Nursing Home Abuse
Although many families wrestle with the decision of whether to place a loved one in a nursing home, these facilities are often the best option for around-the-clock care of elderly, vulnerable persons who are no longer able to ensure their own well-being.
However, nursing home abuse is a legitimate problem that persists across a wide range of facility types. Although older adulthood is often referred to a, “The Golden Years,” the reality is that for persons who experienced elder abuse, it can be a time of great sadness, stress and pain.
At The Ansara Law Firm, our Fort Lauderdale nursing home abuse attorneys are committed to fighting for justice on behalf of those harmed by their caregivers. We recognize that nursing home administrators and staffers have a duty to protect their patients, swiftly address potential concerns and immediately report situations of abuse and neglect to the proper authorities. Failure to do so is a form of negligence.
Even if nursing home administrators do not actively encourage, condone or cover-up nursing home abuse, they and any connected corporations may be held liable for it when it occurs in their facility. Institutions can be held vicariously liable for the negligent and criminal actions of employees, and they may be held directly liable for failure to have the proper systems in place to adequately vet workers and ensure quality care.
It’s estimated 1 in every 3 nursing home residents suffers some form of abuse, with a substantial number of cases resulting in serious injury or death.What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse may take a number of different forms, and it may not always be evidence by clear, physical signs. That’s why it’s imperative that loved ones visit as often as possible and pay close attention to subtle cues. Their loved one may be afraid or physically unable to tell them when there is a problem.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines nursing home abuse as:
- The willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or cruel punishment resulting in harm, pain or mental anguish. It can also be characterized by deprivation of goods or services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish or mental illness.
This differs from nursing home neglect, which is defined as:
- A caregiver’s failure to provide certain goods or services necessary to maintain the safety or health of an older adult.
There is also the potential in some situations for older adults to suffer nursing home exploitation, which is:
- The illegal, unauthorized, fraudulent or improper act or process of an individual using the resources of that older person for the monetary or personal profit, gain or benefit that results in depriving an older person of rightful access to resources, care, belongings or benefits.
As far as the specific kinds of actions that may be considered nursing home abuse, these may include:
- Physical Abuse. This happens when someone uses physical force to cause harm to an elderly nursing home patient. This could involve hitting, slapping, scratching, biting, shoving or inappropriate use of restraints.
- Emotional Abuse. This is when a caregiver or other person inflicts emotional distress on a nursing home resident. This could be the result of intimidation or ignoring the elder. It could involve humiliation and ridicule. It could mean treating the individual in a way that is demeaning.
- Sexual Abuse . This is when an elder nursing home resident is subjected to non-consensual contact. Sometimes, this involves an employed staffer. Other times, it involves a fellow patient. Some situations may not involve force, but rather coercion or trickery or manipulation.
- Financial Abuse. This occurs when personal property or money is stolen from the resident, or when coercion or tricks are used to compel the elder to divulge certain valuable financial information.
- Healthcare fraud and abuse. This is one that is less talked about, but it involves things like not providing proper healthcare but still charging for it or overmedicating/ under-medicating patients or recommending unnecessary remedies for illnesses or other conditions.
If you fear your loved one is or may have been a victim of nursing home abuse, it’s important to report this information to the appropriate state agency. But beyond that, you should consider discussing the matter with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer who can help you map out the best way to keep your loved one safe and/ or to pursue justice on their behalf.
Navigating the legal system, especially after enduring such a trauma, can be intimidating. We work closely with our clients to ensure they are informed and involved in every step.
Call the injury attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm at (877) 277-3780 or locally in Broward at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties.