In this country, nearly 2 million people live in a nursing home or other long-term elder care facility. These individuals have rights granted by the state and federal governments guaranteeing that they must be free from nursing home neglect and abuse. In the state of Florida, Statute 400.022 guarantees these rights. As such, any senior or elderly individual who is a victim of neglect or abuse at the hands of nursing home staff has the right to seek compensation for those injuries. Unfortunately, as nursing home patients are often quite frail and dependent upon the care provided, it usually falls to a family member to recognize the signs of elder abuse in Lakeland, Florida, and take the necessary steps to see that the situation is rectified and compensation is gained.
How Common is Elder Abuse in Lakeland, Florida?
Elder abuse is, sadly, very common among residents of nursing homes in Lakeland, Florida and elsewhere. Nationwide, nearly a third of nursing home residents report abuse, and a staggering 95% say that they have witnessed other residents being the victims of abuse or neglect. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, it is vital that you keep a careful watch for the common signs of elder abuse in Lakeland, FL. If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected, you should immediately consult with an experienced elder abuse attorney in Lakeland, FL like the staff at Burnetti, P.A. Our compassionate and knowledgeable staff can help you seek justice and compensation for your loved one.
Signs of Elder Abuse and Nursing Home Neglect in Lakeland, FL
Nursing home neglect is a form of elder abuse which can be as harmful as more direct forms of abuse. It results from a failure to uphold the duty of caregivers to provide for the wellbeing of their residents. In general, providing substandard care, withholding food, medication, and other necessities, failure to provide adequate hygiene, and leaving residents unattended for prolonged periods of time are all forms of nursing home neglect. Some of the immediate consequences include injuries such as bedsores, the danger of infection, malnutrition, unnecessary pain and suffering, and sometimes death.
The harm caused by neglect need not be intentional – it may occur due to unavailability of resources or insufficient staff to provide an adequate standard of care for residents. In addition, neglect may be difficult to spot. Unlike abusive situations which can leave bruises or other tell-tale signs, neglect can proceed with no outward signs until the level of neglect has become quite serious. Therefore, it is important to keep your eyes open for some of the signs of neglect, including unexplained weight loss, additional pain, bed sores, or a general worsening of health with no clear indication as to cause.
Physical Abuse Signs in Florida Nursing Homes
The issue of nursing home abuse is physical harm or emotional anguish suffered by a resident as a result of someone’s actions with specific intent to cause harm. Physical abuse is usually easy to identify, as bruises and other injuries are often visible. Mental abuse may be present in unexplained depression, fear, or other signs of mental distress. At times, neglect may also be abuse, if the intent is to cause harm.
Some common physical elder abuse signs include dehydration, malnutrition, falls, fractures, and other unexplained injuries such as bruises and cuts. It can also include rapid weight loss or gain, infections, or frequent illness which goes unreported to the family. Withholding of medication or over-administration of medicine may also be signs of abuse, including sedation. Emotionally, elders who are abused may be easily agitated, withdrawn, or even non-communicative. They may exhibit fear of being touched or other changes in behavior, and they may not wish to speak in the presence of staff. Depression, mood swings, and cognitive difficulty such as becoming easily lost may also indicate abuse or neglect.
Environmentally, the presence of unsanitary conditions such as dirty floors, clothes, and surfaces may indicate a lack of adequate care. Slippery floors are a danger to residents which are sometimes the result of neglect or malice. Poor lighting is also an indicator of neglect, as it makes it difficult for elder residents to safely navigate their rooms and other parts of the facility.
What Should I Do If I Notice Elder Abuse Signs in Lakeland, FL?
If you suspect your loved one is a victim of elder abuse or nursing home neglect in Lakeland, FL, consult immediately with an attorney at Burnetti, P.A. and take steps toward removing your loved one from the facility as soon as possible. Your attorney will be able to help you recover damages from the abusive or negligent providers, while your loved one can begin the process of recovering from this unthinkable scenario.