Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
When making the difficult decision to put a loved one in a nursing home, we expect that family members will receive competent medical care, and will be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. Choosing a facility that meets the needs of loved ones can be a difficult process, and peace of mind is only reached when we are certain that the medical needs will be properly addressed in a clean, well-staffed, and safe environment, When these basic expectations are not met, it can result in more than disappointment. The health and well-being, and the very lives of our elderly extended family could be at risk. In such instances, seeking the counsel of a local personal injury attorney is essential.
Nursing home residents are legally entitled to certain rights (Florida Statute 400.022). It is critical that they and their family members understand those rights in order to avoid victimization. Those rights include:
- Respectful, dignified treatment;
- Protection from mental, emotional, financial or physical abuse of any kind;
- Appropriate health-care services;
- A forum in which to assert grievances without fear of retribution;
- Clear information regarding medical services and nursing care in both oral and written formats;
- Exposure to communal and social activities, including religious services;
- Private personal communications and the absence of censorship in mail and private phone calls or emails;
- Reasonable choices in terms of physician and pharmacy;
- Participation in the development of a health care plan, with the ability to refuse treatments.
What Constitutes Abuse or Neglect?
Improper care can take many forms. Examples include:
- Psychological Abuse: Degradation, humiliation, harassment or intimidation;
- Physical Abuse: Hitting, kicking, unreasonably restraining, sexual battery, and improper medication dispersal;
- Financial: Taking advantage of decreased mental faculties to convince one to change a will, give access to financial accounts, etc.;
- Neglect: Failure to provide appropriate medical care, access to services, cleanliness, nutrition, etc.
Cases of Abuse and Neglect in Florida
The deaths of nursing home residents following Hurricane Irma have been well documented. Unfortunately, extreme circumstances are not the only times that the elderly are subjected to horrific, and even deadly conditions:
- In one case, a dementia patient was restrained to a chair with duct tape and her mouth was taped shut to keep her quiet;
- A woman who experienced severe lethargy and loss of appetite was diagnosed with a serious infection. Rather than treating the condition, doctors ignored it, until it ultimately spread to her head, causing disfiguring swelling, and finally killing her;
- One man was denied physical therapy following a broken leg and pelvis, resulting in a permanent disability;
- A lack of supervision allowed for one resident to beat another in a Williston Retirement Home.
Your Legal Advocate
If you find yourself facing the serious personal injury or death of a loved one due to subpar care in a Florida care facility, the experienced legal team at the Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A. will fight for justice for you. Contact our Kissimmee office today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.