Elder Law | Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Protect Your Loved Ones
Experienced Attorneys in Elder Law and Nursing Home Abuse cases
If you or someone you love has been affected by nursing home abuse or neglect, contact the Florida nursing home abuse attorneys at Bogin, Munns & Munns. We provide comprehensive and innovative personal injury representation throughout Florida. Unfortunately, neglect and abuse in a nursing home happens on a daily basis. In cases of a life-threatening emergency, call 911 immediately. Reports of abuse or suspected abuse can be made with the Florida Department of Children and Families’ Adult Protective Services or a local Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines elder abuse as, “an intentional act, or failure to act, by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult,” where an older adult is defined as someone at least 60 years of age. Elder abuse comes in many forms, and does not need to be violent in nature. Elder abuse includes:
Neglect – Lack of care including failure to keep the older person from harm, or failing to maintain the older person’s health and hygiene
Physical Abuse – Intentionally causing pain or injury to the older person through physical force, including but not limited to hitting, scratching, kicking, and shoving
Sexual Abuse – Engaging in sexual activity (either physically or non-physically) without consent of the older person, and includes any sexual activity with older persons who are not competent or able to give consent
Psychological / Emotional Abuse – Any verbal or non-verbal abuse that causes the older person to experience mental distress, anguish, or fear, including but not limited to isolation and humiliation
Financial Abuse – Unauthorized, improper or illegal use of the older person’s resources for the benefit of someone else, including but not limited to theft, coercion, fraud, or forgery
When considering the topic of elder abuse and the people who are likely to commit elder abuse, many may first think of hired caregivers. In other words, professionals who abuse their position and those in their charge. However, the NCEA reports the most likely perpetrators of elder abuse are the adult children of the victims themselves. Statistically, the abusers are more likely to be male, socially isolated, unemployed, have been in trouble with the law, have health problems (either physically or mentally), and have a history of substance abuse. The Journal of General Internal Medicine found that family members are the most likely caregivers to financially exploit their aging loved one. For those guilty of physical abuse, one report funded by the US Dept. of Justice found that 57% of perpetrators were the abused person’s spouse or partner.
Nursing home abuse is a much larger problem than once thought. Findings from one research brief presented by the NCEA found that over half of nursing home employees questioned admitted to some form of elder abuse, including psychological abuse, neglect, or physical violence. Signs of nursing home abuse can include:
- Bruising and cuts
- Broken or fractured bones
- Refusing to eat or take medicine
- Change in mental status
- Mood swings
- Unexplained weight loss
- Bed sores
- Lack of hygiene
How do you protect your loved ones from nursing home neglect and abuse?
Be Present: Nursing home residents who have regular visitors are less likely to suffer from nursing home abuse.
Be Perceptive: When visiting your loved one in a nursing home, remain aware of your surroundings and take note of any changes in the condition of your loved one. Is the nursing home well-staffed? Are conditions sanitary and maintained? Does your loved one have any bruises or marks indicating possible abuse? Has their attitude or personality changed recently?
Be Persistent: If you have questions about your loved one’s care or treatment by nursing home staff, make sure you get answers. Do not be afraid to hire an attorney, especially if the nursing home refuses to give you answers. A nursing home abuse attorney can help cut through the red tape and get you and your loved one the results you deserve!
Be Unpredictable: Be sure to make unexpected visits to your loved ones. Try to visit them at different times of day and on different days of the week.
Victims may also fear of retaliation or reprisal from their abuser if they tell anyone. With the majority of abusers being family members, many victims may be unwilling to report neglect and abuse because they don’t want their caregiver to face the consequences.
If you or a loved one has been involved a nursing home abuse claim, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain, suffering and inconvenience damages
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional trauma
- Household expenses
Data collected from the NCOA, True Link Financial, the NCEA, the CDC, Newsbug, the Dept. of Justice, Forbes Online, Nursing Home Abuse Guide, AllLaw, Lawyers Connect, FindLaw, ABC News, and Florida DCF. Sources accurate as of Dec. 27, 2016.
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