For many families, the possibility of nursing home abuse and negligence is one of the worst nightmares possible. Families place their loved ones in nursing homes so that elderly loved ones get the care they need in their older age. When staff are guilty of abuse and negligence, fatalities, personal injury and emotional upheaval are all too often the results. In order to address possible abuse and negligence in a nursing home, it is important to identify what type of negligence or abuse may be taking place:
1) Physical abuse. Physical abuse is one of the most common forms of abuse in a nursing home setting, and it can involve anything from beatings and physical assault to food and water deprivation, sexual assault, abuse of physical restraints, and other forms of abuse. This type of abuse often leaves physical marks, such as dehydration, weight loss, burn injuries, bed sores, bruises, broken bones, black eyes, behavioral changes, and other clues. Both nursing home staff and other patients can be perpetrators of this type of abuse.
2) Psychological abuse, or emotional abuse. This type of abuse can include verbal abuse, isolation, threats, humiliation, and other behaviors that are intended to create emotional pain. This form of abuse leaves fewer clues but patients who have been victimized by this form of abuse may show symptoms of confusion, anger, withdrawal, depression, and other emotional upheavals. Both nursing home staff and other patients can be perpetrators of this type of abuse.
3) Financial abuse. This type of abuse can include theft, forgery, identity theft, or making financial decisions without patient consent. Signs of this can include sudden financial worries, sudden financial changes, depression, and loss of items. Both nursing home staff and other patients can be perpetrators of this type of abuse.
4) Sexual abuse. Sexual abuse can involve sexual touching, exposing a patient to others or having someone expose themselves to a patient, and rape. Signs of this form of abuse can include STDs, bruises, and emotional upset. Both nursing home staff and other patients can be perpetrators of this type of abuse.
5) Negligence. Negligence is generally perpetrated by nursing home staff and it can include any behaviors that can mean lowering the quality of life for a patient. Negligence can include lack of access to health care, lack of adequate facilities, lack of assistance when a patient needs it, inadequate heating and cooling, inadequate food and clothing, inappropriate shelter, lack of personal interaction, and other deprivations. Signs of negligence can include bed sores, unexplained weight loss, depression, and unexplained personal injuries.
If you see any of these signs of abuse or negligence, call a qualified attorney. An experienced Florida attorney can get you the answers you and your family deserve and can act to safeguard your elderly loved one.