Nursing homes are supposed to provide a safe and healthy environment for seniors who can no longer live on their own. Unfortunately, while many nursing homes do care for residents, each year residents at some nursing homes are seriously or even fatally injured due to preventable accidents. When this happens, criminal charges or civil claims can be filed.
We go to clinics and health facilities to get medical care and to heal from illnesses and injuries. Most of us don’t expect to get injured or ill in a doctor’s office or hospital, but it does happen.
Medical facilities of all kinds are expected to care for their patients and visitors. This means taking care of building maintenance, hiring security guards where needed, and working to provide a safe facility for patients. When they fail to do this, they can be held liable if someone is injured.
Seniors have a lifetime of experience, but it does not make them invulnerable to abuse. In fact, the elderly are often the targets of fraudsters and those who would harm them.
Seniors can be victims of:
There are 4.5 million seniors in Florida, and for these residents falls can be a serious danger. While some healthy adults may be able to brush off a slip and fall or trip and fall with no serious injury, falls are one of the leading risks of death and serious injury for seniors.
Underlying health conditions can make the elderly susceptible to falls. They can also make seniors more at risk. Conditions such as osteoporosis, for example, can make bones more brittle, leading to more serious fractures.
With Miami and South Florida nursing home abuse and negligence allegations in the news, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, many families are considering the safest options for elderly family members. Florida has many options for the elderly, and families are looking to provide safe care, from the choices available:
In Florida, falls are the top cause of serious injuries and fatalities for seniors. Older adults with health conditions and previous falls are especially vulnerable, but previous falls and conditions in the environment can also contribute to falls.
When older adults fall, their age is sometimes blamed for their injuries, but they can easily have a premises liability claim or a nursing home negligence claim, depending on where the fall took place. The owners of properties have an obligation to keep their properties safe and nursing homes have a duty of care to take extra precautions for vulnerable seniors. When these parties are reckless and fail to meet their duties, they can be held liable if someone is injured.
While outbreaks of COVID-19 in nursing homes across the country are in the news–and have been for months—it’s important not to lose sight of other dangers which can affect seniors. Nursing home abuse and negligence in nursing homes in Hialeah, Homestead and other communities, for example, continues to be a concern.
In fact, nursing home abuse and negligence may get worse during the COVID-19 pandemic for a few reasons:
In south Florida and across the country, nursing homes are among the most hard-hit areas for COVID-19 outbreaks, complications, and fatalities. As a result, many families are wondering whether they have a Florida or Hollywood nursing home negligence case against long-term homes.
These facilities often have high concentrations of elderly residents in an enclosed space, allowing the disease to spread. Since residents are in close contact with staff and caregivers, they are vulnerable if any staff contract the virus outside and bring it to the facility. Tragically, since many residents in long-term care facilities have underlying conditions and medical concerns, they are more likely than the general population to develop serious and life-threatening complications from the novel coronavirus.
It’s one of the most difficult situations for any family: you’ve placed a loved one in a nursing home in Hollywood or another South Florida community and now you have suspicions that nursing home abuse or neglect is taking place. In many cases, families second-guess their instincts and wonder whether abuse really is taking place.
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to tell when something is wrong. Residents of nursing homes may have cognitive impairment, dementia or other conditions which make it difficult for them to communicate their concerns fully. Nursing homes may easily dismiss accusations as confusion, poor communication, or other issues related to a diagnosis of dementia or another condition. In addition, nursing home residents are often fearful about speaking up against their abusers. They may fear repercussions or may feel ashamed by what is going on.
If you have an elderly parent or relative who needs additional help and lives in a nursing home, you may want to speak to them about nursing home safety. While many nursing homes in Homestead and across South Florida do take great care in providing safe and supportive environments, some nursing homes have been found liable for unsafe condition or have been cited by authorities for failing to provide safe conditions.
Since your elderly loved one is in the nursing home day after day, they are in an ideal position to take an active role in preventing injuries and in helping you to uncover any possible negligence on the part of the nursing home. There are several conversations you will want to have with your elderly loved one as they enter a nursing home: