Fort Myers Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Protecting the Rights of Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence Victims
Every day loved ones are entrusted to the care of others in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. We expect them to get good care. However, nursing home neglect and abuse is becoming a serious problem in Florida. There are many documented examples of nursing home and assisted living facility abuse - i.e., inadequate care, bed sores, infections, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, neglect, abandonment, and/or financial and material exploitation. Often, nursing home neglect is the result of deliberate understaffing.
If your loved one is abused in any way, call our firm immediately at (888) 477-4839. Our Fort Myers nursing home abuse attorney, Randall L. Spivey, has the compassion and expertise to achieve the best possible settlement or verdict you deserve. We are committed to utilizing our team of experts and legal discovery to prove cases of elder mistreatment.
Common Forms of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home patients must receive the level of care outlined by Florida state laws, and your health care provider or facility must recognize your rights while you are receiving medical care.
Cases for nursing home neglect, in which the facility failed to provide reasonable care, include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:
- Inadequate supervision
- Inadequate nutrition
- Bed sores
- Falls due to inadequate assistance or supervision
- Prescription errors
- Insufficient fluids
- Improper medical care
- Failure to provide assistance with bathing and bathroom needs
- Inadequate protection from hazards
It’s important to understand that physical abuse and neglect are not the only forms of nursing home abuse that seniors (age 60 and older) are likely to encounter. Though many people think of nursing home abuse and neglect in a straightforward manner — such as the failure to provide proper nutrition, or intentionally withholding medication from a senior staying in a nursing home — there are many other types of abuse.
According to the Center for Disease Control, there are six different types of abusive misconduct imposed on seniors, both in the nursing home context and otherwise: physical, emotional, sexual, financial, neglect, and abandonment. The range of abuse that seniors are often subjected to can come as something of a surprise for the general public, but it is the unfortunate reality. Nursing home seniors are in a uniquely vulnerable position, making them a target for various forms of abuse. For example, it’s not uncommon for a nursing home senior to be sexually harassed or even assaulted by a staff member.
Identifying Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
Identifying nursing home neglect and abuse can be difficult if you don’t know what to look out for. Warning signs include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:
- Bruising, burn marks, lacerations, fractures, and other physical injuries
- Poor hygiene
- Sudden loss of weight
- Sudden hair loss
- Dirty bedding/environment
- Anxiety, particularly around caregivers
- Inconsistent reporting of experience in the nursing home (i.e., complaints followed by “hedging” of complaints)
- New motor impairments
- Sudden change in financial health
- Regular recurrence of injuries
It’s important to keep an eye out for signs of neglect and abuse, as Florida law gives family members (spouse, child, parent, sibling, and others) the right to bring a lawsuit on behalf of their loved one under certain circumstances — specifically, if your loved one has given you power of attorney or can be adjudged mentally incompetent (giving your guardianship over them).
Damages Your Fort Myers Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Will Pursue
Nursing home residents who sustain an injury as a result of the negligence of the facility may be entitled to receive monetary compensation for the following:
Medical expenses: Medical expenses include past and future losses. For example, the senior is not only entitled to damages for the expenses already suffered as a direct result of the neglect and abuse but are also entitled to damages that compensate them for future treatment (i.e., surgeries, rehabilitation, ongoing therapy, etc.).
Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering in Florida is a non-economic loss and is therefore somewhat subjective in nature. It is a broad category of damages that accounts for both the physical and emotional suffering that an individual experiences due to the defendant’s wrongful conduct. For example, the physical pain resulting from a fracture would count as “pain and suffering” damages.
Disability or disfigurement: Impairments caused by nursing home neglect and abuse can give rise to a disability or disfigurement. Damages may incorporate losses relating to the impairment, such as an inability to engage in social and personal activities, or even work-related losses (though seniors are unlikely to have a significant work-related loss).
Aggravation of pre-existing conditions: If a pre-existing condition has been aggravated, then the losses attributed to the senior’s new, aggravated condition and their old, pre-existing condition may be recoverable as damages.
Property (Financial) Loss: In many cases, vulnerable seniors are exposed to financial abuse by manipulative caregivers. It’s not uncommon for a caregiver to ingratiate themselves with a lonely senior in a nursing home, and to then convince the vulnerable senior to gift them significant assets. These losses may be recoverable.
Punitive Damages: Punitive damages (which are multiplicative of the overall compensatory damages) are not commonly awarded in Florida but may be available in situations where the defendant engaged in willful, malicious, and particularly egregious conduct. For example, if a nursing home caregiver sexually assaulted a patient, then the court might consider an award of punitive damages.
Seek Justice With the Help of a Fort Myers Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
At Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., our attorneys provide personal attention to every client and devote whatever resources are necessary to help our clients receive maximum compensation. We treat each client and each case with personal care and attention. Contact a Fort Myers nursing home abuse attorney today to discuss your case and review your options.
More Helpful Information
In a December 2019 article, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported that Florida’s nursing homes are still not 100 percent compliant with the Emergency Power Plan Generator Rule.
Two bills that would reduce inspections of troublesome nursing homes (Senate Bill I726 and House Bill 731) are making their way through Florida’s legislature.
Often nursing home residents are unable to stand and/or walk by themselves. They require assistance from nursing home staff and even a Hoyer lift.
Until 1987 when the Nursing Home Reform Act was passed by Congress, nursing home care left residents vulnerable. The Act required virtually all nursing homes that received funding from Medicare or Medicaid to follow the federal nursing home standards.
During this holiday season, before you visit relatives and friends in long-term care facilities, it is important to be aware and recognize the various types of elder abuse and how to report it.
Golden Pond Communities settled a claim for negligence for the death of a Florida nursing home resident. The plaintiff claimed the defendant failed to properly supervise and care for a resident, leading to his death.
As we entered the 2019 hurricane season on June 1, 2019, about half of nursing homes and assisted living facilities were not in compliance with recent legislation on generators, according to the Naples Daily News.
Hurricane season officially started on Saturday, June 1 and runs through November 30. After Hurricane Irma in 2017, many Florida nursing homes and assisted living facilities were found to be woefully inadequate in providing safe environments for their residents. Many facilities still are not meeting Florida’s mandate for backup power.
For years, the federal government has kept the names of close to 400 poor-functioning nursing homes under wraps. These nursing homes had a “persistent record of poor care.”
Dementia patients need extra attention when they are in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
The National Council of Aging (NCOA) estimates that nearly 5 million senior citizens are abused each year in the United States. Sixty percent of the time those who abuse seniors are family members.
Research shows that 2.5 million vulnerable individuals are at a much higher risk for abuse and neglect when residing in nursing homes or assisted living facilities than older people living at home.