Florida Elder Law: Fighting Abuse
At Garvin Law Firm, we understand that placing an elderly loved one into a nursing home is one of the most difficult decisions that a family can make. Across the United States millions of families are challenged with this decision every year. At present, in Florida alone, nursing facilities are home to more than 72,000 of our parents, grandparents and other loved ones. Of course we all hope that our research led us to make the best decision about who to trust with the delicate responsibility of providing the same loving care that we would, however this is not always the case. Over a recent two-year period the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee, found that one-third or 5,283 nursing homes in the U.S. were cited for almost 9,000 instances of elder abuse.
With Florida’s rising elderly population and increased demands at nursing facilities, sufficient oversight of staff and quality of care is regularly neglected, making elder abuse an unfortunate, but not uncommon occurrence. Whether due to negligent hiring, under-staffing, inadequate training or medication errors it is crucial that we hold nursing facilities responsible for their actions and inaction. When we recover compensation on your behalf it may not make it right, but we will discourage other nursing homes from similar conduct. If you believe a loved one has suffered abuse at a nursing facility, contact our Florida elder law attorneys today for a free case review.
Florida Elder Abuse: Types
- Physical Abuse
- Emotional Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Financial Exploitation
- Healthcare Fraud and Abuse
Warning Signs of Elderly Abuse
- Frequent arguments or tension with the caregiver
- Changes in personality or behavior
- Untreated physical problems, e.g., bed sores
- Unexplained injuries, e.g., bruises, welts or scars
- Broken bones, sprains or dislocations
- Drug overdose or prescriptions not given regularly
- Broken eyeglasses or frames
- Signs of being restrained, e.g., rope marks
- Caregiver’s refusal to allow you to see the elder alone
- Threatening, belittling, or controlling behavior from the caregiver
- Bruises around breasts or genitals
- Unexplained venereal disease or genital infections
- Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
- Torn, Stained or bloody underclothing
- Unusual weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration
- Unsanitary living conditions: dirt, bugs, soiled bedding and clothes
- Being left dirty or unbathed
- Unsuitable weather appropriate clothing or covering
- Unsafe living conditions, e.g., no heat, running water, faulty electrical wiring, fire hazards
- Significant withdrawals from the elder’s accounts
- Sudden changes in the elder’s financial condition
- Items or cash missing from the senior’s room
- Suspicious changes in wills, power of attorney, titles and policies
- Addition of names to the senior’s signature card
- Unpaid bills or lack of medical care, when the senior has the resources
- Financial activity the senior couldn’t have done
- Unnecessary purchases on the senior’s behalf
- Duplicate billings for the same medical service or device
- Evidence of overmedication or undermedication
- Evidence of inadequate care when bills are paid in full
- Problems with the care facility: poorly trained, poorly paid, insufficient staff, crowding or inadequate responses to questions about care
Only 1 in 14 incidents of elder abuse are reported to authorities. Sadly, it is common for nursing home residents that are victims of abuse to stay silent because they are too embarrassed or ashamed. Sometimes they do not come forward simply because they do not want to be a burden on their family’s lives. Consequently, it is essential that families of Florida nursing home residents are attentive as they watch for signs of nursing home abuse.
Garvin Law Can Help With Your Elder Abuse Case
If your loved one has suffered from elder abuse or neglect at the hands of their caretaker, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your claim. With more than 3 decades of combined Florida elder law experience we will ensure the appropriate steps are taken to file nursing home abuse reports and legal claims against the nursing facilities as well as any responsible employee(s).
Please contact the Garvin Law Firm immediately so that we can assist you in reporting elderly abuse or misconduct to the proper authorities and the nursing facility. It is important to take the appropriate measures to begin protecting your rights immediately in the event an elder abuse report or past abuse report(s) are lost or altered. Call or email today for a free consultation and we will evaluate your claim and determine the appropriate course of action. We have offices in Fort Myers, Naples and Key West.
Feel free to browse the resources below and contact us with any questions in regards to yours or your elderly loved one’s rights.
Nursing Home Abuse Legal Resources
- Chapter 400, Florida Statutes, Part II, Nursing Homes
- Chapter 59A, Florida Administrative Code, Nursing Homes
- Title 42 United States Codes Part 483, Subpart B,
- Requirements for Long-Term Care Facilities (the “Watermelon Book”).
- Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, Title VI, Subtitle B, Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement, Part I – Improving Transparency of Information, Section 6101, Required Disclosure of Ownership and Additional Disclosure Information
- Pre-Suit Procedures F.S. § 400.0233