Where Can I Find the Best Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys in Big Pine Key, Florida?
Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys in Big Pine Key, Florida
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Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys in Big Pine Key, Florida
Florida is famous as a retirement destination. The state has more people over the age of 65 than any other state, and the reasons are numerous. The subtropical climate boasts 230 days of sunshine per year, it's tax-friendly for retirees, and features over 1,200 miles of coastline with loads of white sand beaches. It's also known for high-quality healthcare and services, which some would say are the best in the world.
Even so, there are always some bad apples with the good. If you're searching for nursing home abuse attorneys in Big Pine Key, FL, you've probably had a serious issue with one or more. Nursing home abuse is on the rise, and while Big Pine Key may not have many nursing homes, you might have had an incident with one on the mainland.
When we give over our loved ones to a facility that's supposed to care for them, that's what we expect. If our trust is broken due to abuse of our loved ones, we expect the guilty party to pay for it both civilly and criminally. Our nursing home abuse attorneys can help you file a lawsuit on behalf of your loved one to punish the abuser and alert the authorities to the abuse.
Morgan & Morgan
What are the seven types of abuse in a nursing home?
Understanding the seven types of nursing home abuse will help to detect it and protect the rights of your family member or loved one. Any kind of abuse can cause severe harm, and the longer it goes on, the more devastating the long-term effects. Here are the most common types of nursing home abuse:
- Neglect of basic needs
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Financial exploitation
- Sexual abuse
Abandonment - Typically, abandonment happens when a family member leaves an elderly relative alone to take care of themselves when they cannot. Yet facilities can do the unthinkable too. In Philadelphia, a nurse in a senior living facility left an elderly patient alone in the lobby of the facility for hours after he fell and suffered a serious head injury. He later died because he didn’t get the medical care he needed.
In California, Valley Spring Manor staff walked out on fourteen patients when the facility was ordered closed for deplorable conditions by the California Department of Social Services. For three days, the patients were cared for by an unpaid janitor and cook, hoping that state staffers would show up and transfer the patients to other facilities. In this case, it was ultimately the state to blame for the botched operation even though the licensee was responsible for the adequate care of its residents.
The New York Times ran an article about an elderly man with dementia who had been dumped by a nursing home with a history of regulatory problems. The man was left at an unregulated boardinghouse without notifying the family. He was found disoriented and lying on a sidewalk. A few nursing home staffers said they were told to clear out less profitable patients for ones that would generate more revenue.
Neglect of basic needs - A form of nursing home abuse occurs when the facility fails to provide basic needs to patients, such as water, food, comfort, and safety. In their vulnerable state, elderly patients can struggle to recover from this kind of neglect. A patient's basic needs can be neglected for many reasons. Some of the most common reasons are as follows:
- Understaffing due to inadequate budget, poor scheduling, employee turnover, or bad facility management
- Caregiver burnout can be the source of neglect if the caregiver is overstressed or overworked
- High turnover can result in insufficient staff training, which may result in neglect of basic needs
- Nursing home employees' personal and mental health issues may cause them to neglect residents.
Regardless of the reasons for the neglect of basic needs, nursing home operators have the legal obligation to deliver a reasonable standard of care to patients. Failure to do so leaves them liable for economic and non-economic damages as a result.
Neglecting basic needs can cause further issues and even lead to death. Personal hygiene is critical to preventing health problems. If a patient is left in dirty or soiled clothes, they can develop skin conditions. If patients aren't receiving food and water, they can suffer from dehydration and weight loss. When patients are left unattended for long periods of time, they may fall trying to make it to the bathroom and lie there injured for hours. Elderly patients are often on medications for health issues. If they don't receive these medications or medications are mixed up, it can have severe consequences for their health.
Physical abuse - Shockingly, over 9% of nursing home staff members admitted to physical abuse of their patients in a 2020 study by the World Health Organization. Physical abuse is when a patient suffers a bodily injury at the hands of staffers. Some signs of physical abuse are bruising, bleeding, unexplained injuries, or broken bones. Sadly, those that are most at risk for physical abuse are those with diseases like Alzheimer's or dementia.
Pushing, shoving, restraining, slapping, punching, or kicking are all examples of physical abuse. Naturally, elderly patients are less able to stand up and protect themselves from being physically abused. In the case of patients with cognitive issues, they may not even be able to express what has happened to them.
Suppose your loved one has marks on their wrists, broken eyeglasses, scars, welts, bruising, or any unexplained injuries. In that case, this could be evidence of physical abuse. It should be reported, and you should file a lawsuit for the abuse.
Emotional abuse - Emotional abuse is just as horrible as other forms of abuse. Still, it's harder to detect and even harder to prove. Emotional abuse is defined as intentional emotional harm through verbal and nonverbal acts. It can lead to low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and feelings of isolation. Some forms of emotional abuse are as follows:
- Intimidating verbal aggression
- Humiliating the patient with embarrassing statements
- Lying about the patient
- Threatening the patient with isolation from others
- Keeping assistive devices out of reach of the patient, such as glasses, walkers, and canes
- Not allowing the patient to make their own decisions
- Intentionally making patients wait a long time for basic needs
- Threatening to harm the patient
Of course, this kind of treatment can cause severe emotional pain, which can impact the patient's outlook on life and overall mental health. Some signs of emotional abuse are avoiding looking the abuser in the eyes, fear, depression, sadness, withdrawal, and reluctance to speak openly.
Financial exploitation - Financial abuse of the elderly is defined as someone illegally or improperly using an elderly person's money for their own purposes and gain. In a nursing home situation, a caregiver or employee may steal cash, forge checks, or use the patient's credit card. Another scenario is if a caregiver tricks the patient into signing over ownership of their home, car, or other possessions. They may coerce the patient into adding them to their bank account, investments, or will.
Signs of financial exploitation can be hard to spot and could be hidden for some time. Here are some indicators that your loved one is being financially abused:
- New names appearing on financial accounts such as bank accounts, credit cards, or investments
- Discovering unpaid bills, past due notices, collection agency notifications, or other notices from creditors even though the patient has enough financial resources
- The patient is suddenly worried or stressed about money
- The transfer of assets to someone other than family
- Suddenly being afraid to spend money on things they used to enjoy
To prevent financial abuse of nursing home patients, family members should familiarize themselves with the nursing home's policies and procedures for handling patients' finances and immediately report any unusual financial activity.
Self-neglect - This form of abuse should not happen in a nursing home. That's why the patient is in the nursing home in the first place. However, nursing home neglect poses a significant risk to the patient's well-being. Contact our nursing home abuse lawyers if you see your loved one with untreated sores, dirty clothes or bed linen, food lying around, or a dirty room.
Sexual abuse - Sexual abuse of the elderly is tragically not uncommon. In 2016, United States Ombudsman programs received 819 reports of sexual abuse. However, it's likely this form of abuse is underreported or goes unnoticed. Women and patients with dementia or most likely to be victims of sexual abuse in nursing homes. While people have a right to engage in consensual sex, their ability to give consent is in question if they have dementia or other mental health issues. Here are some forms of sexual abuse:
- Nonconsensual touching of any kind
- Forced nudity
- Forced viewing of masturbation or pornography
- The taking of sexually explicit photos or videos, including while partially or totally nude
Here are some red flags to be aware of that could indicate nursing home sexual abuse:
- Bruising around inner thighs, genital area, or breasts
- Genital infections or sexually transmitted diseases
- Unexplained genital bleeding, irritation, or pain
- Bloodied, torn, or stained underclothing
- Unexplained difficulty walking or sitting
Even with no apparent signs of sexual abuse, changes in behavior can indicate something is not right such as:
- Sudden withdrawal from social activities
- Acute agitation
- Panic attacks
- Suicide attempts
- Fear or avoidance of specific people or places
- Fear of being left alone
- Fear of the dark
- Increased nightmares or interrupted sleep
Nursing home sexual abuse victims may show odd behavior around their abuser, like being aggressive, arguing, and expressing anxiety or fear when they are around. If your loved one tells you they are being sexually assaulted or raped, believe them and report it.
Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys in Big Pine Key, FL
When your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, the first thing to do is make sure they are safe. Report your concerns to the facility administrator, call 911, call the victim's doctor, local adult protective services, or the local long-term care ombudsman.
You have legal options as well to win compensation for the abuse. Our nursing home abuse attorneys in Big Pine Key, FL, can launch an investigation and assist with getting your loved one into a safe situation. We will work to document the abuse and identify the at-fault party to prove their liability. Our lawyers will develop a figure to cover the physical, emotional, and economic damages and file a claim against the at-fault party.
We realize that a lawsuit will not take away the pain and suffering your loved one has endured. Still, compensation can provide a means to pay for any necessary medical care they need and provide security for their future. Contact us today for a free and confidential case evaluation. We won’t let the abuse of some of society's most vulnerable members go unpunished.