Nursing Home

As the Baby Boom generation joins the ranks of the nation’s senior citizens, more and more American families are facing the difficult decision of how to provide high quality long-term care for their elderly loved ones. Modern medicine’s ability to extend our life expectancy has resulted in large numbers of people who survive long past their ability to care for themselves. This often necessitates turning to institutional care in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Our elderly and infirm have the right to receive a high level of care, both physical and emotional, without sacrificing their dignity as they age.
While adult children of elders in need of care search for facilities that can meet their aging parents’ needs in a pleasant, healthy, and respectful environment, this is an ideal that is, sadly, difficult to attain. Florida, as one of the nation’s premier retirement states, has a disproportionate number of elderly residents, which translates into more people who require nursing home/assisted living care, and thus more potential for inadequate or abusive care solutions.

What You Need to Know about Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Abuse and neglect of the elderly in nursing home and long-term care settings is so common that it has almost come to be not the exception but the rule, as these shocking statistics reveal:

  • The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that 91 percent of all nursing homes lack sufficient staff to provide proper care for their elderly patients. Staffing shortages led to overworked and stressed-out caregivers, and a corresponding decline in the quality of care.
  • More than a third of U.S. nursing homes (36 percent) of nursing homes have been cited with violations of elderly abuse laws.
  • More than half of the nursing home staff that responded to one survey stated that they had mistreated their patients at least once during the prior 12 month period through emotional abuse, physical abuse, or neglect. This is probably the tip of the iceberg, since it is unlikely that most abusers answered truthfully.
  • Only one of every fourteen cases of long-term care abuse is ever called to the attention of the authorities, according to one study. But another similar study found the situation to be even worse: their figures showed that only one in twenty-four cases is reported. It is impossible to determine exactly how pervasive the problem is, but families must exercise diligence in monitoring the care their loved ones are receiving.
  • As the resident’s age increases, so does the likelihood of abuse. According to the Elder Maltreatment Alliance (EMA), nursing home residents who are or older face double—or even triple—the risk of being abused. One reason may be that the incidence of dementia increases with age, and those suffering from dementia are often more difficult to care for as well as being less able to defend themselves from abuse.

Effects of Abuse on Elderly Victims

Being old and vulnerable and having to depend on others for basic care is difficult in the best of circumstances; but having to deal with abuse causes additional harmful effects on the victim’s mental and physical health. The NCEA reports that elderly victims of abuse are three times more likely to die, to experience severe psychological disturbance, to suffer more joint and bone problems, digestive disturbances, high blood pressure, heart problems, and a diminished sense of self-efficacy. Our elderly citizens deserve better!

What You Can Do to Determine if Your Family Member is Being Abused in a Nursing Home Setting

If you and your family have made the difficult decision to place a loved one in a nursing or assisted care home, you absolutely must monitor the quality of care vigilantly. Visit frequently, giving no advance warning of your arrival. If anything appears to be out of order, ask questions and demand answers (politely of course). Make certain that the home is clean, fresh-smelling, and secure. Observe the caregivers. Are they friendly and relaxed, or do they appear to be overworked or stressed?
If you notice any of these in the patient, consider it a red flag:

  • Gaunt, thin appearance
  • Bed sores
  • Bruises
  • Welts
  • Ligature marks
  • Other injuries
  • Rashes
  • Hunger
  • Thirst
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Nervousness or fearfulness

If you observe any of these signs, or if the patient has been transported to different hospital emergency rooms on various occasions, there may be a problem. Unless cognitive losses make communication difficult, ask the patient about their treatment by staff and other patients in the home. If abuse or neglect appears to be a real possibility, you will need to report it to Senior Protective Services, find a new home for your family member, report the situation to the federal Agency for Health Care administration, and engage the services of a Florida nursing home abuse attorney.
Your attorney may be able to help you recover monetary damages, which should make it easier for you to relocate the patient to a better quality care home.
These are sensitive cases, requiring a lawyer with compassion and commitment to improving the lot of our elderly citizens. By making a legal claim against the abusive or neglectful home, you are forcing the owners and staff to face up to their responsibility for the harm done and showing them that inadequate care will not be tolerated.

Help for Florida Nursing Home Abuse Victims in the Tampa Bay Region

If you are facing the painful discovery that someone you love is being mistreated in a nursing home or assisted living home, or if you are the victim yourself, you will find the compassionate concern and knowledgeable legal guidance you need by calling the law offices of attorney Stephen Maltezos. Steve has offices located in Tampa and St. Petersburg for your convenience, and he can travel to the nursing home where the wrongdoing is occurring. Steve is widely known for his family values, prodigious work ethic, and heart-felt commitment to justice. He understands the suffering that elder abuse can cause, and he is tireless in his pursuit of a financial resolution that will help improve the life of every abuse victim and family that turns to him for help.

The Consultation is Free

Don’t allow another day of abuse to go by without getting the help you need. Call Maltezos Law today and schedule a free consultation to learn about your legal options. Don’t worry about the cost. Steve will take your legitimate nursing home abuse case on contingency, so you’ll have no out-of-pocket costs, and will pay nothing until the day you receive your compensation award. If you .don’t recover money, you will owe absolutely nothing, so call today.