abuse – which can range from withholding nutrition, inflicting pain or harm, failing to prevent bedsores, refusing basic hygiene care, or keeping necessary support items unavailable.
- Sexual abuse – any unwanted sexual advances or nonconsensual encounters. This can include any contact made with someone incapable of giving consent.
- Emotional abuse- this is causing emotional upset or harm, threatening, bullying, or otherwise causing fear and intimidation on the part of the elder. Read the rest »
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly two million Americans live in long-term care facilities. While most nursing homes strive to care for their patients, abuse and neglect against the elderly happens. Knowing your rights or that of a loved one can help you protect against elder abuse.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse is intentionally inflicting injuries, unreasonable confinement, deprivation of care or services, punishment that results in physical pain, harm, or mental anguish. Abuse is neglect that is defined as a failure, intentional or not, to give patients with the care and services essential to ensure freedom from harm or pain, failures to react to potential dangerous situations, or putting patients in potentially dangerous situations that result in patient harm or distress. Seniors who have aphasia, the inability to talk, are at the highest risk for abuse and it is critical for staff and families to be advocates for these patients. Read the rest »
We handle many nursing home cases involving elderly people with dementia. One thing we’ve noticed with this terrible disease: no matter what kind of dementia someone has, it affects their ability to live a normal, healthy life.
People with dementia can have trouble controlling their balance, so they’re vulnerable to getting hurt in falls or other injuries. Many dementia sufferers also have problems communicating, so they’re often unable to let someone know they’re hurt. Read the rest »
Elder abuse is one of the least recognized forms of violence today. With an aging Baby Boomer population, the number of seniors expected to go into the nation’s nursing homes is expected to go way up. If you plan to trust your loved one to the care of a nursing home or assisted living facility in Florida, it’s important to know and understand the types of potential abuse, exploitation, and fraud seniors might encounter.
There are several forms of abuse that senior citizens can deal with in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. The most common types of abuse are physical, sexual, emotional, and financial. Over-medication, undernourishment, and neglect are also abuse. Read the rest »
The Florida Senate Judiciary Committee, by a seven-two vote, has passed a senate bill (SB 1384), which would make it more difficult to seek punitive damages when suing nursing homes.
Under SB 1384, a judge would be needed to give his or her permission before a plaintiff can seek punitive damages. Also the judge would be required for a more detailed hearing to look at the evidence presented to see if the claim is admissible. Supporters of the bill contend that evidence offered for punitive damages claims is often hearsay and can lead to “frivolous” lawsuits. Read the rest »
Jacksonville elder abuse attorney Eddie Farah recently ran across an article in Health News Florida that seems almost inconceivable: One in five nursing homes are on the state of Florida’s “Watch List” for not meeting state standards, or for not making corrections quickly enough.
Incredibly, out of the 140 nursing homes on the watch list, twelve of them have been on the list for 100 days or more, according to Families for Better Care, a citizen advocacy agency. Read the rest »
After a week-long civil trial, a West Palm Beach jury has awarded the widow of a man who died as a result of neglect at the Lake Worth Manor nursing home $1,775,000 million in damages. According to The Palm Beach Post, it is one of the state’s largest awards ever in a nursing home case.
The family sued Lake Worth Manor (now called Oasis) in 2010, after they discovered a litany of abuses heaped upon the 72-year-old resident. During his 63-day stay in 2008, he lost more than 30 pounds and developed severe pressure sores on his buttocks and heels. He was moved out of the home two weeks before he died. Read the rest »
A new federal report says that a volunteer office that is a watchdog for assisted living facilities and nursing homes in Florida has been corrupted by politics and industry as well as interference from the governor’s office.
The U.S. Administration on Aging investigated the firing of the head of the Florida Long-term Care Ombudsman Program. In a 31-page report issued Thursday, September 1, the agency found the volunteers are unable to do their job of protecting the state’s elderly and disabled because they are so hamstrung by politics. The ombudsman was fired even though she had an exemplary review as someone committed to promoting the best care and quality of life for residents. Read the rest »
Are Florida’s nursing homes any safer since the state fired its top watchdog over long-term care facilities? Brian Lee resigned in February from his job as the ombudsman for nursing homes and assisted living facilities after he says he was retaliated against for having high standards. He has now filed a civil lawsuit against the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and two industry groups, the Florida Health Care Association and the Florida Assisted Living Association.
Lee says he was forced to leave a program he loved and left the state’s elderly population vulnerable when nobody was put in his place and protections were dismantled. As an ombudsman, Lee oversaw volunteers who went to long-term-care facilities to investigate complaints by elders. The person put in his place was recommended by the assisted living industry. Lee says Gov. Rick Scott was involved in his firing, despite the fact that his previous performance reviews had been “stellar.” Read the rest »
A newly released report from the Health and Human Services (HHS) inspector general finds that anti-psychotic drugs were being over-prescribed unnecessarily at least 300,000 times between January and June 2007, in some cases leading to the death of a patient with dementia. CBS News reports the study found that 88 percent of the time the federal government through Medicare paid for the anti-psychotic drugs used by nursing homes. Why is that a problem? Drugs such as Seroquel, Risperdal, and Zyprexa were approved for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and not for the elderly suffering from dementia. In 2005, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration placed a black box warning notice alerting caregivers to a risk of increase in sudden death when used on the elderly suffering from dementia.
Senator Charles Grassley requested the Office of Inspector General (OIG) evaluate how often elderly nursing home residents were given atypical anti-psychotic drugs and what Medicare was paying for the off-label use for dementia. Medicare is supposed to be reimbursed only for medically accepted indications. The study found: Read the rest »