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:
1) Lack of supervision.
In a nursing home, retirement home, or assisted living facility, neglect or abuse taking place may go undetected by others in the same area. In many cases, in fact, it is family and friends visiting an elderly loved one who notice signs of abuse, such as withdrawn behavior, personality changes, unexplained bruises and injuries, and other signs of abuse.
In nursing homes, retirement homes, and other facilities, correct supervision can do a great deal to help prevent abuse and neglect. Staff should be supervised at all times and seniors should be supervised to ensure that they are not vulnerable due to staff or due to other residents. Some residents may have cognitive or communication challenges which prevent them from speaking out, so careful supervision is essential.
2) Staffing problems.
Nursing homes and retirement homes may have staffing will which can pose a risk factor for nursing home abuse and neglect. High staff turnover and lack of adequate staff can contribute to neglect and abuse as staff get overwhelmed or as staff get replaced by less qualified personnel. Nursing homes have an obligation to staff their facilities with adequate numbers of professional and trained personnel. When they do not and staffing issues result in injury, the nursing home may be held liable for any injuries that result.
Sometimes, abusers are drawn to caregiving roles to take advantage of their charges. For this reason, it’s important for hospitals, nursing homes, retirement homes, and assisted-living facilities to carefully screen all applicants and only hire those who can pass a background check. In addition, nursing homes need to stay vigilant about all residents in homes – some residents may have a history of abusive or violent behavior.
4) Overworked caregivers.
Sometimes, elder abuse can even take place at the hands of family. When untrained family members care for an elderly loved one, they may start to feel isolated, overwhelmed, and may feel a great deal of stress. Even if caregiving starts with the best intentions, the situation can allow abuse and neglect to take place. Proper supports for family members who offer care as well as arrangements where professional staff are hired to look in on elderly loved ones who are housebound can help prevent this type of abuse and neglect from taking place.
5) Poor policies and systems in nursing homes.
Nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and other facilities should have systems and policies in place to prevent abuse and neglect. For example, there should be systems in place for reporting abuse so it can be dealt with promptly. In addition, nursing homes should be staffed so that each resident gets personalized attention from a few staff members who can work together for the proper care of that resident.
6) Cultural issues.
Unfortunately, we live in a culture that prizes youth. It is important to ensure everyone is valued in our society, including individuals of all ages. When everyone is prized for their contributions to society and their knowledge, there may be even more social pressure to put an end to elder abuse.
Unfortunately, while there are laws in place to prevent nursing home abuse and neglect, enforcing those laws can be difficult. Many families who find a loved one has been abused or neglected find it frustrating or difficult to get criminal charges filed against abusers, nursing homes, and other facilities. With vigorous defenses and delays, abusers can sometimes walk away without any jail time or penalties. Many families turn to the civil courts to get compensation and justice so they can help protect their loved ones.
If you have an elderly family member who has been abused or neglected, don’t hesitate to contact Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation. We have handled thousands of nursing home abuse and personal injury cases across southern Florida and would be pleased to discuss your situation with you to offer you advice and legal support.