Elder Abuse FAQs Answered by Jacksonville Lawyers
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Most Florida nursing homes work hard to live up to an extensive set of state and federal regulations to provide good care to their residents. When a nursing home fails in its duties, however, abuse or neglect can easily result. Abuse and neglect may be the act of a single staff member, or it may be a pervasive problem within a particular facility or group of facilities. If you suspect your loved one may be the victim of nursing home abuse, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Jacksonville injury attorney at Farah & Farah.
Q: What is nursing home abuse? What is neglect?
A: Abuse occurs when a nursing home resident is treated improperly, often in a way that causes physical, emotional, and/or financial harm. There are several categories of potential abuse.
- Physical abuse includes all types of bodily harm inflicted on an elderly person, including sexual abuse.
- Emotional abuse includes any attempts to harm the elderly person’s sense of safety, security, self-esteem, or emotional comfort. They include insults, threats, belittling statements and even the "silent treatment."
- Mental abuse includes attempts to cause confusion, guilt, disorientation, or other negative mental states. Insults and threats may be part of mental abuse, as well as lying, manipulation, and other types of deception.
- Financial abuse includes attempts to exploit an elderly person’s valuables for personal benefit. It includes stealing, inducing an elderly person to leave their estate to someone they wouldn’t ordinarily choose, and other misuses of money or assets.
Neglect occurs when an elderly person’s basic needs are not met. It may include failure to ensure the person is properly clothed for the weather, failure to ensure the person gets adequate hygiene, food, or medicine, or failure to address medical problems.
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Q: How can I identify or stop abuse or neglect?
A: First, keep a close eye on your elderly loved one and his or her finances. Signs of neglect, like unwashed hair, dirty clothes or bedding, malnutrition, or bed sores can often by detected by observant family or friends. Changes in behavior, such as becoming more forgetful, withdrawn, depressed, or confused, may indicate that the person is suffering various kinds of abuse. A significant red flag should be raised if nursing home staff regularly blames the patient for signs of abuse or neglect, cannot account for bruises, damaged property, or missing valuables, or refuses to let you stay alone with your elderly loved one for any period of time.
If you suspect abuse or neglect, start by asking nursing home staff to explain the situation. You can also contact the Florida Department of Children and Families at 1-800-962-2873 or the Agency for Health Care Administration at 1-561-840-0156. If there is an emergency or you suspect criminal abuse, call 911 or your local emergency number.
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Q: Should I move my loved one out of the nursing home?
A: Moving an elderly person out of a situation in which he or she is likely experiencing abuse or neglect is nearly always the best course of action, especially if you are pursuing a legal claim against the facility. A resident who stays may be subject to continued abuse or neglect, including retaliation for the legal claim.
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Q: What rights do nursing home residents have?
A: Florida law gives nursing home residents several rights, including:
- Reasonable access to health and legal services
- To be transferred or discharged only for medical reasons
- To be free from mental and physical abuse, corporal punishment, seclusion, and physical and chemical restraints
- To be treated courteously, fairly, and with the fullest measure of dignity
- To receive adequate and appropriate health care.
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Jacksonville Elder Abuse Attorneys Committed to Helping the Elderly
The Jacksonville nursing home abuse lawyers at Farah & Farah understand how dangerous abuse of any kind can be for the elderly, which is why we are committed to protecting their rights and preventing abuse from continuing on in the future. If you or a loved one has suffered abuse or neglect by nursing home staff or caretakers, please do not hesitate to contact the authorities and then get in touch with us at (904) 263-4610. We will fight to ensure that the responsible party is held accountable for their wrongdoing.