Caring for our elders is a hallmark of a healthy and respectful society, but when seniors are abused or neglected in a nursing home, there can be serious trauma and suffering—not only for the victim but for the victim’s family members as well. After all, placing a loved one in a nursing home is oftentimes already one of the most difficult decisions family members must make. However, what begins as a difficult situation can quickly escalate into a true nightmare if it is discovered that abuse or neglect has occurred.
The World Health Organization estimates that the global population of those 60 and older will double from 900 million in 2015 to more than 2 billion by 2050. This means the number of people at risk for being a victim of nursing home abuse will increase over the next three decades. If your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, attorney Mike Redondo can help. Mike is a zealous advocate for victimized seniors and will fight aggressively for your loved one’s rights and future. When you are facing the devastation of nursing home abuse, contact the injury attorneys at Redondo Law for the assistance you need and deserve.
How Common is Nursing Home Abuse?
The World Health Organization also estimates that at least one in six people over the age of 60 experienced some form of abuse in a community setting over the past year. Nursing homes and long-term care facilities can have shockingly high rates of elder abuse. In fact, two in three staff members reporting they have committed some level of elder abuse or neglect. In 2019, the federal government marked twenty-five Florida nursing homes with a warning icon for failing to protect residents from being abused, neglected, or exploited. Six hundred and ninety-seven Florida nursing home facilities were compared, with twenty-five of those homes being listed as having “severe citations of abuse.”
What are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?
Unfortunately, the signs of nursing home abuse are often overlooked, even by those closest to the victim. In many cases, changes in the senior’s behavior may be mistaken as signs of the aging process. For example, one of the primary signs of nursing home abuse is withdrawal by the elderly person, including not wanting to see or talk to loved ones. The nursing home may justify this changed behavior as signs of dementia or by claiming the elder’s medications are causing side effects. Many seniors may be abused in a nursing home by a staff member, then threatened with worse abuse if they tell their family about the abuse. This can cause the seniors to simply withdraw from the world, including from their loved ones. Other typical signs of nursing home abuse include:
- Frequent or unexplained falls;
- Bruises (particularly on the wrists and ankles, which can be the result of restraints);
- Skin lesions;
- Sudden mood changes;
- Unwillingness to communicate;
- Fear or anxiety;
- Unexplained weight loss;
- Unpleasant odors which can suggest the staff are not attending to the senior’s hygiene or toileting needs;
- Head injuries;
- Frequent infections or illnesses;
- Unusual changes in behavior, including sucking, biting or rocking; or
- Appearing heavily medicated or sedated.
What Should You Do if You Suspect Abuse of Your Loved One?
If you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, you should first attempt to discuss the situation with your loved one. However, this may not yield the information you need because the senior may be too frightened or ashamed to discuss the issue. Next, discuss your concerns with the nursing home’s administration. If your suspicions are not entirely allayed by this discussion, it could be time to file a complaint with the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration or a local human services department. It could also be very beneficial to consult an experienced Miami nursing home abuse attorney who can help you determine what you need to do to protect your loved one. The safety of your loved one is paramount, and your Miami nursing home abuse attorney can help you decide which authorities to contact as well as whether you should file a lawsuit against the nursing home for the abuse of your loved one.
How Can a Nursing Home Abuse Victim Recover Following an Incidence of Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse is a felony in the state of Florida, and with the rising population of Florida’s elderly, it is essential that suspicions of abuse be promptly reported. There may also be damages your loved one can recover for the nursing home abuse or neglect. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the abuse, your loved one may be able to receive compensation for the abuse in the form of medical expenses, pain and suffering, and possibly punitive damages, if the abuse was particularly egregious or deliberate.
It is important to keep in mind the applicable statutes of limitations when reporting nursing home abuse. In the state of Florida, you have two years in which to file a lawsuit against a nursing home pursuant to Florida Code 400.0236. While there are certain cases where those statutes can be extended, in no event can they be extended past six years. Speaking to a knowledgeable nursing home abuse attorney is the best way to ensure you do not exceed the Florida statutes of limitations, and that your loved one receives justice.
How Redondo Law Can Help You and Your Loved One Following Nursing Home Abuse
If you should ever find yourself facing the tragedy of nursing home abuse, you have an ally in Mike Redondo. At Redondo Law, client service and satisfaction are more than words—they are the most important priority. Not only will Mike Redondo ensure you and your loved one receive justice and are made whole for the losses suffered, he is dedicated to fighting aggressively on behalf of victims of nursing home abuse. Contact Redondo Law today to schedule a consultation and have all your questions answered.