Many people move to Florida after retirement to live out their twilight years in the amazing climate the state has to offer. Because of this, you find a lot of older people in the state, and eventually, those people may end up in nursing homes – nursing homes in which they may suffer abuse and neglect.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that almost 1.8 million Americans live in nursing homes in this country, a number only expected to rise as the general population ages. This increases the risk for abuse and neglect that anyone with a loved one in a Florida nursing home must be on the lookout for.
Here are signs that your loved one may be experiencing abuse or neglect in a Florida nursing home and what you can do if you suspect it is happening.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
In Florida, nursing home abuse is defined as intentional physical or psychological harm – or encouraging another to inflict this harm – on a person. It is a felony in Florida, in criminal matters that include sexual assault, fraud, battery, theft, or assault.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
It is a sad fact that some nursing home workers do abuse the elderly in their care. It’s vital to know what signs to look for that may indicate someone you know is being abused. The most common signs include:
- Injuries that are the result of falls
- Injuries that the staff cannot explain
- Limited access to the patient
- Nursing homes that are clearly understaffed
- Patients who are overmedicated
- Recurring infections
- Malnutrition or sudden weight loss
- A patient who becomes withdrawn, upset, or agitated
- The unexplained death of a patient
Different Types of Nursing Home Abuse
When someone thinks of abuse, they may only consider physical abuse. While that is one type of abuse, there are others you need to know about.
This type of abuse can be quite obvious – but it can also be subtle. Unexplained injuries, such as broken bones or bruises, can be the result of physical abuse.
This type of abuse is often sudden, and it results in injuries that cannot be easily explained away by nursing home staff.
This type of abuse may be present if you notice a change in the patient’s demeanor. They may:
- Easily cry or cry a lot
- Feel isolated
- Become less talkative
- Be afraid of being alone or going to sleep
- Have anxiety
- Seem filled with fear
You may notice these changes more often in front of certain staff members. Don’t dismiss the changes you notice. Instead, investigate to make sure emotional abuse isn’t occurring.
Sexual abuse can and does happen in nursing homes. It is often committed by the staff member who is in charge of the resident. It can be hard to discover, if the patient suddenly gets a sexually transmitted disease or has damage to their genital area, then it’s worth looking into further.
This is a common crime in nursing homes. It occurs when money is stolen from residents either by having their credit card charged cash withdrawn from their bank account, or their checkbook used without permission. It is often discovered after bank statements are received with unusual activity.
If you suspect abuse, then speak to an experienced attorney to decide what the next step should be.
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, and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston 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 2011-2021 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2021, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019-2021.