Miami Elder and Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawyer
Elder abuse is an issue that has always existed, but only recently has drawn attention.
Unfortunately, the elderly in our society are too often relegated to substandard and neglectful environments at nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Needle & Ellenberg, P.A.’s, attorneys’ experience includes years of handling cases of elder abuse and nursing home neglect and abuse. Give us a call to discuss your particular case in a no-cost, initial consultation. We serve clients in the Miami area and in communities throughout Florida.
WHAT EXACTLY IS ELDER ABUSE?
State laws define elder abuse, and those laws vary from one jurisdiction to another, in terms of what constitutes the abuse, neglect, or exploitation of the elderly. Many states have isolated definitions of elder abuse according to where the abuse occurs. There are two categories:
- Domestic abuse — This type of abuse refers to any of several forms of maltreatment of an older person by someone who has a special relationship with the elder person (e.g., a spouse, a child, a sibling, a friend, or any caregiver in the elder’s home).
- Institutional abuse — This type of abuse refers to the maltreatment of an elder person that occurs in a residential facility, (e.g. nursing homes, foster homes, board and care facilities and group homes). The perpetrators of this type of abuse are usually those who have a legal or contractual obligation to care for and provide care to the elderly person.
In addition to breaking down abuse according to where the abuse occurs, states have defined the types of abuse the elderly may endure. These include:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial or material exploitation
Warning Signs Of Nursing Home Abuse
Although you care for and want the best for your elderly loved one, you are not necessarily the best person to take care of them as they grow older. In many cases, you must know how to properly administer medication, provide for their basic needs, and be patient when their memory slips away. For these reasons, many people choose to place their loved ones in a nursing home so they can receive the proper care and treatment. However, nursing homes do not always offer state-of-the-art care. That is where a Miami, Florida elder, nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer could help you. In some cases, the nursing home staff may even abuse your loved one. If you suspect someone on staff may be abusing your loved one, there are certain warning signs you should look for when bringing this to the attention of the facility and to a Miami, FL elder and nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer relies on.
Elder Abuse Warning Signs
It is the legal responsibility of the nursing home staff to take care of your loved one while they reside in the facility. There are certain signs you can look for to determine if they are abusing these laws.
- Poor Personal Hygiene. Depending on your loved one’s circumstances, they may or may not be able to take care of their hygiene on their own. However, there are no circumstances where they should smell like feces or urine, wear dirty or soiled clothes, or lack basic personal care. Nursing home staff must provide them with a clean, hygienic place to stay.
- Dehydration Or Weight Loss. The nursing home is also responsible for providing all patients with the necessities of food and water. If you notice on your visits that your loved one appears to be rapidly losing weight, their skin and lips are dry and cracked, or they appear weak, they may be suffering from malnourishment or dehydration.
- Bedsores. Nursing home staff must ensure their residents move frequently, whether it is through physical activity (if they are able), or simply not laying in the same position on their bed for a long time. If you notice bed sores, it may be an obvious sign of neglect. Document any bedsores that your loved one may have and be sure to relay these instances to an elder, nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer in Miami, Florida while building your case.
- Confusion And Disorientation. You likely know your loved one’s mental state when they went into the facility. However, if they appear even more confused or disoriented or high amounts of medication make them drowsy, this may be a warning sign.
- Unexplained Injuries. Elderly people are typically more prone to injuries due to weak bones and the ability to bruise more. However, significant bruising, fractures or broken bones, and scratches or gashes are signs of physical abuse that you should not ignore.
- Fear And Anxiety. If your loved one begins displaying signs of anxiety and fear—especially around particular staff members—this may be a sign that staff have been neglecting them, bullying them, or even punishing them. You are the best advocate for your loved one. With the help of an elder nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer Miami, Florida trusts, you could get your loved one the treatment they deserve.
Help For Elder Abuse
Nursing home abuse is not always so obvious, but if you keep in mind the warning signs above, you may spot signs you did not see before. If you believe a nursing home is allowing the abuse of your loved one to go on, speak with a trusted Miami, Florida elder nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer at Needle & Ellenberg, P.A.’s today.
Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect FAQs
What constitutes elder and nursing home abuse or neglect?
Many Miami, FL elder and nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers know that abuse can manifest in nursing homes in many different ways. Physical abuse may manifest as striking, restraining, or inflicting pain on a resident. Emotional abuse, on the other hand, could be represented by verbal insults, humiliation, or isolation tactics. There’s also the grave concern of sexual abuse, as well as financial exploitation where unscrupulous individuals take advantage of the elderly. Neglect could be a matter of failing to provide the essentials – be it food, water, necessary medical care, or maintaining proper hygiene standards. Thus, any detrimental action, or even the absence of necessary action, that adversely affects the health or well-being of an elderly individual is cause for concern.
How can I detect signs of potential abuse or neglect in my loved one?
Recognizing the common signs of nursing home abuse is critical if you want to protect your loved one. Such signs may present as unexplained injuries like cuts, bruises, or fractures, or indicators like sudden weight loss, malnutrition, or dehydration. Emotional red flags include noticeable changes in demeanor, such as increased fear around specific caregivers, withdrawing from regular activities, or sudden mood shifts. Be alert to financial irregularities, like sudden changes in their finances, missing belongings, or mysterious transactions that may hint at financial abuse. Likewise, indications like bedsores, frequent infections, or untreated health issues should not be overlooked. It’s essential to stay vigilant and proactive, as any significant alteration in a loved one’s well-being warrants a deeper look.
What immediate steps should I take if I suspect abuse or neglect?
You can take critical steps so that you can prioritize your loved one’s safety, as a Miami elder and nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer can tell you. If they appear to be in immediate danger or severe health risk, contemplate relocating them or seeking emergency medical intervention. Always report any concerns or suspicions to the nursing home’s management. Every state in the U.S. has specific agencies or hotlines to report suspected elder abuse or neglect. These agencies can conduct investigations and intervene when necessary. Simultaneously, consider seeking counsel from a nursing home abuse & neglect Lawyer who can provide expert advice, guiding you through the necessary legal channels to address and rectify the situation.
Can legal action be taken against the nursing home for injuries or abuse suffered by my loved one?
Yes, legal action can be taken against a nursing home facility for any injuries that a patient has suffered while living in the home. Nursing homes, as care providers, have a fundamental responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of their residents. If a facility or its staff is found to be negligent, or if they directly perpetrate abuse, they can and should be held legally accountable. Their liability can stem from direct abusive actions, inadequate staff training, understaffing issues, or other systemic problems. Engaging an experienced and qualified nursing home and abuse lawyer can provide clarity on potential legal steps and help chart the best course forward to seek justice.
What kind of compensation is typically awarded in cases of elder abuse or neglect?
In cases of elder abuse or neglect, victims might be eligible for compensation covering a range of damages. This can encompass medical expenses related to injuries or health complications from the abuse, remuneration for the physical pain and emotional distress experienced, costs associated with required psychological counseling or therapy, recovery of misappropriated assets or funds, and, in instances of extreme negligence or malicious actions, punitive damages to penalize and dissuade the offender. Don’t wait to contact a Miami elder and nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer near you such as one from Needle & Ellenberg, P.A. so that you can obtain more information.
To schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced lawyer at our firm, call (305) 530-0000 or 877-810-2864. Or, if you prefer, complete our online form.