Families want professional care for their loved ones and they depend on nursing homes to provide an environment free from abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and elder neglect have become a national problem that continues to cause senior residents pain and suffering. These care facilities often prioritize profits over the well-being of their residents and end up providing seniors with substandard care and treatment. When nursing home abuse and neglect occurs, families have grounds to file a lawsuit against the nursing home to receive compensation for the harm that their loved one has suffered.
Elderly abuse in Jacksonville, FL is unfortunately all too common in this country. Seniors are a vulnerable population, especially those who have Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. There have been studies that have found that nearly one in four seniors will experience some form of abuse while at a nursing home.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse in Jacksonville, FL can take on a variety of different forms. Nursing home abuse is usually associated with staff physically abusing seniors by striking them or being physically rough. Nursing home physical abuse is one form of abuse that is common, however, there are other types of nursing home abuse that can be considered as actionable abuse claims. These include the following:
- Financial Abuse – Staff or someone else could potentially try to persuade a senior to sign over money or property or give them control over some of the senior’s assets. Financial abuse can even be a nursing home preventing the senior from having access to their money or not appropriately accounting for the resident’s funds. Nursing homes have very strict rules as to how they have to treat a resident’s property.
- Emotional Abuse – Frequent or severe emotional abuse can have much of the same effect on a senior as physical abuse, especially if the senior has diminished cognitive abilities. Emotional abuse can impact the elderly both psychologically and physically and can result in a decline in their overall health.
- Sexual Abuse – Any kind of inappropriate touching may be considered nursing home sexual abuse. Nursing homes must be vigilant and try to spot signs that any residents are being touched inappropriately in any way.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse in Jacksonville, FL
Families should continuously be on the lookout for any signs that their loved ones are being mistreated. Nursing home abuse is often not addressed because many of the residents do not have their full cognitive abilities and often cannot cogently state what has happened to them. Sometimes, even if they are able to say what has happened, nursing home administrators may not believe them and will not take any action to put a stop to the abuse. Therefore, it is often on families to protect their loved ones by spotting signs of abuse.
Here are some of the signs that seniors may have been subjected to abuse at a nursing home.
- Unexplained bruises or marks that show up on their bodies
- Unknown injuries that happen one or more times
- Changes in mood, including withdrawal and agitation
- Changes in eating habits and sudden weight loss
- Visible fear when a certain staff member is around the resident
- Hostile staff members along with signs that the senior is afraid of that particular staff member
When an abuse allegation is made, no matter the form that it is made in, nursing homes have the obligation to perform an investigation of that claim. This obligation does not change even if the resident has limited cognitive abilities and the allegation does not seem credible. Nursing homes cannot make that determination that an allegation does not merit an investigation. Not only that, but they must also report to state authorities within a very short period of time when the allegation was made. Failure of a nursing home to do so may result in some sort of regulatory punishment for the facility.
It is important to remember that not only is a nursing home legally responsible for the actions of its employees, but it is also required to protect its residents from all types of abuse that can impact a senior while they reside at the facility. This includes any type of abuse that is committed by either other residents of the nursing home or visitors to the facility. Some injuries from physical abuse occur because a senior has been violently assaulted by another resident. Nursing homes have the obligation to spot residents with a propensity for violence and take appropriate action to protect residents who may be vulnerable to those aggressive residents.
Nursing Home Neglect in Jacksonville, FL
Neglect is another form of abuse that nursing home residents may experience. Neglect occurs because nursing homes either do not have sufficient staff to care for the residents or that staff are not appropriately trained. Some states have regulations and laws that require a certain minimum staffing level, but those laws are often not followed. Many states do not have these laws, and nursing homes will not have nearly enough nurses or CNAs on hand to care for the residents.
Understaffing, or just plain poor care, leads to situations where residents do not receive either the care that they need or help with activities of daily life that they require. This has impacts on residents in many different areas, each of which can lead to permanent injury or death. Some of the ways in which seniors can suffer from nursing home negligence are listed below. Any of the situations described here could be grounds for a nursing home lawsuit in Jacksonville, FL.
- Failure to regularly bathe a resident and pay attention to their hygiene can cause an infection
- Ignoring dietary needs can lead to malnutrition and dehydration, which can have a host of health impacts.
- Failure to move residents or shift their position continuously can lead to bedsores. In turn, neglect can cause these bedsores to become infected which can cause lasting injury or death.
- Nursing homes may not get residents timely medical care when they need it.
Are You Looking to File a Nursing Home Lawsuit in Jacksonville, FL?
The lawyers at KBA Attorneys aggressively pursue nursing homes in court so families can receive financial compensation when their loved ones are harmed at a nursing home that the families trusted to provide the care that the senior needs. If a settlement cannot be negotiated, KBA Attorneys will not hesitate to litigate the case in court and fight the armies of lawyers that nursing homes have on their payroll. Our interest is in helping families achieve the justice they deserve through financial compensation for nursing home abuse or neglect that their loved ones have suffered.
- Kurtis Hiatt. “9 Warning Signs of Bad Care”, U.S. News, https://health.usnews.com/health-news/best-nursing-homes/articles/2013/02/26/9-warning-signs-of-bad-care. Accessed July 10, 2019.
- Jordan Rau. “Most nursing homes are not adequately staffed, new federal data says”, Kaiser Health News, https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/most-nursing-homes-are-not-adequately-staffed-new-federal-data-says. Accessed July 10, 2019.
- RAINN. “Elder Abuse”, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, https://www.rainn.org/articles/elder-abuse. Accessed July 10, 2019.
- Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken. “Sick, Dying and Raped in America’s Nursing Homes”, CNN, https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2017/02/health/nursing-home-sex-abuse-investigation/. Accessed July 10, 2019.
- David Goguen. “Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Law: Basics”, Nolo, https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/nursing-home-abuse-neglect-basics.html. Accessed July 10, 2019.
- CDC. “Elder Abuse: Definitions”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/elderabuse/definitions.html. Accessed July 10, 2019.
- NCOA. “Elder Abuse Facts”, National Council on Aging, https://www.ncoa.org/public-policy-action/elder-justice/elder-abuse-facts/. Accessed July 10, 2019.