Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in St. Augustine FL
It’s pretty much unfathomable to visualize an elderly person being mistreated or being neglected in a nursing home. In many cases, when neglect happens in assisted living facilities, the affected persons are often unable to express their experiences. Unfortunately, neglect and physical or mental abuse often goes unnoticed in assisted living because the affected individuals have limited ability to communicate. Legal guidelines are set up in the State of Florida to safeguard senior citizens living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Farah & Farah’s experienced elder law attorneys can assist you or your family member to ensure that they are compensated for injuries or suffering. Justice is important whenever mistreatment or neglect of a family member or friend occurs, and our firm realizes that. If your loved one was mistreated, abused or neglected while in a nursing home in Florida, contact us immediately with your questions and concerns. Our number is 904-549-6302 … contact us for a free consultation.
How To Become Aware of Mistreatment in Nursing Home Facilities
In many cases, nursing home abuse and neglect continues because those suffering are unable to communicate what is happening. Family members and relatives may be hesitant to report the abuse because they are unaware of remedies that are available. Here are some examples of various types of abuse that you should be aware of:
- Injuries that have not been documented or can’t be explained: When your family member seems to have bruises, cuts, or lacerations, this might indicate an abusive situation.
- Bruises: It’s important to pay attention to the location of bruises, because that can sometimes indicate rough treatment or abuse. Older people can bruise more easily, and nursing home staff should be trained to minimize the possibility of bruising whenever patients are being handled. For example, if you see bruises along the arms or thighs, that may suggest your family member was handled roughly or was restrained without a legitimate reason.
- Bedsores and pressure sores: Many people in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are bedridden due to their physical condition. For these people it is very important that staff members reposition and turn their bodies every few hours to prevent bedsores from forming and becoming infected. Bedsores are a common occurrence of nursing home neglect.
- Significant or unexplained weight loss: If your family member has experienced rapid weight loss without any obvious explanation, it may be caused by insufficient diet or that the person’s nutritional needs are not being met.
- Good hygiene: Keeping patients and their surroundings clean is the responsibility of the nursing home. Patients should be bathed regularly and have clean clothes and clean bedding. Patient living areas and surroundings should also be kept clean and free of dirt and debris. Flooring and carpeting throughout nursing homes and assisted living facilities should also be kept clean.
- Bleeding, blood stains & bloody clothing: If you notice blood on or around your family member, mistreatment is likely. It could also be an indication of sexual abuse, although those instances are infrequent.
- Incidents involving accidental slips or falls: Nursing homes are responsible for providing and maintaining handrails and walking ramps wherever appropriate, to minimize that chances that elderly people will accidentally slip or fall.
- Usage of chemicals for restraint: Various chemicals and medications are sometimes used in senior living facilities where physical abuse has been reported. Some staff members at nursing homes use larger than normal doses of medications to subdue patients who are exhibiting aggressive behavior. Large doses of medicine can be dangerous and cause adverse interactions with other medications. This behavior can affect the patient’s health and well-being, including the possibility of death.
Laws Governing Florida Nursing Home Facilities
Staff members hired by the nursing homes and other elder care facilities are required to conduct themselves in accordance with the Florida Department of Health, or FDH. Prior to employment at a nursing home facility, staff members are required to undergo a minimum number of instructional hours, depending on their exact position. All of these facilities are required to have on the premises a registered nurse, a physician, and a dietary professional or nutritionist. Employees are required to provide proof of immunization, and are required to pass a criminal background check. People in elder care facilities must have access to emergency care, psychological counseling, and medications. They also have the right to nutritious meals, regular exercise and social & community activities with other residents, physical activity, and the right to a peaceful living environment. If any employee violates the rules of the facility, they must be reported immediately and reprimanded. All individuals at nursing homes and assisted living facilities have the right to live in a clean environment. Residents should have access to clean dining facilities and restrooms. Heating and air conditioning is required throughout the facilities, and residents must have access to hot water and clean drinking water. Assisted living facilities must also have a pest control program in place.
Legal Repercussions of Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home abuse or neglect in Florida can be subject to civil or criminal lawsuits. If an employee is accused of abusive behavior or patient neglect, and a subsequent investigation indicates that no abuse or neglect occurred, the accused employee will not be punished.
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are required to fix or remedy any problems of abuse or neglect that are discovered. Failure to do so can place them at risk of civil or criminal penalties, and they can be forced to shut down.
What To Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
Contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer immediately. Attorneys who specialize in elder law can answer your questions and counsel you about the best way to proceed. Contact one of Farah & Farah’s attorneys today at 904-549-6302 to schedule a free consultation.