Our parents and grandparents deserve the very best. Unfortunately, the reality of aging in America sometimes requires that we entrust other people with our elders’ care, and for millions of families that means turning to a nursing home.
There is no way to overstate the responsibility that a nursing home assumes when they accept the care of the people who raised us. Florida’s seniors deserve respect, compassion, dignity, security, and effective treatment. No nursing home or health care professional is ever justified in denying them those basic rights.
Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect run rampant in Florida, with many of the nursing homes in our state scoring extremely low in resident satisfaction, safety, and overall care. That is despite the fact that families often pay hundreds of thousands of dollars out-of-pocket every year just to house their loved ones there.
At Viles & Beckman, LLC, our Fort Myers nursing home abuse attorneys believe nursing home negligence to be absolutely inexcusable in every circumstance. We have made a commitment to fighting for the rights of Florida’s seniors and their families and we will hold irresponsible nursing homes accountable for the suffering and hardships they cause.
As Fort Myers nursing home abuse attorneys, we handle a wide range of cases. Some involve healthcare professionals who unintentionally make a mistake that has serious or even catastrophic consequences for their patients. Others involve shocking instances of neglect. Some cases even entail outright abuse.
State and federal law hold nursing homes to very high standards. If you or your loved one currently resides in a nursing home in Florida, it is important to understand your rights, which may include many different state and federal provisions.
If you suspect that your nursing home is not upholding its duties under the law or is treating your loved one unfairly, you are not alone. Even in the 21st century, this is an astoundingly common problem. Every day, families in Florida are shocked to discover the terrible carelessness and outrageous behavior that are sometimes commonplace in the modern Florida nursing home.
When you need legal advice, be sure it comes from attorneys who have a comprehensive command of the legal complexities surrounding nursing home negligence. The experienced Fort Myers nursing home abuse attorneys at Viles & Beckman, LLC can help.
What Are a Nursing Home Resident’s Rights in Florida?
Florida law gives nursing home residents a number of important legal rights.
If you live in or receive treatment from a nursing facility in Florida, you are generally entitled to all of the following:
- To be treated with dignity
- To maintain privacy
- To receive high-quality, safe, and responsible healthcare
- To manage your own money
- To maintain possession and control of your own property
- To refuse any medications
- To refuse any medical treatments
- To choose your own schedules
- To participate in the social interactions and the activities you enjoy
- To be completely free from physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect
- To be completely free from emotional abuse, harassment, exploitation, and intimidation
- To be completely free from corporal punishment or physical restraint
If you have had any of these rights violated, as so many other nursing home residents have, you may be entitled to substantial financial compensation. Additionally, the nursing home staff members, managers, or residents responsible for your damages may be subject to severe criminal penalties.
At Viles & Beckman, LLC our experienced Fort Myers nursing home abuse attorneys can help you better understand all of your rights under federal and Florida law.
Understanding Nursing Home Negligence
Nursing homes and the professionals they employ can be held liable for any personal injury that you incur as a result of their careless actions, inaction, or any violations of professional standards or of the law.
Common examples of nursing home negligence include:
- Errors in administering medication (underdose, overdose, providing the wrong medication, missed doses, etc.)
- Errors in writing or filling prescriptions
- Dangerous mistakes made during medical procedures
- Failure to carefully follow the orders of a doctor or pharmacist
- Using the wrong route of administration for medications
- Failure to monitor, diagnose, or treat symptoms or warning signs
- Allowing dangerous conditions to exist, such as those leading to a slip and fall or any other injury
- Maintaining inadequate security, leading to criminal activity in the nursing home
- Allowing a resident to aimlessly wander away from the home and become lost
- Permitting access to dangerous or restricted areas
- Failure to promptly seek emergency care
- Failure to address a resident’s reported concerns or any other known problems
- Failure to routinely inspect and patrol the nursing home to identify health and safety concerns
- Serving food that is dangerous, contaminated, expired, or may cause allergic reactions
There many other forms of nursing home negligence. These are but a few of the most common examples. If you suspect that negligence might have played a role in your nursing home experience, please contact Viles & Beckman, LLC right away.
Understanding Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
The idea of nursing home abuse in the 21st century is so shocking that some people have a hard time believing it. Unfortunately, family members sometimes dismiss their loved ones’ complaints, believing them to be incredulous.
As experienced Fort Myers nursing home abuse attorneys, we are to tell you that nursing home abuse is a very real problem. It happens. Often. Right here in Florida. And the only way to stop it is to take aggressive legal action, potentially involving both criminal and civil law. Our attorneys can help.
Nursing abuse occurs in many forms and may result in severe physical injuries, emotional distress, humiliation, or even death.
Common forms of abuse include:
- Physical assault — Physical abuse can include sexual assault, kicking, hitting, pushing, rough handling, or any other unwanted or offensive physical contact with the resident. Common signs include fractures, falls, bruises, cuts, head injuries, and abnormal wounds or injection sites.
- Neglect of basic care — Neglecting residents who cannot care for themselves is itself a form of abuse. Examples include failure to change bedpans, brush the residents’ teeth, change their diapers or clothes, clean up soiled bedding, wash their hair, or encourage movement to avoid the formation of skin lesions and muscle atrophy. Social isolation is also a form of neglect. Common signs of nursing home neglect include bedsores, poor hygiene, bad breath, loneliness, soiled clothing or linens, and recurrent infections.
- Emotional abuse — Emotional abuse is perhaps the most common kind of nursing home abuse. It may involve intimidating residents, harassing them, verbally taunting or insulting them, communicating threats, isolating residents from the community or from their family members, shouting, using expletives in a hurtful manner, denying residents the activities or hobbies of their choosing, and much more. Look for changes in a resident’s demeanor. Depression, dejectedness, paranoia, isolation, or any other personality shifts may indicate nursing home abuse.
- Financial abuse — Financial exploitation is another surprisingly common form of elder abuse. Dementia patients are especially vulnerable, though any senior can become the victim of financial abuse. Common culprits include nursing home staff members, other residents of the community, third-party visitors, and (sadly) the resident’s own friends, family members, or trusted advisors, including clergy.
Seniors are often reluctant or scared to confess that they have been the victims of abuse. Actively look for warning signs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. And if you have suspicions, contact us for additional help.
We do not stand for abuse. Our experienced Fort Myers nursing home abuse lawyers can help you stop it. We can even help you find a better home (and more effective care) for your loved one.