Choosing to move an elder you love into a nursing home is never an easy decision for families. You look for the perfect facility that will provide the care your loved one deserves. Learning of their abuse is devastating and incites anger, guilt, and a host of other negative emotions. Fortunately, Florida law permits you to take action against the nursing home and/or the caregiver responsible for abusing your loved one. A Miami nursing home abuse lawyer can review your case and advise you on the best course of action for you and your loved one. These skilled attorneys have the expertise to fully manage your case and secure maximum compensation for your loved one, allowing you to dedicate your full attention to securing your loved one’s safety and medical treatment.
When Should I Call a Miami Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer?
You should call a Miami nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as you suspect or know a loved one has suffered abuse, but you need to prioritize their safety first. If you know or suspect your loved one has been abused in a nursing home, you need to stop the abuse and ensure their safety. Immediately contact the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) through their 24-hour elder abuse hotline (1-800-962-2873). This initiates an investigation within 24-hours of filing a report. DCF will determine if abuse occurred and help facilitate the next steps. To hold the facility accountable, you also need to file a complaint with the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (ACHA). You can contact them at 1-888-419-3456 or visit their website to file a complaint.
A nursing home abuse attorney can help you with these steps, providing compassionate guidance and ensuring that these agencies follow through with their investigations. Your main focus should be on ensuring that your loved one is moved to a safe place and receives the prompt medical attention they need–let us handle the rest.
Different Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse refers to a wide range of purposeful and neglectful actions that harm a resident. Florida law refers to three specific activities that fall under the scope of abuse:
- Intentional emotional or physical harm
- Intentional acts that will likely lead to harm
- Actively encouraging others to physically or emotionally harm another
When people think of abuse, they typically think of intentional acts of harm. In the context of nursing home abuse, neglect is also a form of unintentional abuse. Neglect is the failure to provide care, supervision, or medical attention to a resident. For example, the failure to provide residents with personal grooming items, healthy meals, water, and medication falls under the category of neglect. The failure to report physical, emotional, or financial abuse of another resident also qualifies as neglect.
Common Types Of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse can take several common forms.
Physical Abuse In A Nursing Home
This occurs when a nursing home staff member uses physical force against your loved one in some way. Often, staff members will hurt the patient in a way that does not leave visible injuries or that can be hidden over the patient’s clothes.
Mental/Emotional Abuse In A Nursing Home
This abuse is often verbal, but may include restricting the patient’s access to loved ones. Often, staff members will attempt to isolate a resident, belittle them, or treat them as incompetent, even though they may still have much of their mental capability.
Sexual Abuse In A Nursing Home
Unfortunately more common than you might expect, this occurs when a staff member forces sexual contact (including contact with the breasts or anus as well as the genitals) on a senior resident in the nursing home.
Neglect In A Nursing Home
Neglect takes place when nursing home staff members fail to meet the needs of the patient in a timely, effective manner. Medical neglect may occur when staff members fail to provide or seek needed medical care for a patient. Staff members are often more likely to neglect to provide a patient with food, water, or basic hygiene support.
What Are the Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?
If you suspect your loved one has been abused in a Miami nursing home but are unsure, you can look for common warning signs of nursing home abuse. They include physical clues, emotional clues, and clues that indicate financial abuse. Physical signs of abuse include bedsores, bruises, cuts, wounds, welts, and burns. Your loved one might also appear abnormally pale and show evidence of malnutrition and/or poor hygiene.
Behavior can indicate nursing home abuse, especially when behavior strays from how your loved one acts typically. Some examples of behaviors that could indicate nursing home abuse include confusion, disorientation, withdrawal from social activities at the facility, excuses for wounds that don’t make sense, fear of speaking to you in front of nursing home staff, and talk of self-harm, suicide, or dying.
If you suspect nursing home staff has been financially abusing your loved one, you must look for specific financial warning signs. You might notice missing valuables such as cash or jewelry, and you might find unexplained debit or credit cards charges if your loved one keeps cards in their room. Changes in address and changes in a credit rating can also indicate someone could be using their information to open up fraudulent accounts.
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Who Is Responsible for Injuries from Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse cases are complex and sometimes include multiple parties. If one or more staff cause injuries, they are responsible for them. However, caregivers are employed by the facility. When it comes to financial liability, the nursing care facility or the corporation that owns the facility is often liable. Nursing home abuse often occurs because of poor training, poor staffing, and various other poor management practices.
Most often, the nursing home bears responsibility for the actions of its staff members, including times when the staff may commit an act of abuse or negligence against the residents. Nursing homes must watch over their staff members and ensure adequate oversight to prevent instances of abuse, especially for patients who may not have the ability to speak up for themselves.
Others, however, may also be responsible for abuse in a nursing home. For example, if the nursing home uses a staffing agency that fails to fully vet its employees before sending them to work with vulnerable nursing home residents, and nursing home residents suffer abuse or neglect as a result, the staffing agency may bear responsibility for the actions of its employees. If a doctor employed by a nursing home fails to provide adequate care or to report signs of abuse, that doctor may share responsibility for the injuries your loved one sustained.
A Miami nursing home abuse lawyer can help you learn more about who may share liability for your loved one’s abuse.
How Can A Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Help?
If you or a loved one experienced abuse in a nursing home, you should contact a Miami nursing home abuse attorney as quickly as you can to learn more about your loved one’s right to compensation. A lawyer can:
- Help prove abuse or neglect. Often, nursing homes will try to cover their tracks, especially in cases of ongoing neglect that have impacted multiple patients. A lawyer can help ensure that you have the evidence you need to protect your loved one in the future and pursue the compensation your loved one deserves.
- Put together a highly effective claim that will establish the compensation your loved one deserves for the abuse suffered at the hands of nursing home staff members.
- Provide you with a comprehensive breakdown of what to expect as you handle your nursing home abuse claim.