All of the three million people who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility have federal and state residents’ rights that promise that they will be free from any type of abuse or neglect. According to Florida Statute 400.022, these residents are entitled to a basic set of rights, and lawsuits can be filed against nursing home staff if they are victims of abuse or neglect.
Unfortunately, abuse and neglect of these elderly residents are common. Thirty-three percent of nursing home residents report that they have been abused and 95% report that they have seen other residents being abused. That is why it is important to keep an eye out for warning signs of nursing home neglect and abuse in West Palm Beach. If you, or a loved one, are a victim of nursing home abuse, consult an attorney today. A compassionate and capable nursing home abuse lawyer can attempt to achieve justice for you and your loved ones.
What is Nursing Home Neglect?
Nursing home neglect is defined as harm to the elderly resident resulting from the breach of duty of care and freedom from harm owed the resident by that care being sub-standard and the harm being a reasonably foreseeable of the negligent action.
The harm does not need to have been intentional, it may happen as a result of a lack of sufficient resources to provide a full level of care. It also includes a failure to react to a dangerous situation.
Neglect can be difficult to spot as there may not be physical signs of the harm, and it is imperative that loved ones remain vigilant in noticing any harm.
Defining Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse, on the other hand, is defined as physical pain or injury or emotional or mental anguish suffered by the elderly resident as a result of a specific intent to harm. Physical abuse is much easier to observe, as most physical contact will result in bruises or other injuries.
Some warning signs of nursing home neglect and abuse in West Palm Beach include some of the following:
- Bed injuries/asphyxiation or bed sores
- Falls, fractures, unexplained injuries, including cuts and bruises and broken bones
- Rapid weight gain or loss
- Unexplained or unexpected death of the resident
- Often sick, and these incidences are not being reported to the doctor and family
- Heavy medication or sedation
- Emotionally upset, agitated, withdrawn, non-communicative
- Getting lost
- Unusual or sudden changes in behavior, including biting, rocking, or a fear of being touched
- Reluctance to speak in staff members’ presence
- Wanting to be withdrawn or isolated from others
- Self esteem
- Mood swings
- Avoiding eye contact
- Increased anger
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns or a change in appearance
Environmental signs of abuse include things like unsanitary and unclean conditions and slippery floors. Poor lighting can also indicate neglect, as well as unsafe mobility equipment and unsafe furniture in an individual’s room.
What to Do In Case of Abuse
A resident’s loved ones, whether they are family or otherwise, should be vigilant in noticing any changes in behavior or other warning signs of nursing home neglect and abuse in West Palm Beach. Also, they should tour the facility and speak to the staff often, to prevent any inappropriate behavior by the staff.
If it is discovered that a nursing home resident has been the victim of physical or verbal abuse, they should be removed from the situation immediately and the situation should be investigated and reported to the authorities. Emotional counseling is helpful for the victim, and an attorney can help you recover damages and bring justice.