Do you suspect or do you have evidence that your loved one was the victim of nursing home abuse in Panama City? If so, call The Bruner Law Firm right away to discuss your rights. We’ll help you put an immediate end to this mistreatment and help you get the justice your family deserves.
The Sunshine State is where numerous older Americans choose to spend their golden years. What happens when those golden years are tarnished by the misdeeds of a negligent or malicious nursing home? Abuse runs rampant in the state’s elderly care facilities, The Florida Department of Children and Families has measured a 74 percent increase in reported nursing home abuse cases in Florida. Your loved one may be suffering physical or emotional abuse at the hands of poorly trained or poorly selected caregivers.
Multiple falls, bruises or broken bones, depression, changes in eating or sleeping patterns- do any of these things sound familiar? Then maybe it is time you consulted an attorney with The Bruner Law Firm. Don’t let a cherished and valuable family member suffer while you sit and consider your options. Call (850) 769-9292 and talk to one of our seasoned attorneys about your fears and concerns.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
According to the Nursing Home Abuse Center, nursing home abuse is defined as any type of harm inflicted on elderly residents in long-term care facilities. We may think of abuse as purely a physical act, like hitting or beating. Many times, physical abuse leaves obvious signs like cuts, bruises, or broken bones. Unfortunately, what many people don’t realize is that abuse can come in many different forms such as physical abuse, emotion or psychological abuse, sexual abuse, and even financial exploitation. Numbers from the World Health Organization found that between 2017 and 2018 at least 1 in 6 adults over the age of 60 suffered some form of abuse while in a community setting. Even more unbelievable, nearly 1 out of 3 nursing homes in the United States have been issued citations for abuse.
Types of Abuse in Nursing Homes
Again, several different types of abuse can take place in long term care facilities. It is important to understand that not all abuse Is physical and not all abuse leaves obvious scars or injuries. Understand the different forms that abuse can take is an important step in determining if your loved one is suffering at the hands of a negligence nursing home or long-term care facility.
- Physical Abuse- This is the act of inflicting physical pain or injury on an elderly adult. This could take the form of hitting, beating, purposely dropping, or otherwise physically hurting an individual.
- Sexual Abuse- This type of abuse can mean any form of touching, fondling, intercourse, or other unwanted sexual activity. The resident may vocally refuse consent, or in many situations, the resident may be unable to give consent due to some form of incapacitation.
- Emotional or phycological abuse- Emotional abuse is the use of verbal threats, insults, humiliation, or intimidation. It can be extremely damaging, and the signs are often more subtle and can harder to notice than physical abuse.
- Financial Exploitation- Financial exploitation is another form of abuse that can be easy to miss. This type of abuse refers to any type of misuse or withholding of an elderly person’s money or resources. It can also refer to someone funneling money to themselves from an elderly person’s resources.
In many circumstances, the lines between these different forms of abuse can blur and bleed into one another. Some individuals may suffer from several different forms of abuse. Sometimes it may seem like the abuse they are suffering doesn’t seem to fall into one specific category. While these are helpful outlines of what typical abuse may look like not all cases are typical. If you suspect any type of abuse or need someone to talk to about your concerns The Bruner Law Firm are here for you. We will listen to your concerns and help you sort through the circumstances your loved one is facing. Don’t keep your fears to yourself, lean on us and let us help you determine the best course of action for you and your precious loved ones.
What are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?
You are your family members’ most important and valuable asset. That means it is extremely important for you to be aware of the many warning signs that can point towards suspected nursing home abuse. Not all abuse leaves physical signs, and not every older adult has the ability to speak for themselves and voice their concerns. Taking note of important signs, symptoms, and changes in your loved one are the best ways for you to determine if something out of the ordinary may be taking place. Here are some of the more common signs that abuse could be taking place:
- Unexplained cuts, bruises, broken bones
- Unexplained marks on the body or genitals
- Anxiety or depression
- Withdrawal from activities or favorite pastimes
- Change in sleep or eating patterns
- Refusal to cooperate with certain staff members
- Lack of eye contact
Other Warning Signs
- Sudden unexplained change in weight
- Frequent illnesses or infections
- Lack of hygiene
- Change in a financial situation
While this is a comprehensive list, these aren’t the only signs that something could be wrong. You know your loved one the best if there is any type of unusual change in behavior it would be an early warning that something is wrong. Listen to your gut instincts.
In addition to these warning signs, it is also a good idea to periodically check up on the nursing home itself. There are several different websites available that allow you to see the nursing home’s rating and check to see if there have been any recent complaints or reports of abuse. It is just another tool you can use to make sure that your loved one is getting the quality care they deserve and that you expect. Studies have found that elderly people who have suffered abuse have a 300 percent higher risk of death. Don’t let a loved one become a statistic, The Bruner Law Firm can help you act now.
Nursing Home Abuse Laws
The abuse of elderly nursing home residents is serious. There are a series of both federal and Florida state laws that deal with abuse cases. Florida has stiff penalties for those convicted of nursing home abuse and any type of abuse of the elderly is considered a felony offense. A series of Florida statutes also lists the more than 20 different rights of nursing home residents. Unfortunately, most residents aren’t aware of all their rights or may even be too afraid to speak up when abuse has occurred. Your voice matters and it may be up to you to recognize the signs and act.
Florida has a statute of limitations, or a time limit, on when abuse must be reported in order for a case to be able to make its way through the legal system. You only have 2 years from when the abuse occurs to bring forth a case. Nursing home abuse law is also broken down into two categories, criminal and civil. An experienced lawyer can help determine what type of case is appropriate for your circumstances.
While the legal wrangling may seem complicated the only thing you need to know is where to begin. That is with a call to The Bruner Law Firm at (850) 769-9292. Let us review the facts and circumstances surrounding your loved one’s situation and advise you on your next steps. We know the law and you know your loved one. Together we can hold negligence nursing homes and their staff accountable for their reprehensible actions, and you get peace of mind that your loved one has the justice and compensation they deserve.
Who is Liable and What Compensation is Available?
Most nursing homes or long-term care facilities are medical facilities that are required to operate within a very strict duty of care to their residents. The nursing home can be held liable for the abuse of a resident when it can be found that the facility was negligent in their hiring or training of staff members, understaffed, engaging in medical errors, or there was a breach of statutory or regulatory obligations. In some cases, a third party could also be held liable for abuse if there was an issue with a contractor employed by the nursing home.
Damages may be awarded to victims of nursing home abuse depending on the circumstances of the case. A victim may be able to get compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and the cost of medical treatment. An experienced lawyer from The Bruner Law Firm can help determine what compensation may be available and what type of case you have.
How Can The Bruner Law Firm Help Me?
You’ve already made the difficult decision to put your loved one into a nursing home or long-term care facility. It may be hard to make another difficult decision and bring an attorney into your family business. At The Bruner Law Firm we understand that. That’s why we offer compassionate and respectful advice to you and your family during this distressful time in your life. You may feel like there is a stigma attached to the word “abuse” or that it is too hard to talk about. That’s what the nursing home is counting on, that you or your loved one will be too preoccupied or too embarrassed to take notice and report wrongdoing. Don’t let them continue to get away with abusing one of our most vulnerable communities of people.
Call The Bruner Law Firm at (850) 769-9292 for a free case review with an experienced Panama City injury lawyer. Florida’s elderly population deserves to bask in the Sunshine State not languish in the care of neglectful nursing homes. Call us now for the help your family deserves.