St Petersburg Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
Serving You and The State of Florida
When our family members get older, we often have to trust nursing homes and other facilities to take care of them when we are unable to do so. We expect that these facilities will take care of our loved ones because they make a ton of money specializing in elder care. Unfortunately, there are far too many instances of aged and infirm individuals being abused by the staff in these facilities. Few things are more horrific to contemplate than knowing those we care about are mistreated, abused, and hurt by the people we have trusted to care for them. The abuse comes in different forms, and knowing how to spot nursing home abuse and knowing what to do if you suspect abuse is essential for anyone with a family member in a long-term care facility.
The Lopez Law Group understands the anger, betrayal, and fear you feel when you think a loved one may be experiencing abuse. We want you to know that there are steps you can take to both stop the abuse and seek legal damages on behalf of your family member. Abusing the elderly should never go unanswered, and we will help you make sure that anyone who deliberately harms an older adult in their care will be held accountable.
What are the most frequent types of nursing home abuse in St Petersburg Florida?
When we think about nursing home abuse, and we realize the injustice in the fact that we ever have to think about such a thing, we tend to think of the purely physical aspects of abuse. Physical abuse can take many forms. The outward signs may take the form of cuts, bruises, and other physical trauma for which there is no rational explanation. Severe nursing home abuse can result in broken bones, or worse. If an older person is not receiving the proper care, they can end up with bedsores and other indicators of poor hygiene, such as severe rashes and even infections.
Abuse in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in St Petersburg is not limited to physical abuse. Emotional abuse is thought to be a far more common problem in these facilities. If the nursing staff yells at residents or otherwise harms their self-esteem, that is emotional abuse. Another common practice is to deny residents their right to basic human dignity, or to take away things they enjoy, whether it is a dessert or their access to a television show.
Staff members can also influence the decisions of older people in their care or take advantage of things like a person’s declining memory, which can have a profound impact on the well-being of your loved one. Mental abuse can cause stress levels to rise, increasing the likelihood of depression, raising blood pressure, and otherwise putting the welfare of an older adult in danger. They may become fearful of the staff. Some residents will retain the capacity to tell someone what is going on, but others may lack the ability to do so.
If a nursing home employee takes money from a resident, it is a form of abuse. Staff members have numerous nefarious ways of exploiting the elderly and stealing their hard-earned money from them. This happens when staff take items or money from residents, threaten or extort them, or even when they befriend them for the sole purpose of getting residents to give or “loan” them money.
Though any form of abuse to the vulnerable in our society is enough to sicken most people, the most disturbing abuse in long-term care facilities and nursing homes is sexual abuse. Staff members who sexually exploit or abuse vulnerable residents are deeply disturbed predators. The facilities themselves have an obligation to both prevent and monitor for all types of abuse. Unfortunately, staff shortages, and good old greed, keep some facilities from doing their due diligence in hiring and in monitoring staff.
How common is nursing home abuse in St Petersburg?
We want to think that any abuse in nursing homes is a rarity, but a study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2018, found that two out of three nursing home staff members said that they abused the residents in their care in some way.
The same report found that 1 in 6 adults aged sixty or older suffered some form of abuse while living in a community setting. In the facilities, one out of every three nursing homes in the United States has been issued citations for abusing the elderly.
These statistics are unacceptable, and we, as a society, need to do better for our older adults. The Lopez Law Group is prepared to take on any individual, and the facility they work for, who has abused or neglected a resident in their care. If you have been abused, or have reason to think that a loved one is experiencing abuse, contact us today to learn what can be done.
What causes nursing home abuse?
Numerous studies have been done to determine the causes of abuse by staff in nursing homes. There are a number of contributing factors. Staff members may resent their jobs and take it out on the residents. Staff members with abusive tendencies recognize the vulnerability of individuals in long-term care facilities and take advantage of the situation. Sometimes the abuse is due to negligence caused by staff shortages. If the nursing home is chronically understaffed, it may not be possible for employees to take proper care of all the residents.
Staff members are often underpaid with little training and then thrown into a high-stress job. Some forms of abuse are not intentional, but the result of inadequate training and supervision. That does not make the consequences any less dire for the residents who suffer because nursing homes want to save money by skimping on proper training.
Problems that can arise because of inadequate training include:
- Poor nutrition if staff members have not been trained in how to meet the dietary needs of each resident. Poor nutritional status can lead to weakness, fainting and cause falls that are particularly dangerous for the elderly
- Not changing bedsheets or clothes each time it is needed
- Inadequate hygiene protocols can lead to bedsores and other health issues
- Not checking the residents for bedsores properly
- Lack of training in CPR and other lifesaving measures
- Not recognizing and instituting proper treatment for diseases and infections
Whatever the cause, there is never an excuse for taking advantage of older and infirm adults. They have no choice but to trust these staff members with their lives, and they deserve to be treated like family.
Recognizing the warning signs of nursing home abuse
If your loved one complains about something that is happening to them, take it seriously. Many residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities may have a difficult time differentiating real experiences from hallucinations caused by cognitive decline or a side-effect of medications. However, you know your loved one best, and if any part of what they are saying seems realistic, take it seriously until you know it is not.
You should visit your loved one at times, aside from your usually scheduled visits. If the staff delays you from being able to see your loved one, you should demand to know why. While it is possible that they could be bathing, or doing other forms of hands-on care, listen to your instincts. If it happens more than once, and you have reason to suspect your loved one isn’t receiving the proper care, then it is a warning sign that all may not be as it appears.
What should you do if you feel like you or someone you know has been abused?
If you, or someone you know, is in a nursing home or care facility and you have reason to suspect that abuse is taking place, act now. Alert the authorities if you feel that there has been illegal activity. The next step, once you have alerted the authorities, is to reach out to an experienced St Petersburg nursing home abuse attorney.
Nursing homes and long-term care facilities are for-profit facilities with a mandate to provide a proper standard of care to its residents. If they have failed in that duty, and you or a loved one has suffered, you need to hold them financially responsible. Lawsuits do more to change the way places like this practice elder care than any state mandates or laws. Why? Because a lawsuit hits them in the profit margin, which is the one place where they always pay attention.
It is never okay for a nursing home facility, or its staff members, to take advantage of the residents in its care. Whether you or a loved one has suffered physical, emotional, or financial abuse, they should be held responsible. The Florida nursing home abuse attorneys at the Lopez Law Group are always available to speak to you about your concerns.
Call us at (727) 933-0015 to schedule a free case review. We will listen to your story and give you an honest assessment of the strength of your case. We can then advise you on steps to take moving forward to ensure that you or your loved one remain safe.
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What Our Clients Say
Mr. Lopez was a Godsend and really helped me with my situation. Him and the entire firm were very diligent and helped speed the early stages of the process along due to a pressing situation. Throughout my experience working with the firm, they were always responsive and available any time I had a question or wanted to check on the state of affairs. Hopefully I won’t have to recommend Lopez Law Group to my friends or family, but if those unfortunate circumstances arise then there’s only one name I would trust. Thank you again for all your help!