Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in Gainesville FL
You entrusted a Gainesville area nursing home to take care of your dear elderly relative, only to discover allegations of neglect, abuse, or other bad treatment. So what are your options? How can you press for justice and compensation? And how can you make sure that your beloved senior is well treated from here on? These issues are obviously too big for any one web essay to tackle, but hopefully these elder abuse FAQs can help you along on your journey to understand your rights.
Examples of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Emotional Abuse – A nursing home staff member refuses to let a resident see friends or family; or makes fun of the resident or demeans him or her.
Physical Abuse – An employee of a nursing home hits, pinches, slaps, kicks, or physically restrains (with undue force) a resident. Alternatively, an employee denies the resident food or medication or overmedicates the resident in order to sedate him or her.
Financial Abuse – A nursing home employee steals from a resident or compels the resident to pay money in exchange for amenities at the home (e.g. such as the "right" to go outside).
Sexual Abuse – A nursing home employee molests or sexually abuses a resident.
How Seriously Should You Take Allegations?
One problem that many family members and friends of nursing home residents have is whether to "believe" allegations made by a senior who has Alzheimer’s disease or early onset dementia. In some cases, a resident may make things up or complain about the conditions just to get attention — or at least, that’s the thinking. But given the potential seriousness of abuse, neglect, and other misconduct, you should take every allegation seriously and contact a Gainesville personal injury lawyer immediately.
What Kind of Records Should I Keep?
Keep meticulous notes, if possible. The first time you hear allegations, write them down. Talk to witnesses and nursing home staff. The more evidence – documents, photographs, etc – that you have, the easier it can be to press for justice later.
It is terrible to think about someone you love being neglected in an assisted living facility. In many cases, older people in these situations have difficulty understanding what is happening to them, and thus they cannot communicate to others what is happening. This is why nursing home abuse or negligence can continue until it is too late. The State of Florida has enacted a number of laws to protect seniorsin nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Farah and Farah’s nursing home abuse lawyers in Daytona Beach represent seniors who have been mistreated in assisted living facilities throughout Florida, and we work hard to make sure they rightfully compensated. Our elder care attorneys understand what it takes to obtain justice in these cases. Email or call one of our nursing home abuse lawyers immediately if your family member or loved one has endured abuse at a nursing care center in Florida.
Uncover Maltreatment in Nursing Care Facilities
Seniors who suffer physical or mental abuse and neglect often have no voice. The harm continues and goes unreported because family members don’t recognize the symptons of abuse, and don’t know how to go about reporting and stopping the mistreatment. Here are some common symptoms of nursing home abuse and neglect:
- Unexplained injuries that haven’t been reported or documented: If your family member has contusions, cuts or other wounds that cannot be adequately explained by nursing home staff members, you should monitor the situation closely for additional signs of abuse.
- Bruising: Where bruises occur is important. For example, if you see bruising on the forearms or the thighs and legs, that may indicate rough treatment, or that restraints may have been placed on them. In general, older people tend to bruise more easily, but staff members should be trained well enough to recognize this fact and take appropriate care to avoid bruising when handling patients.
- Bedsores/Pressure Sores: For older people who are permanently bedridden, it is essential they are moved and repositioned regularly to prevent bedsores. Bedsores are a common indicator of nursing home negligence.
- Weight loss: Substantial, unexplained weight loss is another symptom of neglect. Rapid weight decline is a clear indication that your family member isn’t receiving an appropriate diet and nutrition.
- Cleanliness: It is the nursing home’s responsibility to keep residents clean. If your loved one’s body, clothing or surroundings indicate otherwise, this can be another sign that they are not being taken care of properly.
- Bloody clothing and blood stains: Although rare, sexual abuse remains a threat for weak and elderly patients.
- Slips or falls: Elder care facilities have a responsibility to provide and maintain appropriate ramps and handrails to prevent accidents
- Chemical Abuse: It is not uncommon for elder care centers to mistreat patients with chemical restraints to try to curb aggressive behavior. Higher than normal levels of drugs and medications may often be used to control patients with dementia or with combative behavior. The side effects of high dosages and intermixing of medications can have very serious side effects and long-term consequences.
Florida Nursing Home Laws
Health care staff hired by assisted living facilities are required to conduct themselves in accordance with guidelines established by the Florida Department of Health, or FDH. Educational hours and training are required before anyone can get a job at a senior living care center. One of Florida’s requirements is that every nursing home or elder care facility must have an eligible registered nurse, dietary/nutrition specialist, and doctor present at the location. All employees are required to undergo a criminal background check, and to provide proof of immunizations before being authorized to work, as outlined by Florida law. Residents in convalescent homes are entitled to access to emergency treatment, mental health counseling, and medications. They have a legal right to receive nutritious meals, and the right to participate in community activities within the center. They also have a right to physical exercise and a peaceful living environment. It goes without saying that they should never have to endure mistreatment or neglect. Any circumstance that breaks these rules should be reported by staff members without fear of retribution.
Residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Florida have a right to live in a clean environment. Elderly occupants need clean bathrooms and dining spaces, and these areas must have handrails and ramps where needed. Clean clothes and fresh bedding should be replaced on a regular basis, and resident’s rooms and common areas should be kept clean and free of dirt and debris. Access to hot water is required, and the facility must have heating and air conditioning. Access to clean drinking water is required, and facilities must have regular, appropriate pest control treatments.
Legal Outcomes of Mistreatment in Elderly Living Homes
Nursing home owners and employees who violate these requirements can be subject to criminal charges and civil lawsuits. Employee of nursing home facilities can face civil and felony or misdemeanor criminal charges, if infractions of the laws involving physical or mental abuse and neglect go unreported. In situations where a worker reported a case of negligence, but after an investigation it was determined that no infractions were present, the staff member will not be disciplined. The nursing home ownership entity also falls under the same level of scrutiny for violations. If physical abuse or negligence has been reported and was not corrected, the facility can have substantial criminal or civil penalties imposed, including the possibility of a permanently shutdown.
Don’t hesitate to submit a claim if your relative has suffered physical abuse or neglect at a Gainesville nursing home. Reports of abuse or neglect need to be done within two years from the occurrence, per the statute of Florida law, 492.296. Make contact with a Florida assisted living facility negligence lawyer if you ever need guidance knowing the legal rights given to you or would like to know how to begin the process.
How to Proceed if You Suspect Senior Living Facility Negligence
If you feel abuse and neglect is taking place or are an unwilling recipient of elderly care abuse and neglect, get hold of a trained assisted living facility physical or mental abuse law firm right now. Our practice will be solidly dependable on obtaining adequate reimbursement for casualties of elderly care facility maltreatment in Florida with experience and skill. To examine your case and fulfill your legal needs, contact our nursing home abuse and neglect law firm.
How Can I Rate my Nursing Home?
There are two great websites that evaluate Gainesville area nursing homes. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services runs a fantastic website at https://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/search.html?. The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration also runs a great website at www.fdhc.state.fl.us/nursing_home_guide/index.shtml.
How Can I Get Legal Help with a Claim Now? Contact our Gainesville Elder Abuse Attorneys
The Gainesville elder abuse attorneys of Farah & Farah, a Jacksonville-based legal firm with years of experience with nursing home abuse cases, can help you. Call the team right now at (352) 505-8093. Start the legal process, compel the nursing home to pay its due, and ensure that your loved one gets the care he or she deserves.