About two million Americans live in nursing homes, and some of these residents are victims of abuse or neglect.
If you suspect that your loved one is being abused in a Florida nursing home, you can reach out for help. Below, we’ll share an example of a current case, tell you which signs to look for, and explain what you can do to protect your loved one and hold the responsible parties accountable.
Nursing Home Disaster in Hollywood Hills
While this certainly isn’t the only case going on right now, one Florida family is suing a Hollywood Hills nursing home due to improper care of their loved one after a long power outage during Hurricane Irma.
Eleven nursing home residents died during the power outage. The family’s attorney alleges that the death was avoidable, and that it could have been averted by calling 911.
During the storm last September, the air conditioning power went out. The nursing home did not have a generator to keep the air conditioning on.
The lawsuit says that the nursing home failed to properly evacuate the residents, which put them at risk for health problems. The nursing home did place calls to 911 beginning three days after the storm, but the governor’s office states that the calls were delayed.
The nursing home alleges that they followed protocol in communicating with city and state officials, along with the utility company.
With such a serious situation, it makes you wonder: were there warning signs that could have alerted the family before this disaster?
Maybe. Maybe not. There are, however, general signs that you should be on the lookout for.
Nursing Home Abuse Warning Signs
These are signs that your loved one may be neglected or abused in a nursing home.
- Bed sores
- Blood with no explanation
- Head injuries
- Broken bones
- Headaches or stomach aches
- Slurred speech and hazy thoughts (signs of sedation)
- Disheveled or unclean appearance
- Infections or illnesses that go untreated or unreported
- Restraint that is unreasonable for the situation
- Increased anxiety, fear or paranoia
- Persistent sad feelings
- Crying spells
- Diminished interest in activities
- Negative statements
- Withdrawal from activities
- Lack of willingness to communicate or be touched
- Fears around a certain person
- Angry outbursts
- Biting or scratching
- High turnover of staff
- Insufficient staffing
- Phones aren’t answered in a timely way
- Signs of disrepair
- Questions go unanswered
If you notice any of these signs, your loved one may be neglected or abused, and you need to contact a Florida injury attorney immediately
What to Do If You Suspect Neglect or Abuse at Your Loved One’s Florida Nursing Home
You can start by talking with your loved one and trusting your gut. Your loved one may feel afraid to be honest with you, but with the right questions, you can compile enough evidence that abuse is occurring.
Pay frequent visits to your loved one and be alert to any signs that don’t feel right. You can also consult with a mental health professional or doctor if your loved one is unwilling or unable to talk about the problems.
When you visit the nursing home, pay attention to the staff. Are they doing their job? If you notice anything feeling off, talk to the officials or contact an attorney for help.
You may first suspect abuse or neglect from a nursing home employee. However, be aware that it could also come from another family member or another resident of the facility. Keep your eyes and ears open for clues as to who could be responsible.
Before you file a report, check with a knowledgeable Florida injury attorney. Your lawyer can tell you if your loved one’s rights have been violated.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.