Nursing Home Abuse

What to do When You Suspect Nursing Home Negligence

Category: Nursing Home Abuse |

The decision to place your loved one in a nursing home can be difficult. You’ve done your research, you found a home that feels like the right fit, and you place the care and safety of your loved one in the hands of strangers. Nursing homes can be staffed by wonderful people who provide excellent care to their residents. However, too frequently, nursing homes neglect residents and fail to provide adequate care. Signs of Nursing Home Neglect There are a number of warning signs you should look out for when it comes to how your loved one is being treated in a nursing home. Signs of neglect can include: Unexplained bruises or fractures—if your loved one has been injured and the nursing home has no explanation for the injuries, it is possible there has been abuse or neglect. Frequent falls—falls in nursing homes are common, but if your loved one is frequently falling, it could be a sign that the facility doesn’t have adequate fall protections in place or is allowing residents to mobilize on their own Bedsores and skin breakdown—bedsores are entirely preventable with proper care. Caretakers should turn bedbound residents every two hours to prevent sores. Social withdrawal—if your loved one seems withdrawn or even scared, it could be a sign that they are not getting proper treatment. Rapid weight loss—while weight loss does happen as we age, it could be a sign that your loved one is not getting the proper nutrition and hydration. What to Do If you suspect your loved one is being neglected in a nursing home, you may feel helpless. However, there are things you can do to empower yourself and your family. Address your concerns with the management of the home. They should be immediately responsive to your concerns and take steps to fix any issues. If the nursing home fails to take action, then you can report suspected abuse or neglect to the Florida Department of Children and Families. In addition, you can report the facility to the Agency for Healthcare Administration. If your loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing home, you should also consider consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you pursue compensation for any injuries. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we have over 30 years of experience helping personal injury victims. Contact us online or call us at 800-753-5203 to set up your free consultation today.

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Slip and Fall in Nursing Homes

Category: Nursing Home Abuse |

The decision to put a loved one in a nursing home is a tough one. When your loved one is injured in a slip and fall at a nursing home, there can be serious injuries such as fractured hips, fractured arms, and even traumatic brain injury. A fall in a nursing home is one of the most common causes of injuries. Nursing Home Liability Just like any other property or business owner, a nursing home is liable for slip and falls on their property if they have failed to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition. Therefore, a nursing home can be liable for falls caused by conditions such as: Torn carpeting  Slippery floors Poorly lit staircases Uneven surfaces Loose floorboards Debris on the floor However, a nursing home is also a skilled medical facility and can be held responsible for failing to adequately guard and protect residents who are especially prone to falling due to a medical condition. Many residents are admitted to nursing homes for health conditions that can make them prone to falling such as hip injuries, vertigo, fatigue, cognitive difficulties, and other medical issues. When a resident falls in a nursing home, there are a number of different factors that must be taken into consideration.   Nursing homes are required to maintain certain standards in regard to patient safety and care. The reality is that these standards are not always followed and falls can result from nursing home neglect. Some negligent acts by nursing homes that can lead to a fall include: Lack of supervision Overmedication Undermedication Lack of handrails Inappropriate activities Unsecured facilities When an elderly person falls in a nursing home, the resulting complications can be more serious than if a younger person fell. Fractured bones are common in nursing home falls. Therefore, if a resident falls, it is also important that the nursing home facility gets them evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible. Contact a Trusted Personal Injury Attorney The issues involved in a nursing home fall can be complex, so it is important if your loved one has been injured to contact a trusted personal injury attorney. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we have over 30 years of experience representing the injured. Consultations are free so contact us online or call us at 1-800-753-5203 to schedule an appointment.

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Nursing Home Residents’ Rights

Category: Nursing Home Abuse |

The Nursing Home Reform Act is a federal law, enforced in Florida and all states, that establishes a standard of care and certain rights for the residents of nursing homes. The goal of the NHRA is to reduce the prevalence of nursing home abuse and neglect and protect residents. Nursing homes are required to provide all residents with regular evaluations, complete care plans, social services, nursing services, rehabilitation, pharmaceutical services, dietary services, and a full-time social worker. The NHRA affords residents in nursing homes a number of rights, including the right to: Dignity, Respect, and Freedom Nursing home residents must be treated with dignity and respect at all times. They should be free from emotional and physical abuse and neglect. They should not be subjected to physical or chemical restraint, involuntary seclusion, or corporal punishment. Voice any Grievances Nursing home residents should be able to file complaints or voice any grievances they may have without the fear of retaliation or discrimination. They also have the right to have those grievances addressed in a prompt manner. Residents should be able to file complaints with the Florida Long-term Care Ombudsman without the fear of retribution. Privacy Nursing home residents have the right to private, unrestricted communication with anyone they choose, especially with regard to their medical treatment and personal or financial matters. Residents should have access to a private telephone. Make Their Own Decisions Nursing home residents have the right to be informed about and make choices about their own medical care and medication. They have the right to choose their own physician. They also have the right to control their own financial decisions. Nursing home residents can also decide if they want to be discharged from the home. Visits Nursing home residents must be allowed to have visits from family, friends, and other parties such as doctors and/or representatives from the state ombudsman. Additionally, residents have the right to refuse any visitors. If you believe you or your loved one’s rights have been violated in a nursing home, it could be a sign that abuse or neglect is taking place. If that is the case, you should consult with an attorney. Contact a Trusted Attorney If you or a loved one has been injured in a nursing home, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-753-5203 to schedule your free consultation.

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5 Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Category: Nursing Home Abuse |

We trust that our elderly family members who require daily assistance will be well taken care of in a nursing home. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned. It can be hard to accept the possibility that someone you love has been mistreated in a nursing home, even when there are signs. If your loved one is in a nursing home, it is very important to be aware of the warning signs of abuse and neglect. Depression or Emotional Withdrawal If your loved one is reluctant to speak, distant from friends and family, and seems less interested in activities, it may be a sign that he or she is being neglected or abused. In addition, a loved one might seem fearful of staff members if they are being abused. Physical Injuries that are Unexplained Unexplained bruising, fractures, or head injuries could be signs that something is wrong. While an occasional fall is to be expected in a nursing home, the nursing home has a duty to take the necessary steps to prevent injury and provide your loved one with a safe living environment. Failing to provide a resident with the required assistance to get around a facility could be neglect. In addition, some unexplained injuries could be the result of physical abuse by a staff member. Skin Breakdown Bedsores and skin breakdown are typically preventable with proper care. Nursing home staff have the duty to turn and reposition residents throughout the day to ensure that they do not remain stationary long enough to develop skin breakdown. Poor Personal Hygiene Assistance with daily living skills and hygiene is one of the most important services a nursing home provides. If your loved one has overgrown nails, is wearing dirty clothes, and just seems to be unclean, it could be a sign that he or she is not getting the care necessary to maintain their personal hygiene. Dehydration or Weight Loss If it seems that your loved one is losing a dramatic amount of weight, this may be a sign that they are not receiving proper nutrition. While some weight loss in the elderly is to be expected, a noticeable amount of weight loss could also be a sign that the staff is not adequately feeding or monitoring the diet of your loved one. Sometimes depriving a nursing home resident of food can be a sign of abuse as well. Contact a Trusted Personal Injury Attorney If you believe your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home, you should have an experienced personal injury attorney evaluate your case. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-753-5203 to schedule your free consultation.

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Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect – What are your options?

Category: Nursing Home Abuse |

One of the hardest decisions families have to make is when it’s time to put an elderly loved one into a full-time care facility. Having to trust others to care for family members is hard enough, so fears of abuse and neglect make the situation that much more stressful. Learning more about these kinds of abuses and how to identify when it’s occurring to your elder loved one can help you and your family feel a little more secure and prepare you to respond in the uncommon likelihood that it’s happening to your loved one. How Common is Elder Abuse? Sadly, as nursing home residents age, the likelihood that they will be abused or neglected rises. Nursing Home Abuse Center reveals that abuse is most common among female patients who are aged 65 or older, indicating that older patients are abused more often. The abuse can continue for extended periods of time and may escalate, as the situation endures unimpeded. Abuse and neglect often continue because caregivers aren’t always trained to recognize the signs of abuse. While both abuse and neglect can produce physical signs, such as bruises, these situations often produce emotional and behavioral symptoms which can go unnoticed. Additionally, the abused patient is unlikely to speak up about the situation, making it that much more difficult to identify a problem. How common are instances of elder abuse? Speaking primarily of physical and emotional abuse, about 1 in 10 nursing home residents became victims of abuse last year. That means up to 10% of elderly residents were victimized, excluding instances of financial abuse. Most of these cases go unreported, even though every state has established departments of Adult Protective Services. If your loved one has suffered due to elder abuse, contact our attorneys for a free case evaluation, we are available 24/7, call (800) 753-5203 Types of Elder Abuse and How to Identify Them There are several types of elder abuse that can be inflicted upon the elderly and each type has its own signs and symptoms. The main types of abuse are physical, sexual, emotional, and financial. The physical abuse of an elder involves physical violence or the threat of violence perpetrated against an older individual. While this can be committed by anyone, when the individual is a nursing home resident, the abuse is usually committed by a staff member employed by the care facility. Signs of abuse include: Dislocated or broken bones Unexplained strains or sprains Cigarette burns and other types of burns Bruising and abrasions around the limbs or torso, as though the individual had been tied up Internal injuries A loss of hair, as if pulled out Tooth loss Delays in treatment of injuries Sexual abuse of elders in nursing homes is also something to look for in a resident. There’s no common pattern for who commits this type of abuse and the perpetrator can be a staff member or a fellow resident. It involves any type of non-consensual sexual contact and either gender can be sexually victimized, though female residents are most commonly abused. Signs of sexual abuse of elder residents include: Bruising of the inner thighs or genitals Bleeding, inflammation, or pain surrounding the genitals or the anal area Torn or bloody undergarments Difficulty sitting still or walking Sexually transmitted diseases Inappropriate relationships Aggressive or abnormal behavior Emotional abuse involves intimidation or humiliation of the elder patient and, again, it may be committed by a nursing home staff member, another resident, or a family member. It involves using verbal abuse, intimidating actions, and other forms of humiliation. Symptoms that this is occurring to your elder loved one include: Heightened stress and high blood pressure Unexplained weight changes Social isolation Sleep disorders Confusion Depression and anxiety Withdrawn or a non-responsive demeanor Fear of the suspected perpetrator Behavior that isn’t age-appropriate, which may include nail biting, rocking motions, or sucking on the thumb Neglect can be a separate problem that may affect a nursing home resident and involves the resident not receiving proper care. For instance, they may not be receiving all of their meals, getting enough water to drink, or have faulty climate control units in their living quarters. Next Avenue shares the most common signs of neglect, which include: Poor hygiene habits Dehydration Bed sores or skin rashes Mental or physical conditions that are untreated Missing or broken items, such as eyeglasses, walkers, dentures, etc. Cognitive degeneration A worsened condition that contradicts the resident’s care plan The resident is isolated from others What Can You Do? The best thing you can do for your elder loved one is to pay close attention to him or her so you can recognize early warning signs. Similarly, you should pay attention to how the elder interacts with the staff and how facility staff members respond to the residents. As soon as you witness troubling behavior, you should report your suspicions. Elder residents should be encouraged to communicate openly as well. By including them in decisions about their care, they’ll be more likely to speak up about problems. Communicating regularly with your elder loved one will help them trust you more and this will engender greater communication, so they’ll feel that they can talk to you about incidents of abuse or neglect. Either you or your elder loved one can file a complaint against an abusive or neglectful caregiver and request records concerning that individual’s medical conditions and care in the facility. If you feel your complaints have not been appropriately addressed by the facility’s management, you may opt to contact your state’s adult protective services for assistance. Another option for your family to consider may be to hire an attorney who specializes in elder care and abuse. An experienced lawyer can ensure your family is involved in all care decisions that concern your loved ones and can help make sure that the elder is getting the care for which the family is paying. Legal action can also help to remove the elder from an abusive or neglectful situation. Finally, damages may...

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10 Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Category: Nursing Home Abuse |

Experienced Attorneys Serving Families of Nursing Home Abuse Victims Throughout Tampa The prevalence of abuse in nursing homes is one of the most disturbing and tragic trends to emerge in recent memory. With roughly half of all nursing homes admitting to abuse occurring within their walls, and with two out of every five nursing home residents reporting either experiencing or witnessing abuse, this is a problem that cannot be ignored. The first step toward stopping nursing home abuse is knowing when to seek help. Despite the prevalence of abuse, for many nursing home residents and their loved ones, this is not as easy as it sounds. Many residents mistakenly believe that abusive treatment is “normal,” and in some situations, abusive staff members have been known to threaten residents with further abuse if they talk to their family members about what is going on. As a result, if you live in a nursing home, are preparing to move to a nursing home, or have a loved one under nursing home care, it is critical to know the warning signs of abuse. Signs and Symptoms of Abusive Treatment in Nursing Homes If you or a loved one experiences any of the following in a Florida nursing home, you should seek medical and legal help right away. These are all potential signs of nursing home abuse: 1. Unexplained Injuries Unexplained injuries are among the most common signs of nursing home abuse. This includes broken bones, bruises, cuts, and welts. Such injuries may be the result of improper restraints, physical or sexual abuse, or failure to provide adequate monitoring and assistance to residents who have difficulty moving about on their own. While our bodies become more fragile in old age, this is not an excuse for suffering a physical injury in a nursing home. Nursing homes take upon themselves the responsibility to protect their residents from this type of harm. 2. Bed Sores Bed sores, or pressure ulcers, are common nursing home injuries that are generally indicative of either neglect or abuse. Bed sores result from lack of mobility. Constant pressure on sensitive parts of the body (such as the shoulders, hips, heels, buttocks, and back of the head) can cause the skin and underlying tissue to break down, resulting in painful injuries that get progressively worse over time. Reddened skin that does not turn white when pressed lightly with a finger is typically the first sign of a bed sore. 3. Frequent Infections A high rate of infections can be a sign of nursing home abuse as well. Infections result from the presence of harmful bacteria, viruses, and other unwanted pathogens. If a nursing home resident is not receiving proper care, hygiene, and nutrition, his or her body will become more susceptible to infection. 4. Symptoms of Malnutrition Withholding meals or abandoning residents who are unable to feed themselves is an all-too-common form of nursing home abuse. Malnutrition can put elderly residents at greater risk for other conditions as well, and as a result should be addressed at the first sign of a potential problem. Early symptoms of malnutrition include: Delayed healing from wounds Depression Difficulty concentrating Difficulty keeping warm Dizziness or lightheadedness Fatigue Frequent infections and delayed recovery from infections Lack of energy Loss of appetite Weight loss 5. Symptoms of Dehydration Dehydration is another common sign of nursing home abuse, for the same reasons as malnutrition. Also like malnutrition, dehydration can present significant health concerns, particularly for older adults. If you or your elderly loved one is exhibiting the following symptoms of dehydration, you should seek medical attention right away: Confusion Dizziness or lightheadedness Dry mouth Dry skin Extreme thirst Fatigue Fewer trips to the bathroom Headaches Irritability Sunken eyes 6. Sudden Changes in Mood (Mood Swings) Sudden changes in mood (mood swings) may be indicative of anxiety or depression, both of which are commonly associated with abuse in the nursing home setting. Nursing home residents who are typically jovial or free-spirited may become quiet or irritable, and those who are generally happy may suddenly become angry or temperamental. 7. Leftover (or Missing) Medications Similar to withholding food and liquids, withholding medications is another form of nursing home abuse. Nursing home residents and their loved ones should document their daily medication regimens, and any leftover pills or doses of liquid medication should be viewed as a potentially serious issue. Missing medications can be a sign of abuse as well. If a nursing home resident’s medications disappear ahead of schedule without explanation, this could be a sign of either theft or overdose by nursing home staff. 8. Declining Hygiene or Unsanitary Conditions With respect to nursing home residents who are not able to fully provide for their own needs, declining hygiene and unsanitary living conditions will often be reflective of inadequate or abusive care. 9. Reclusiveness Reclusiveness can be a sign of nursing home abuse, either as a symptom of depression or as a result of fear imparted by abusive staff members. If an elderly loved one who lives in a nursing home is unwilling to discuss his or her care or interactions with staff members, this may suggest that he or she is a victim of abuse. 10. Unusual Purchases or Financial Decisions Along with physical and sexual abuse, financial abuse is a prevalent issue in Florida nursing homes as well. Common forms of financial abuse in nursing homes include: Convincing residents to give “gifts” or make purchases online Convincing residents to modify their estate plans Forging residents’ checks Stealing cash from residents’ rooms Using nursing home residents’ credit cards Regardless of the circumstances, abusers generally do not stop voluntarily. Protecting yourself or your loved one will require action, and it is important that you take action as soon as possible. Abrahamson & Uiterwyk is available 24/7, and we can act quickly to investigate your situation and help put an end to the abuse. Contact the Tampa, FL Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk If you need help, we urge you to contact us...

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Nursing Home Negligence: What You Don’t Know Can Harm Your Loved One

Category: Nursing Home Abuse |

When you picked out a nursing home for your loved one, you made sure it was the best you could find. However, now you’ve noticed that things are a little “off” lately. Maybe your love one doesn’t appear happy or content in their new environment. The staff seems friendly enough when you’re there, but you can’t be sure what’s going on behind closed doors. Defining and identifying nursing home negligence Negligence may not be as overt as abuse (for instance, your loved one may not be covered in scrapes and bruises), but make no mistake – it can be just as deadly. Take immediate action if you notice any of the following: A lack of attention to your loved one’s hygiene Unexplained weight loss Signs of dehydration Frequent infections Bed sores that don’t heal properly Medications not given in a timely manner (or not given at all) A hazardous environment (lack of grab bars, slippery floors, etc.) Unsanitary conditions You don’t have to tolerate nursing home negligence Not only is nursing home negligence immoral, it’s illegal as well. Numerous state and federal regulations dictate the type and amount of care seniors receive in such long-term living environments. You don’t have to tolerate anything less – and neither does your loved one. If you think that your senior is a victim, discuss removing them from the nursing home with their physician. Then contact a knowledgeable team of attorneys to help you pursue a case against the facility you believed wronged them. Caring lawyers can help you address neglect Claims against nursing homes are difficult to win without help. If your loved one is forgetful or confused, it can be even harder. He or she may also be afraid to explain the truth of what happened for fear of retaliation by staff. You’ll need solid legal advice to get the person you care about the justice they deserve. In order to prove that neglect occurred, your attorney needs to be dedicated, persistent, and compassionate. Contact a Tampa nursing home abuse lawyer today Do you have questions about nursing home negligence? The experienced legal team at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk wants to help you get answers. Our staff is available 24 hours a day / 7 days a week and can be reached at 1-800-753-5203. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.

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What You Need to Know about Nursing Home Abuse

Category: Nursing Home Abuse |

It is hard enough to have to send an elderly family member to a nursing home. Having to worry about the risk of nursing home neglect or abuse is something that no one wants to face. Unfortunately, nursing home neglect and abuse occur. The key is to recognize abuse and to know what to do when those signs are present. Staying Involved in Your Loved One’s Care The best deterrent for neglect and abuse is to be actively involved with the family member in the nursing home. Take the time to visit frequently, get to know the caregivers involved with the elderly family member, participate in physical therapy, and make yourself known to management. Be Aware of the Signs of Neglect or Abuse When cognitive functions have begun to deteriorate for a family member, it may be necessary to dig deeper to detect signs of abuse or neglect. Watch for these signs: Bruising or bleeding Bed sores, cuts, or other wounds Clothing or sheets that are bloody Infections A rapid change in weight Hair loss Poor hygiene, smell of feces or urine, soiled clothing Abrasions Burns Unresponsive behavior or withdrawal Missing personal items Suspicious financial transactions Inability to visit alone with the family member What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse is Taking Place Suspecting that the family member may be the victim of neglect or abuse is serious. The elderly person may not know how to report abuse. The following are steps are often necessary to address the issue: Contact the nursing home management with a detailed list of neglect or abuse incidents. If the situation continues after notification of management, file a complaint with the appropriate state agency. This could be health and human services or a hospital review board. Contact a qualified nursing home abuse attorney. Over time, elderly family members may become frailer, more confused, and easier prey for dishonest people. It is often up to others to protect the safety and interests of vulnerable patients who are unable to speak up for themselves. Call Our Injury Law Team 24 Hours a Day / Days a Week When a nursing home falls under suspicion of neglecting or abusing these family members, it may help to contact an attorney who understands the needs of the elderly and the laws surrounding elder abuse. If you have a family member or loved one who has become a victim of nursing home abuse, contact the law offices of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk at 1-800-753-5203 for a free initial consultation and case evaluation.

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Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Category: Nursing Home Abuse |

Nursing home abuse refers to any physical, psychological, or financial abuse that occurs in a nursing home or long-term care setting. The abuse may be perpetrated by nursing home staff members, visitors or other residents. Because many nursing home residents have dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other cognitive impairments, they have an increased risk for abuse. It is important for loved ones to recognize the most common signs of nursing home abuse so they can put a stop to this behavior if it occurs. Physical Signs of Nursing Home Abuse Family members should visit their loved ones regularly to identify signs of physical abuse as soon as possible. Common signs of physical abuse include the following: Unexplained Bruises Burns Open wounds Fractures and broken bones Sudden weight loss Frequent infections Torn clothing Bloody bedding or clothing Emotional Signs of Nursing Home Abuse Not all nursing home abuse takes the form physical violence. Some perpetrators abuse nursing home patients by intimidating or belittling them. Watch for the following signs of emotional abuse: Isolation Depressed behavior Lack of interest in social activities Behavioral changes Emotional withdrawal Financial Signs of Nursing Home Abuse Some abusers take advantage of nursing home residents by stealing cash and valuables. Other abusers defraud nursing home residents or force them to sign over money and property. Review financial accounts regularly and keep an eye out for these signs of financial abuse: Missing checks Unusual financial transactions Unexplained changes to wills Lower account balances than expected Missing valuables Non-payment of bills Unusual purchases Changes in power of attorney documents Call Our Injury Law Team & Put Our Florida Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers to Work for You! Nursing home abuse causes significant physical, emotional and financial difficulties, so it is important that guilty parties are stopped and brought to justice. If your loved one has been the victim of any type of nursing home abuse, a Tampa injury attorney can provide valuable advice on the best course of action. Request a free case evaluation by calling Abrahamson & Uiterwyk at 1-800-753-5203.

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