When the time comes to move an elderly parent or relative into a nursing home, you’ll likely have lots of concerns. Given the incidence of elder abuse in facilities across the country, you would rightfully be worried that your loved one won’t get the care they deserve. Many elderly people are neglected, mistreated, and even subjected to acts of violence in the very places where they’re supposed to be kept safe. Often, these incidents go unreported and the victims never get justice. However, it’s important to note that nursing home victims have rights under the law. If something happens to your loved one, you can get help from a Lakeland nursing home abuse lawyer.
What Florida’s Nursing Home Laws State
Residents in nursing homes in Florida are entitled to a level of care that benefits them physically, mentally, and psychologically. Based on Florida Statute 440.022 and the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, they have the following rights:
- The right to privacy
- The right to be treated with dignity
- The right to freedom from abuse, neglect, and mistreatment
- The right to freedom from chemical or physical restraints
- The right to voice grievances without fear of adverse consequences
- The right to manage their own finances
- The right to refuse medication and treatment
- The right to choose their own physician and pharmacy
These are just some of the rights your elderly relative has. If you believe that one or more of these rights has been violated, you must contact a Lakeland nursing home abuse attorney. It’s unlikely that they are the only person who is being mistreated. The only way elder abuse can be controlled is if victims and their families speak and hold nursing homes and their employees liable.
Signs That a Loved One is Being Abused
Abuse can take several forms. It can be physical, emotional, sexual or financial. Neglect is also a common form of elder abuse. Victims of nursing home abuse don’t always readily disclose what is happening to them. Some are ashamed while others are afraid that they will be mistreated even more if they report their abuser. If you suspect something is wrong but your loved one hasn’t said anything, some of the things you should look out for are:
- Bed sores
- Sudden change in personality
- Frequent infections or bruises
- Unexplained injuries
- Poor hygiene
- Fear or being touched
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Reluctance to talk in front of workers
- Constant sedation
How Elder Abuse is Handled Under the Law
Elder abuse is a crime and it is a felony in Florida. However, there are also civil laws under which you can hold a nursing home liable. A lot depends on the type of abuse your loved one suffered. Criminal abuse includes physical and sexual assault, theft, and fraud. These cases warrant a police investigation. There are other cases that can be fought under civil law. These include deception, identity theft, and financial exploitation.
Often, elderly people are abused in more than one way. For example, a caretaker may physically assault them and threaten them to get them to hand over their banking details. Nursing home abuse cases can, therefore, get complicated. As soon as your suspicions are raised, you should contact a lawyer for advice. If you try to handle the situation on your own, you could make mistakes that worsen the situation. Your attorney will tell you whether the matter is a criminal or civil one and they will advise you on the steps you should take to get justice for your loved one.
Contact Burnetti, P.A. Today to Get the Legal Help You Need
If your loved one is a victim of any type of nursing home abuse, you shouldn’t be afraid to speak up. Elderly people should be treated with dignity and long-term care facilities should respect their rights. Whether employees or other residents are the perpetrators, the nursing home can be held responsible. Whether poor training, understaffing or unsafe conditions led to the incident, Lakeland nursing home abuse attorneys can help.
It’s difficult to know what to do when a loved one is harmed. You may feel guilty, angry or afraid. Let Burnetti, P.A. help you build a case. We’ll investigate, gather evidence, and come up with an appropriate response. We’ll hold the nursing home responsible for the harm that your parent or relative suffered. Call us today to set up and appointment and discuss your case with an experienced attorney.