Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse & Negligence

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Senior physical abuse can involve hitting, punching, slapping and other physical assault. Unfortunately, senior physical abuse is more common than many people realize in nursing home and caregiver situations. It can also be difficult to detect, especially since the elderly may have trouble articulating or may be afraid to speak up against their abusers.

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Physical abuse can happen for many reasons. In some cases, caregivers don’t have the support they need and take it out on their charges. In other reasons, unqualified caregivers are allowed to work with seniors, due to inadequate checks or screenings. In some cases, abusive caregivers even go into the profession because seniors, they feel, are more vulnerable and less likely to tell others about the abuse.

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Nursing home and elder abuse is a serious concern in Hollywood and across South Florida. If you have an elderly family member in a care environment in Homestead, Miami, or any community, it’s important to take precautions to ensure they are not a target.

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One of the first steps you can take is to choose caregivers and care facilities carefully. Whether you choose to place your loved one in a nursing home, retirement home, assisted living facility or with a full-time or part-time caregiver, always check backgrounds and references. Seek out recommendations, compare options, and ask lots of questions.

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Nursing home abuse and neglect in Homestead and other communities can go undetected for years. Unfortunately, this can have terrible consequences as those who are affected by neglect and abuse can become ill, can suffer injuries, or can even pass away due to the abuse and neglect they suffer.

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Nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and other care facilities are supposed to be monitored by agencies and are answerable to governing bodies to ensure residents stay safe. How is it possible, then, that neglect and abuse are allowed to happen in Homestead and other communities?

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If you have an elderly loved one who has Alzheimer’s, dementia, serious mobility problems, or other problems which require around-the-clock care, you may eventually have to make the difficult decision to place them in care. A high quality nursing home or other care environment can provide your family member with full-time medical care, a comfortable life, and the ability to live their life with dignity.

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In fact, placing a loved one in proper care can mean a safer environment. Care homes and nursing homes are designed to help protect loved ones who can’t take care of themselves. They have an entire staff to help, which can be safer than having one family caregiver who does not have nursing or professional training.

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Elder abuse or nursing home abuse in Hollywood and across southern Florida is a serious issue. Each year, seniors are abused sexually, financially, medically, emotionally, and physically. Unfortunately, there many risk factors which can lead to nursing home and elder abuse in Hollywood and across the state:

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1) Lack of supervision.

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Nursing home abuse and neglect in Hollywood and across southern Florida can be difficult to spot. If you have a loved one residing in a retirement home, nursing home, or any assisted living facility, you may wonder whether your family member is getting the care they require.

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Each year, elder abuse claims are filed against caregivers and nursing homes and in many cases the neglect goes on for some time before being detected. Victims may be embarrassed about their situation, frightened of their abusers, or unable to get help. In many cases, it is family and friends visiting loved ones who notice signs of abuse.

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Unfortunately, it happens in South Florida every year: nursing home residents in Miami, Hollywood, and other cities suffer abuse and neglect.  Neglect can mean seniors are left alone and without proper care or medical attention for extended periods of time. Abuse can involve physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse.

This type of situation can create devastating effects. An elderly resident may not be able to seek out help and any physical injuries they suffer as a result of neglect or abuse can take longer to heal, especially if there are underlying conditions.

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Making the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is always difficult. Your family in Hollywood may want to provide the best care for an elderly loved one, but their conditions or their needs may simply exceed the care you can offer. A Hollywood nursing home can promise to offer better medical care, professional attention, and the support your family member needs.

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Unfortunately, a number of nursing home neglect and abuse cases in Hollywood and across the country over the years have shown that sometimes the places which claim to care for the vulnerable and elderly residents sometimes do not protect residents.

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May is Older Americans Month, according to the Association for Community Living. If you have elderly family members, there many things that you can do to ensure their safety:

1) Help protect your elderly loved ones against nursing home abuse and neglect.

Unfortunately, older Americans who are placed in assisted-living communities, nursing homes, retirement homes, and other caregiver situations sometimes fall victim to abuse and neglect in these Homestead and Florida caregiving settings where they’re supposed to be most protected.

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An investigative report in the Miami Herald earlier this year showed an alarming trend in assisted living negligence and abuse in Miami and across the state. According to journalists Rob Barry, Michael Sallah and Carol Marbin Miller, the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), which is tasked with overseeing assisted living facilities in the state, has not monitored these facilities adequately and has allowed dangerous conditions at facilities to continue – even after residents and families have reported serious problems. As a result, serious injuries and even fatalities have occurred in Florida’s assisted living facilities, according to the reports.

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According to the Miami Herald, the number of assisted living facilities has increased by 550 across Florida in the past five years while inspections of these facilities have declined 33% in the same period, allowing dangerous conditions to continue. This allows almost one abuse- or negligence-related fatality per month at these institutions. In addition, between 2011 and 2012 the newspaper reported that there were 70 homes that could have been shut down due to violations of laws, but only seven were actually closed. Some of the homes that remained open had more than 100 violations that created dangerous conditions for residents. Conditions are so bad, according to the journalists, that some facilities have had their funding frozen by the government and some government agencies are no longer sending residents to facilities with known violations – but these homes are still, in some cases, licensed by the AHCA.

Assisted living facilities were created more than 25 years ago by legislation meant to protect the ill and the elderly. Today, tens of thousands of people live in more than 2800 facilities across Florida and are supposed to be protected by assisted living laws as well as other legislation.

However, according to the Miami Herald, these facilities have in some cases become so dangerous that slip and fall accidents in Miami, overmedication, medical abuse, neglect, and outright abuse are occurring at some of these homes. In many cases, however, the journalists claim that no steps are taken to shut down the homes or punish those who are guilty of assisted living facility or nursing home abuse and negligence in Miami and other cities.

Assisted living facilities are supposed to be an alternative to nursing homes. However, while many states inspect such facilities annually, Florida currently only inspects them once every two years. Between 2002 and 2008, according to the Miami Herald, investigations of injuries and deaths at these facilities declined by 90%. At the same time, the number of abuse and neglect cases at these facilities doubled over the past five years, according to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs ombudsman program.

According to Miami Herald reporter Kenny Malone, more than 70 people have died in assisted living facilities in Florida over the past eight years due to abuse and neglect. Part of the problem, according to the reported, is that the state can keep records of deaths secret even from family members. In some cases, Malone reports, there have been cases of assisted living facilities falsifying or destroying records in order to cover up abuse and fatalities, but few were ever charged as a result.

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