Finding residential care for loved ones can be emotionally and financially difficult for many people. Nursing home care is one of the most important and common residential care options available in the United States. While there are many competent residential care facilities, nursing home abuse in Florida can occur to any client.

What Is A Nursing Home?

The definition of a nursing home may vary, but it is commonly used to describe a residential facility where a person can live or stay temporarily. Most clients are elderly and may seek treatment that cannot be provided in a regular home setting.

Nursing home services usually include 24-hour care with trained nurses and staff. Case management is also usually provided as well as health monitoring, personal care, and supervision. Specialized dietary needs are often met at a nursing home facility and occupational or physical therapy is usually offered in Florida.

Family caregivers may not be able to provide all the services needed to aging relatives and many people cannot afford to equip their households with the proper safety regulations needed. Nursing homes are ideal for those with limited mobility or who need nursing assistance. Since many of these services are essential for everyday living, nursing home care is critical. Unfortunately, not all nursing homes can meet the basic standards of care and abuse can happen.

Is Nursing Home Abuse in Florida Common?

Approximately 1 in 10 elders are abused per year. Nursing home abuse can be detrimental to the client as well as his or her family and friends. Nursing home abuse can happen more often because it is not always reported. While some forms of physical abuse can be obvious, many types of abuse may go unnoticed. If a patient or client does not wish to report abuse, this can have an impact on other residential guests as well.

There are a variety of reasons why a client may not feel comfortable reporting nursing home abuse. One of the most common reasons is fear. Reporting nursing home abuse may feel scary if there is a fear of retaliation. Others may be concerned that their claim will not be believed. With the right nursing home abuse attorney, abuse can be stopped in a dignified and professional way.

5 Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse In Florida

There are several common types of nursing home abuse in Florida. Although residents of a nursing home may be part of an inpatient facility, they are still legally protected by the United States law.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is a commonly understood form of abuse that is generally thought of as a fairly straightforward type of abuse. Physical abuse is considered an intentional act of causing trauma or bodily injury to a nursing home resident. Those who experience cognitive disorders such as dementia or memory loss are found to be more susceptible to this type of abuse. Examples of physical abuse include hitting or slapping, punching, biting, kicking, shoving, grabbing, pushing, or using an object to inflict harm. Restraining or using ties to confine a person is also considered physical abuse. Physical abuse can cause short or long-term injuries to any resident of a nursing home.

Psychological Abuse

Psychological abuse can be more difficult to see than physical abuse. Since physical abuse can leave visible scarring or bruising, abuse can be more immediately noticeable than the effects of psychological abuse. Psychological or emotional abuse occurs with the intent to cause distress. Examples of psychological or emotional abuse include name-calling, threats (including to have the resident placed elsewhere), isolation, limiting the use of transportation or privileges for the purpose of control, and using insults. Emotional or psychological abuse can greatly impact the mental health of any resident.

Sexual Abuse

This occurs when there is an intentional act of violating a nursing home client through unwanted sexual contact. Sexual abuse is not necessarily sexual intercourse, however, it can include that type of assault. Sexual abuse examples can include unwanted touching, groping, or oral intercourse. Symptoms of sexual abuse can include bruises, lesions, scratches, or sexually transmitted diseases. Sexual abuse can damage a resident both physically and psychologically and can leave a long-lasting negative impact on the quality of life.

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse can happen in any nursing home and involves the intentional exploitation of a resident’s finances. This form of manipulation can occur when others try to gain financial control over a client or resident in several different ways. Examples of financial abuse include blocking the resident’s access to their own funds, stealing possessions, money, or personal financial documents, forging documents, deceiving a resident, and misusing a power of attorney for financial gain. General staff members as well as nurses, caregiving aides, and/or family members can all financially abuse a nursing home resident. The sooner this type of abuse is reported, the easier it can be for a resident to take charge of his or her finances.

Neglect

Neglect is unlike many forms of abuse because instead of intentionally bringing harm or deceiving the resident, neglect involves a lack of action. Nursing home neglect can be a common problem in Florida and can often be overlooked by well-intentioned family members or friends. Examples of nursing home neglect include leaving residents alone for a long time and not meeting the basic needs of the resident. This can include necessities such as food and water as well as medication. Chronically forgetting to administer medication and baths is also considered a form of nursing home abuse. Dirty or unkempt rooms, ignoring residents’ complaints against staff, and failing to report illness or injury are all examples of potentially dangerous nursing home neglect.

Who Commits Nursing Home Abuse

A nursing home employs many different professionals to work at their facility. Some are designated to help administer direct medical care while others assist in daily living routines or paperwork. Nursing home abuse can occur from any professional, but most likely involves those who work directly with the resident.

Nursing home abuse is often committed by those who work closely with the client. This can include nursing staff and care aides. Many times these professionals are also the ones who are responsible for reporting health concerns. This being said, nursing home abuse can also happen from other residents in the facility. Abuse from other residents can be physical, psychological, sexual, or financial. Residents who experience cognitive issues may be especially susceptible to nursing home abuse.

Visiting family members can also commit nursing home abuse. While this is a less likely scenario, it can happen to any resident. Family member abuse can include any type of abuse such as physical, sexual, financial, and psychological mistreatment. Since this is not always an obvious problem, family members can continue the abuse for an extended period unless it is reported. If this type of abuse is not reported, it can cause financial distress as well as physical and psychological stress.

Residents Who Experience Cognitive Issues

Several elderly residents in nursing home facilities experience a variety of cognitive issues. While some of these can be related to Alzheimer’s disease or specific forms of cancer or brain tumors, many cognitive issues can occur. The natural process of aging can often impact an individual’s ability to remember events correctly or to organize thoughts cohesively.

While cognitive decline is average for many people, those who experience these issues may be more likely to experience nursing home abuse. There are a few different reasons for this. One reason occurs when cognitive issues impair the ability to properly perceive reality. This can lead to abuse if others think that the resident either won’t remember or won’t be believed. Cognitive impairment can make it more difficult for the resident to understand what is happening and report the abuse.

Residents who have cognitive issues have the same legal rights as other United States citizens. Reporting nursing home abuse is essential when receiving legal assistance.

Conclusion

A nursing home abuse attorney can help residents receive justice and the right kind of care that is necessary. Nursing home abuse in Florida is more common than most people care to think about. Even reputable and expensive nursing home facilities provide no guarantee when it comes to elderly abuse.

If you or somebody you love is experiencing nursing home abuse, it is essential to have proper legal representation. Without legal representation, it can be difficult to get the help or compensation needed for future care. The right nursing home abuse attorney is experienced and will treat any client with dignity, trust, and professionalism.