Nursing Home Neglect and Elder Abuse
Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Lakeland Area Attorneys
Nursing home neglect and elder abuse are both considered nursing home negligence. Nursing home negligence does not have to rise to the criminal level to be dangerous or fatal or for you to recover compensation.
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities have a legal duty to provide proper care to their residents. That includes proper screening and monitoring of staff members as well as establishing and enforcing proper procedures. Unfortunately, it is common for nursing homes and assisted living facilities to be understaffed, to overschedule their staff members and to hire workers who lack adequate training and experience. When this happens and it results in harm to a patient, there is legal recourse
Find a Nursing Home Negligence & Elder Abuse Lawyer
If you or someone you love has been harmed by nursing home abuse or neglect, you may be able to recover substantial compensation. My Price Lawyers is here to connect you with an affordable local attorney with expertise and a history of success in finding justice for victims of nursing home neglect and abuse. We represent victims and their families throughout the Tampa Bay area.
Please call us at (888) 473-6137 for a free claim evaluation with an experienced nursing home negligence law firm. Please don’t delay. It is critical to begin the investigation right away.
What is Nursing Home Negligence?
Nursing home negligence covers a wide range mistreatment and improper care in a nursing home or assisted living facility including:
- Verbal, emotional and psychological abuse
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial exploitation and property theft
- Property theft
- Medication errors
Signs of Nursing Home Negligence
Nursing home negligence can be difficult to detect. The signs of neglect and abuse can look like the natural decline associated with age or serious health conditions. Victims of nursing home neglect and abuse may not be able to speak up for themselves and those who are able are often afraid to or are not taken seriously. Loved ones must be on constant watch for the signs of nursing home negligence.
These signs include:
- Weight loss or signs of weight loss such as clothes appearing to be too large
- Decline in grooming
- Poor hygiene
- Dirty clothes
- Dirty bedding
- Frequent illnesses
- Sudden decline in physical health
- New or worsening memory problems
- Sudden decline in mental health or cognition
- Frequent falls
- Unexplained bruises
- Other unexplained injuries
- Use of restraints
- Sudden changes in behavior
- New or increased reluctance to communicate with friends and loved ones
- New rude behavior
- Bizarre behavior
- Behaviors such as rocking, sucking or biting
- Agitated, fearful, combative or refuses to communicate in the presence of staff members or a specific staff member
- Staff is rude to you
- Staff tries to prevent or delay your visit
- Staff member will not leave you alone with your loved one
- Possessions disappear or go missing
- Change in banking habits
- Elopement and wandering
Getting Help When You Suspect Nursing Home Negligence or Elder Abuse
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from neglect or abuse in a nursing home or assisted living facility, you must act quickly. Nursing home negligence can result in an irreversible loss of quality of life as well as permanent physical injury or death. Accidents such as falls, and other injuries caused by nursing home neglect and abuse can cause a formerly mobile patient to become bedridden for life or result in premature cognitive decline.
Concerned loved ones often feel that they have nowhere to turn and do not know what to do because they believe they cannot afford to hire an attorney.
At My Price Lawyers, we understand the urgency of your situation and we believe that you should not have to worry about how you will afford to get the legal assistance you need to help your loved one. We are here to put you in touch with an experienced and affordable Florida nursing home negligence attorney.
We do not charge for connecting you with an attorney. Your consultation is always free, and your attorney will represent you on a contingency fee basis. You do not pay a retainer or any up-front fees. You only pay attorneys’ fees if you recover compensation through a settlement or verdict. Attorneys’ fees are a set percentage of the money you win, not an hourly rate.
Nursing Home Negligence
Nursing home residents require an intense level of care, attention and supervision. That is why they are in nursing homes. Neglect is often unintentional on the part of overworked nursing home workers who are forced to prioritize in a setting where there is not enough staff for the number of nursing home residents. However, nursing homes have a duty to provide adequate care and supervision and to maintain a staff to resident ratio that makes that possible.
Nursing home neglect is rarely isolated to one resident. Although there are sometimes cases of intentional neglect of a specific resident, the problem is usually facility-wide.
When a nursing home resident is admitted, the facility has a duty to properly assess each resident and develop a care plan. From there it must follow the care plan and evaluate and revise the care plan as needed.
Nursing homes must also:
- Provide adequate fluids and nutrition
- Supervise and protect from safety hazards
- Assist with walking or transferring
- Maintain hygiene
- Assist with bathroom needs
- Provide clean clothing
- Provide clean bedding
- Turn immobile patients frequently to prevent bed sores
- Provide foot care
- Provide dental care
- Provide medical care
- Administer medications
- Make socialization, stimulation, and physical activity available as appropriate
- Protect from attacks and assaults by staff, other residents, guests, and intruders
Mental and Emotional Abuse
The devastating power of mental and emotional abuse is often underestimated. Although it does not cause visible wounds or scars, mental abuse can have very real physical health consequences for nursing home residents and can even be fatal. Mental and psychological abuse often involves intimidation and threats. Victims may withdraw from activities, minimize or cut off contact with loved ones and even stop eating.
Loved ones may not suspect that the abuse is occurring because there are no physical marks and victims are often afraid to tell anyone what is happening to them. Some abusers go so far as to threaten to harm a resident’s loved ones if they speak up.
Examples of emotional and mental abuse include:
- Verbal assaults
- Yelling, shouting, and screaming
- Name-calling, insulting, and ridiculing the resident
- Talking to the resident as if he were a child
- Embarrassing the resident in front of others
- The “silent treatment”
- Withdrawing affection or being callous and mean
- Making the patient feel guilty or upset
- Scapegoating and blaming
- Forced isolation, including being forced to take meals alone
- Exclusion from social activities
- Exclusion from normal daily activities
- Isolation from loved ones
- Verbal threats of harm or punishment to the resident
- Non-verbal threats of physical harm to the patient
- Threats of harm to other residents or staff members the resident cares about
- Threats of harm to loved ones outside of the nursing home
- Intentionally making a resident wait longer than necessary for assistance
- Threatening to withhold assistance
- Restricting access to food, water, or toilet
- Restricting access to personal possessions by hiding them, taking them away or intentionally placing them out of reach
When physical abuse occurs in a nursing home, staff members may try to cover it up by claiming that injuries were caused by accidents related to the resident’s age or health condition. Physical abuse also includes intentional infliction of pain that does not leave visible marks, such as hair pulling. And while some physical abuse is perpetrated by staff members who intend to inflict harm and pain, inadequate training and understaffing are common underlying causes.
Examples of the types of physical abuse that may occur in a nursing home include:
- Hair pulling
- Pushing, shoving, or prodding
- Intentionally letting resident fall
- Rough handling
- Dropping resident
- Striking with an object
- Improper use of restraint whether physical, chemical or mechanical
- Allowing physical altercations between residents
Sexual abuse is a very real problem in nursing homes. More common than most people think, more common than anyone wants to believe. Nursing home residents are extremely vulnerable to sexual abuse, especially those who are unable to communicate what has happened to them. Complaints of sexual abuse are often ignored or dismissed. Nursing homes do not want the stigma. Loved ones sometimes find the possibility of sexual abuse unbelievable or too disturbing to face.
Sexual abuse may be perpetrated by nursing home staff, other residents, or even guests of residents.
Examples of sexual abuse in nursing homes includes:
- Coerced nudity
- Sexually explicit photographing or filming
- Unwanted or inappropriate touching
- Sexual harassment
Financial abuse, or financial exploitation, is the improper or illegal use or taking of a nursing home resident’s money, property or assets. It is often accomplished by deceit or coercion and is sometimes the end goal of psychological abuse. Financial exploitation can also occur without the victim’s knowledge.
Financial exploitation includes:
- Coercing resident into transferring property or assets
- Coercing resident into signing documents such as power of attorney
- Using resident’s credit or debit card without permission
- Cashing resident’s checks without permission
- Theft of cash
- Theft of personal property
If loved ones are not looking for the signs of financial abuse, or do not know how to recognize it, it can easily go overlooked until the victim’s finances are drained.
Signs of financial abuse include:
- Disappearance of personal possessions, documents, or credit cards
- Changes in banking habits
- Sudden increase in credit card charges
- Sudden decrease in bank account balances
- Resident paying for services that are not provided
- Resident has an appointment with their attorney or banker and does not know why
- Odd or secretive behavior by the nursing home resident
Find a Nursing Home Abuse Law Firm Near You!
If know or believe that your loved one has been a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, please do not wait until it is too late to take legal action.