Written on Dec 18, 2017 4:59:22 PM
How to Handle Nursing Home Abuse, Neglect and Death
Topics: nursing home neglect, nursing home abuse
Nursing home abuse and neglect are serious — and growing — problems in facilities all over the United States, with tens of thousands of cases being documented each year. In 2015, there were 2,525 verified cases of elder abuse in Florida alone, and the recent nursing home deaths of patients in a Hollywood, FL facility has brought the discussion of abuse and neglect to the forefront.
In September, 14 people at a nursing home in Hollywood, Florida died after the facility lost power during Hurricane Irma. The chief medical examiner of Broward County has ruled 12 of the 14 nursing home deaths as homicides. Their deaths were attributed to "environmental heat exposure" due to the failure of air conditioning systems at the facility, which left patients in the heat for days. Although staff made multiple calls to 911, eight residents died three days after the hurricane hit, and six more passed away over the following weeks.
Most nursing homes have devoted professional staff and administrators who care about their patients, but many nursing homes are run by large corporations that seem to be more concerned with profits than people. Nursing homes have a legal obligation to provide a reasonably safe environment, maintain adequate health and safety policies and provide the required standard of care and medical treatment. If a patient is neglected or abused at a nursing home, the facility may be liable for the patient’s illness, injury or wrongful death.
The most common causes of nursing home deaths and injuries include:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Malnourishment or dehydration
- Neglect that leads to untreated diseases or death
- Lack of supervision, which can lead to falls
- Medical malpractice, including medication errors and misdiagnosis
- Failure to call in outside medical support
- Failure to have an adequate evacuation plan in case of emergency or natural disaster
What to Do When You Suspect Abuse or Neglect
If you have any suspicion of nursing home neglect or abuse, trust your gut. It is best to go up the chain of command, starting with the floor nurse or supervisor, to voice any concerns. If you do not feel that your concerns are being addressed, don’t be afraid to take it to the facility administrator. If you are still not satisfied with the results, you may report potential elder abuse to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, which works in conjunction with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Adult Protective Services to protect elderly persons from abuse, exploitation, or neglect.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
Some signs of nursing home abuse or neglect include:
- Rapid weight loss
- Bed sores and ulcers
- Anxiety, irritation, or depression without obvious cause
- Memory loss or forgetfulness
Contact a Nursing Home Injury Attorney
Making the decision to put a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility is a serious and often emotional decision. You are entrusting nursing home professionals with your loved one’s care, and when that trust is breached, it can be particularly heartbreaking. If you think your loved one is being abused or neglected, the facility and its staff should be held accountable for their actions.
Our experienced and compassionate legal team has handled hundreds of cases involving nursing home deaths due to neglect or abuse. We can help you protect your loved one and ensure that he or she receives just compensation for any illness or injury that is caused by nursing home abuse or neglect. If you believe your elder suffered a wrongful death because of a nursing home injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses as well.
The skilled elder abuse lawyers at Lowman Law Firm will assess your case and help you to determine the best course of action to protect your loved one’s rights. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us at 352-888-4484 or toll-free at 866-9-LOWMAN.