Types of nursing home neglect
Elders residing in a nursing home setting may be abused in several different ways, some of which may be more difficult to detect than others. Physical abuse may involve hitting or even pinching; however, it may also be caused by neglect. Evidence of physical abuse may include:
- broken bones
- unexplained weight loss
- poor physical appearance and cleanliness.
Financial abuse involves a caregiver taking advantage of access to a resident’s financial information and may include identity theft, direct theft, or other types of fraud.
Sexual abuse involves unwanted sexual attention or contact, including cases in which the patient is cognitively compromised or unable to communicate his or her wishes. Psychological abuse may involve yelling, criticizing, or humiliating. This type of abuse may not be as easily recognized, but it is often manifested in the resident by emotional outbursts, mood swings, refusal to speak, refusal to take medicines, refusal to eat, or even changes in mental status. An abusive caregiver may be unwilling to leave the resident alone with others. A nursing home may also be liable if the staff allows one resident to abuse another.
Reporting abuse in Melbourne
Florida law requires that anyone who knows or has reasonable cause to suspect an elder is being abused to immediately report the situation. Florida operates a confidential elder abuse hotline in addition to a website where nursing home abuse can be reported. Only the hotline may be used for cases that require immediate attention. Melbourne or Titusville families that are considering placing an elder in a nursing home should consult the state’s Nursing Home Guide to determine which facilities have a history of deficiencies in past inspections.
Retaining a nursing home abuse attorney
Melbourne and Titusville families who have experienced nursing home abuse may file a lawsuit against the nursing home to potentially receive compensation for injuries suffered by the resident. In Florida, nursing home neglect lawsuits must be filed within two year of the date the abuse occurred or within two years of the date the incident was discovered or should have been discovered through due diligence. Therefore, it is in the family’s best interest to speak to a Melbourne nursing home neglect attorney as soon as the abuse is discovered. Delaying legal consultation may allow time for evidence to be destroyed, potential witnesses to relocate, and the victim’s memory of the incident to become clouded.
Those who wish to seek compensation in civil court should also understand that reporting the abuse and filing a legal claim are two separate processes. Even if the family wishes to wait to contact counsel specialized in personal injury, the abuse should be reported to the state without delay to allow the facility and the abusive parties to be properly regulated and prevented from committing further violations. Call the law firm of Couture Law P.A. with any questions regarding this complicated area of law.