When you trust a nursing home facility to care for your elderly loved one, you don’t expect them to suffer due to negligence, or flat-out abuse. The unfortunate truth is that it happens far too often – not only in Florida, but throughout the rest of the United States. Nursing home residents are often severely in slip-and-fall accidents, such as falling out of their chair, or falling down steps. When something like this happens, the damage to a frail older body can be fatal.
If you suspect that your family member has been the victim of nursing home abuse in Florida, get in touch with Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh as soon as you can. We’ll launch a detailed investigation into the alleged abuse, and then work to make sure those responsible are held fully accountable.
Nursing Home Abuse Statistics
The numbers tell a horrible story when it comes to nursing abuse. It’s estimated that as many as 10% of people 65 and older have to deal with some sort of abuse, whether they’re in a nursing home or not. If they’re in a nursing facility, however, they’re at a much higher risk.
In one study by the National Center on Elder Abuse, 44% of elder residents reported having been abused while in a nursing home. This figure is likely higher due to underreporting of abuse out of fear of retaliation or due to undue shame or guilt.
Of the various forms of abuse elders experience in nursing homes, the most common were:
- Physical abuse: 29%
- Psychological abuse: 21%
- Abuse by another resident: 22%
- Gross neglect: 14%
- Financial abuse: 7%
- Sexual abuse: 7%
According to one study, an astounding 40% of nursing home staff admitted that they committed some sort of psychological abuse during the previous year, such as yelling at a resident, isolating them inappropriately, or even withholding food. Think about that for a minute – 40% admitted to it. You have to think the actual number is much, much higher.
More than 2,000 residents took part in a survey, and 44% of survey respondents said they had suffered some form of abuse – incredibly, 95% reported either being neglected themselves, or witnessing other residents being neglected.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
When the staff members of a nursing care facility harm residents, that’s known as nursing home abuse. It’s usually intentional, but there are instances where it can be unintentional. Any sort of abuse can lead to not only emotional and physical trauma, but even death.
In many instances, abuse occurs due to a staff member’s actions or inactions. Many facilities are severely understaffed, resulting in overworked staffers taking their frustrations out on residents. They may be slower to respond to a medical emergency, such as a stroke or a fall.
But being overworked is no excuse for this type of disgusting behavior. When it can be proven that someone has committed abuse of an elderly person, they must be held accountable – not just through a civil lawsuit, but through a lengthy prison sentence as well.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
We touched on some of the more common types of nursing home abuse. In addition to physical, emotional and sexual abuse, other forms include abandonment, neglect and many others. Financial abuse is particularly rampant. As a result, if you ever have to admit a loved one to a nursing home, make sure they don’t have anything valuable on their person or in their room. Unfortunately, if they do have something of worth, there’s a very good chance it will be stolen.
Signs an Elderly Relative Has Been Abused
Be alert for the following signs of emotional or physical abuse when visiting a loved one.
- Depression, confusion or withdrawal
- Isolation from other residents
- Unexplained scars, bruises or burns
- A dirty appearance, or appearing to be dehydrated or underfed
- Bed sores
- Changes in spending or banking patterns
Damages Your Loved One Can Recover
If you suspect nursing home abuse and you file a lawsuit against the facility, you may be entitled to compensation to cover the following:
- Medical bills, both now and in the future
- Pain and suffering
- Any debilitation resulting from the abuse
- And many others
You may also be able to pursue punitive damages for particularly egregious forms of abuse or negligence. These damages are typically much higher than others, but they are very rarely awarded. If you’ve lost a loved one due to abuse, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Why Hire an Attorney for My Loved One?
As angry as you may be if you know your loved one has suffered abuse, please don’t do anything rash. You might actually make things worse for the victim. Talk to an attorney instead to get justice. An attorney will investigate your allegation. And they’ll fight for your loved one’s rights should they find credible evidence that abuse is taking place.
Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing Home Abuse
- How do I report abuse? You can call the US Administration on Aging Eldercare Locator support hotline at (800) 677-1116. You can also call the National Center on Elder Abuse at (855) 500-3537. However, if you feel your family member is in imminent danger, call 911 so that police can be dispatched to the facility.
- How much can my loved one receive through a nursing abuse lawsuit? That’s going to depend on a lot of factors, including the extent of the injury, the cost of past and future medical care due to the abuse, and more. A Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh nursing home abuse attorney can tell you much more.
Contact KMW to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation ASAP
If you have a good reason to believe your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the law firm of Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh. Give us a call at (561) 295-5825 or Contact us online as soon as possible.
The faster you get in touch with us, the faster we can get to work on behalf of you and your family member.