Elderly individuals who live in nursing homes have a higher risk of being abused than younger, able-bodied adults. This is because nursing home residents are often physically or mentally impaired due to age and illness. Being a victim of abuse can cause an individual’s conditions to worsen rapidly and shorten his or her life expectancy. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, it is your job to be an advocate for him or her.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Nursing home abuse comes in many forms. Neglect is one type of abuse that can be overlooked because unlike more direct forms of abuse, it harms the victim over time. Neglect can be failing to provide a nursing home resident with nutritional food, clean water, medication he or she needs, or hygienic care like changing his or her sheets, bathing him or her, and changing his or her diapers. It can also mean depriving the resident of social interaction or intellectual stimulation.
Other forms of nursing home abuse include:
- Physical abuse, which can mean hitting, kicking, or otherwise physically hurting a victim;
- Sexual abuse, which includes unwanted sexual contact and exposing a victim to pornography;
- Emotional and psychological abuse, which can include belittling, gaslighting, and emotionally manipulating a victim; and
- Financial exploitation. This is any act that involves taking money or valuables from a nursing home resident without his or her lucid consent. Directly stealing cash is financial exploitation, as is committing identity theft and involving an elderly individual in a scam.
What to Do if you Suspect your Loved One is Facing Abuse or Neglect
Do not ignore it. Make yourself a regular presence in your loved one’s life and make it a priority to build a relationship with his or her caregivers. Ask your loved one if he or she is being mistreated and if you are concerned about his or her care, discuss your concerns with the caregivers as well as the facility’s management. After discussing your concerns with the management team at your loved one’s nursing home, consider filing a complaint with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs to have the issue resolved. This could launch an investigation of the facility, which could lead to a fine or other punitive actions taken against it by the state. Additionally, documentation of your complaint can be a critical piece of evidence to support your abuse or negligence lawsuit.
Work with an Experienced Lawyer
If your loved one suffered because of nursing home abuse or neglect, whether that injury was physical, emotional, or otherwise compromised his or her quality of life, you can pursue monetary compensation for his or her damages on his or her behalf. To learn more about how to handle a nursing home abuse or neglect case in Florida, your loved one’s rights, and the process of pursuing compensation for damages, schedule your legal consultation with an experienced lawyer at Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. today.