Nursing Home Abuse – Understanding Your Rights

Florida is home to thousands of senior citizens. In fact, Florida has the largest percentage of residents over the age of 65, according to U.S. News & World Report. This means that nursing homes and long-term care facilities are often inundated with requests for service in the state. Unfortunately, many nursing homes wind up understaffed or staffed by employees who are not qualified and fail to take reasonable care of patients. Such negligent care, among other infractions, qualifies as nursing home abuse.

When You May Have the Basis for Filing a Nursing Home Abuse Claim:

The Staff Violated a State Statute or Regulation

Residents in Florida nursing homes have the right to privacy, personal dignity, and a level of personal autonomy. The Florida Department of State has codified minimum standards that must be met by all nursing homes doing business in the state. If an employee of the nursing home violates one or more of these standards, there may be grounds to take legal action.

Failing to Provide or Properly Administer a Medication

Your senior loved one has the right to be given proper medication and doses. When a prescription drug error occurs and that oversight results in an injury to a resident, a negligence claim could be pursued. An investigation would need to be conducted to determine the origin of the medication mistake since it may involve the prescribing physician, the pharmacist, and/or the nursing home.

Improper and Chronic Understaffing of the Nursing Home

Image Source (CC BY 2.0) by Fran Urbano via flickr
Image Source (CC BY 2.0) by Fran Urbano [no longer active on platform] via flickr

If a nursing home is chronically understaffed, it can have serious adverse effects on residents. Medications are missed, bed pans are not cleaned out regularly, residents who are immobile are left in beds for days, etc. It can create a toxic, unsafe environment. Florida nursing homes can be held liable if a resident suffers a serious injury or dies due to understaffing.

Insufficient Training of Staff

On a related issue, even if a nursing home has plenty of staff, if they are not properly trained on how to administer medications, assist residents who have physical ailments, or fail to see recognizable signs of deteriorating health conditions, this may form the basis of a negligence claim against the nursing home.

Emotional Abuse by Staff

It is difficult to imagine, but many nursing home staff members have been caught on video levying threats, being insulting, and simply being downright mean to residents. This would be categorized as mental and emotional abuse in a nursing home, and can refer to verbal degradation or threats, isolation, sarcastic remarks or insults. Residents who are subjected to emotional abuse may not display obvious warning signs like physical bruises. However, they may display emotional withdrawal, mood swings, confusion, anxiety and/or or depression. If you notice this type of behavior by your elderly loved one, you need to investigate further and determine how your loved one is being treated by the staff.

Time to Take Action

If you suspect your elderly loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect in a Florida nursing home, you need to reach out and speak to an experienced Florida nursing home abuse lawyer. These cases can be complex and require intense investigation of nursing home records and of the facility itself. The more time goes by, the higher the risk of vital documents being lost or misplaced. Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer at Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti, P.A. and set up a time to meet for a confidential, free consultation. Contact us today at (305) 653-5555 or fill out our online contact form to get your free, no obligation consultation today!