Helpful Videos for Victims of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing Home Abuse Victims
Nursing homes and various assisted living facilities are set up across the nation in order to aid the elderly when they can no longer fully take care of themselves. But despite the caring nature of these facilities, there are many staff members and nursing personnel who choose to abuse or neglect residents in a variety of ways. Often, these instances of abuse go unreported and unnoticed by relatives and can continue for years, victimizing many elderly residents across Florida.
Elder abuse can be emotional, physical, sexual, and financial in nature, and can also come in the form of neglect, leaving many elderly residents in unhealthy and dangerous conditions. Whether abuse comes from an intention to harm elders, an uncaring nature, or poor staffing and facility conditions, all are illegal and have the potential to cause pain and suffering and shorten lives.
Elder abuse (physical, sexual, financial and emotional) is widely underreported.
Elder Neglect and Nursing Home Abuse
When decisions are made to place an elderly parent or grandparent in a nursing home, it’s always with the best intentions. The brochures paint a wonderful picture of strolls on the grounds, companionship, and warm, caring professionals there to meet every single need. It would be nice if we could count on that kind of care. But reality shows some nursing home residents live every day in a nightmare – isolated, ignored, physically and mentally abused, stripped of their dignity, and lacking the most basic care.
Because nursing home abuse is hard to recognize and is usually covered up by nursing home staff, victims and their families can benefit greatly from the assistance of our nursing home abuse lawyers. Our attorneys know how to recognize and prove abuse and neglect. If you have a loved one who is suffering from nursing home abuse, we can make it right. We care about your case and our nursing home abuse attorneys will do their best to make sure your family member is never harmed again. Contact a Jacksonville nursing home abuse attorney at Farah & Farah now because every second counts.
- Nursing Home Abuse
- Senior Care Abuse
- Assisted Living Facilities – Abuse and Neglect
- Nursing Home Abuse Statistics
- How Does Your Nursing Home Rate?
Nursing home abuse and neglect is now a widespread and growing epidemic. It’s a product of poor employee screening and training, and just plain negligence from nursing home owners who care more about making money than providing a pleasant existence for the elderly.
We also have a team of investigators and research professionals who know how to recognize and prove abuse. We use our resources to track down former nursing home employees and research state records. Our Jacksonville personal injury lawyers analyze staffing logs and hire photographic investigators to help build a strong case against the offending facility. Contact our offices to schedule an appointment with our nursing home abuse legal team.
The abuse of senior citizens, either by hired caretakers or their own family members, is an unfortunately frequent occurrence. Abuse may take an active form and involve hitting, punching, kicking, restraining, or sexually assaulting an elder. Or, it may also occur in the passive form–failing to provide adequate nutrition, medical care, hygiene, and sufficient activity. Emotional abuse may involve isolating or verbally berating the senior. Senior care abuse is a serious issue that can have dire consequences for the victim and the rest of their family. If you suspect that someone you love is a victim of senior care abuse, please contact our nursing home abuse lawyers in Jacksonville, Florida today.
Medication Errors in the Nursing Home
Another serious contributor to nursing home neglect can be medication errors that threaten the safety of nursing home residents in Jacksonville. Medication errors are a preventable occurrence, but they happen with alarming frequency and with tragic outcomes. It was estimated in one study that over 800,000 medication errors occur every year in nursing homes and long care facilities. The National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention defines medication errors as a “preventable event that has the potential to cause harm to a patient while the medication is in control of a healthcare professional”.
Medication errors are usually caused by one of the following factors:
- Human error
- Faulty documentation
- Poor communication
- Chronic understaffing
- Lack of supervision
- Lack of proper medical training
When these factors occur, they can have tragic results for the elderly who entrust their well being to these facilities. A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General found that 37% of all harmful events that occurred in a nursing home were related to medication errors, and that 40% of these errors were completely preventable.
Despite the frequency with which these situations occur, there are well-documented cases that have been successfully prosecuted. In 2016, a nursing home in Alabama was the source of a class C felony, as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) pleaded guilty to reckless abuse of a protected person. Through negligence, the LPN had administered a large dose of narcotic pain medication to a female resident of the nursing home, instead of the simple cough syrup they were supposed to receive. Instead of immediately notifying the administration of the facility, she attempted to cover up the mistake by changing the resident’s medical record. A nurse on a later shift discovered the patient in a condition of acute distress and was fortunately able to act quickly enough to save the person’s life.
The most common type of medication error to look for is ‘dose omission’, which accounts for approximately 44% of all mistakes. Residents with complex medication history and usage can be especially at risk of medication errors as it is easier for a nurse to miss a particular dose. Other types of medication errors include:
- Wrong medication given
- Failure of nursing home staff to monitor resident following treatment
Insufficient staffing is one of the primary contributing factors to medication errors. Nursing home corporations have long been aware of the studies which indicate that a higher ratio of licensed nurses to residents is a simple and effective way to minimize errors in medication distribution, and reduce harm done to patients. Unfortunately, some nursing homes choose to ignore this information, and continue to run their facilities understaffed.
If any of these errors in medicine distribution occur, the consequences for your loved one could be severe. Ultimately, if you feel that a loved one in Jacksonville has suffered from medication errors as a form of nursing home neglect, getting into contact with a personal injury attorney is the first step to take.
Assisted living facilities serve older residents who need help with some daily activities, such as cooking, dressing, or taking medications; but for whom maintaining a level of independence is important. Assisted living facilities do not provide the same amount of attention and care as nursing homes, but do offer help to seniors who are in between the stages of being fully independent and needing nursing home care.
Unfortunately, abuse sometimes occurs at such facilities. The abuse may be physical (i.e. hitting, kicking, punching), sexual, or even financial. Abusers may also intentionally overmedicate residents. If you or a loved one has been the victim of assisted living abuse, it is important to seek help from one of the nursing home abuse attorneys at Farah & Farah in Jacksonville, Florida. Not only do you and your family deserve compensation, but by filing a lawsuit, you may be able to prevent future abuse at the facility.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reports that more than 91 percent of American nursing homes are insufficiently staffed. What this study (sponsored by the federal government) also revealed is that an astonishing 40 percent of nursing homes would have to hire 50 percent more staff in order to comply with the minimal standards set by the government.
The sad reality is that, in many cases, fast food restaurants are offering higher wages than nursing homes typically pay. This low pay and chronic understaffing has led to nursing home abuse and neglect claim investigations across the country.
A program created by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is now posting on the Internet detailed information about the quality of care delivered by nursing home facilities in the United States. The ratings are based on an evaluation of each resident at least every 90 days, and they rate the facilities in nine “quality measures” adjusted for patient severity. These new ratings can be found at Medicare’s website here. Other detailed Florida nursing home information may be found on the site of the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration located here.
Steps You Can Take To Stop Nursing Home, Assisted Living, and Senior Abuse in Jacksonville
Preventing, discovering, and stopping elder abuse requires observation, vigilance, the collection of evidence, and taking action. If you have an elderly loved one living under another’s care, you need to do the following:
- Visit often: Try to make your visits unannounced and at different times of the day. Learn when staff shifts change and try to visit during each shift. On each visit, spend some time alone with the elderly person, when no staff members are around and they are free to talk. During this time, ask the elderly person about their treatment. Also, observe their behavior around different caregivers and take notice if they seem frightened or withdrawn around certain people. Take notice of any unexplained bruises, cuts, or bedsores. Also take note of any missing personal items. Gently, but assertively, question caregivers about anything you find troubling.
- Document everything*: Use your phone to take a picture of your elderly loved one at every visit so you can notice subtle changes in weight, disposition, and overall health. Take pictures of any injuries you find, and make sure you keep a written record of when those pictures were taken. You should also take a picture of, or write down, the medications they are taking, and the doses, and ask a pharmacist or doctor if there are any conflicts.
- If possible, become a co-signer on the elderly person’s bank accounts. Having joint accounts will allow you to monitor your loved one’s finances so you can see if there are any unexplained withdrawals or purchases.
- Remove the elderly person from the caregiver or facility if you think their life or health is in serious danger. Report the abuse to the appropriate agency: National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), Adult Protective Services (APS), Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), Medicaid Fraud Control Units (MFCU), The Florida Department of Elder Affairs.
- Contact a qualified Jacksonville nursing home abuse attorney: Hiring an attorney to represent you and your elderly loved one is vital in putting an end to elderly abuse. While government and advocacy agencies may move rather slowly, a lawsuit can immediately hit the abusive party (individual or facility) where it counts—in the wallet. Many times an elderly person is unable to speak, or afraid to speak, about abuse and neglect. In such a case, it is your duty to be their voice and consulting an attorney is a great way to get that voice heard.
The Elder Abuse Claims Process
Once we’ve seen your documentation* and investigated your case, we will file the necessary documents in civil court. The defendant will then be notified of the charges. In most cases, the accused person or institution will want to reach a financial settlement, and request that our firm meet with their lawyers. They will do this because it will save them all the bad publicity and expense of going to trial. We will only settle if you agree to settle and agree with the amount and terms of the settlement. If we need to go to trial, we will have expert medical witnesses on hand to testify about how the abuse led to the plaintiff’s injuries. Damages in an elder abuse claim can include medical bills, medications, pain and suffering, compensation for monetary losses, punitive damages, and more.
While a civil claim can’t get the defendant’s licenses and certificates revoked, the surrounding publicity of the civil claim can prompt authorities to take notice and possibly file criminal charges.
Statute of Limitations
The Florida statute of limitations for elder abuse claims to be filed is two years. However, in some cases, the statute of limitations may be extended if intentional misrepresentation or fraudulent concealment prevents victims and their families from discovering the abuse or neglect. In such a case, the statute of limitations can be extended to no more than six years. The beginning of the statute of limitations can be determined to begin at any of these three points:
- When the abuse or neglect occurred
- When the victim or the victim’s representatives learned that an existing injury was caused by abuse or neglect
- Or when the victim or the victim’s family should have reasonably been aware that abuse or neglect was the cause of the victim’s injury
Contact Our Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys in Jacksonville, Florida
The law team of Jacksonville nursing home abuse attorneys at Farah & Farah are dedicated to protecting the state’s elderly population and preventing further harm from those who choose to use their position to exploit those they are meant to aid.
When it comes to nursing home abuse cases, we are driven by our own sense of humanity and an obligation to protect those who can’t take care of themselves. Each of the nursing home abuse lawyers and elder neglect attorneys at our Jacksonville personal injury law office is committed to holding those responsible for elder abuse accountable for their actions. If you suspect someone you love may be the victim of elder abuse, contact us today.
Recent Nursing Home Abuse Verdicts and Settlements:
- $450,000 Recovery – Nursing Home Abuse Case Resulting in Bed Sores
- $275,000 Recovery – Nursing Home Abuse Case Resulting in a Stage 3 Heel Ulcer
Note: All cases are based on their own facts, so results will vary. Results are before attorney’s fee, costs, and expenses. Most cases result in a lower recovery. It should not be assumed that your case will have as beneficial a result.