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Florida Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers

Orlando Personal Injury Attorneys > Florida Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers

The abuse and neglect of our elderly in nursing homes has become commonplace. In some homes, the abuse or neglect causes serious physical injury or death. In other homes, the abuse is more psychological in nature and has the residents living in a constant state of fear. Neither result should be acceptable as they violate Florida law and every known standard of decency.

Martinez Manglardi has an experienced team of personal injury attorneys, representing the victims and families of nursing home abuse. We are a statewide litigation firm committed to protecting the safety of Florida’s families since 1988. We have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients, and our efforts have led to improved conditions and humane treatment for our clients.

Our nursing home abuse attorneys are dedicated to protecting elderly nursing home residents who are unable to protect themselves. Too often, elderly victims have suffered physical, emotional or financial abuse at the hands of the very institutions and people who are paid to care for them.

For questions about nursing home abuse and negligence in Orlando, Orange County,Kissimmee, Osceola County, Apopka, Seminole County and throughout Florida, review our Nursing Home Abuse FAQs below.

Elder Abuse: The Hidden Crime

Elder abuse has been called the hidden crime because

  1. It is often difficult to recognize.
  2. It has been concealed by nursing home staff.
  3. The victims may be too frightened or incapacitated to communicate the abuse.

An estimated 84 percent of abuse cases go unreported or unrecognized. Nursing home deaths are rarely detected by government inspectors, assessed by medical examiners, or investigated and prosecuted by law enforcement.

Federal and state laws were designed to protect nursing home residents and the abuse or neglect that occurs there and in other assisted living facilities is often referred to as “institutional abuse.” Institutional abuse is evident in a recent California study that found only 23 percent of nursing homes in the state were compliant with federal regulations for quality of care. Institutional entities where abuse may occur are skilled nursing facility (SNF) or homes, foster homes, group homes, board and care facilities. Abusers may be staff members, other patients and even visitors.

The Office of the Inspector General has categorized seven types of abuse sustained by the elderly in institutional settings:

  • Physical abuse – infliction of pain or injury including sexual abuse.
  • Misuse of restraints – chemical or physical control of resident not in accordance with accepted medical practice or orders.
  • Verbal/emotional abuse -demeaning statements, harassment, threats, humiliation or intimidation.
  • Physical neglect – disregard for the necessities of daily living such as food, water, bathing and basic care.
  • Medical neglect – lack of care for existing medical problems such as ignoring a necessary medical diet, not calling a physician when necessary, being unaware of potential side effects of medication or not taking action on a medical problem.
  • Verbal or emotional neglect – not meeting the patients’ verbal or emotional needs including disregarding patients’ wishes, or restricting contact with family and friends.
  • Personal property abuse – illegal or improper use of a resident’s property (funds, property, assets) by another for personal gain.

Responsibility for Care

    To participate in federally reimbursed Medicare and Medicaid programs, nursing homes must comply with the Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) which specifies adherence to certain requirements for quality of care. The NHRA states that a participating nursing home “must provide services and activities to attain and maintain the highest practicable physical, mental and psychosocial well-being of each resident in accordance with a written plan of care…”
    Most states have addressed the institutional abuse issue with laws that require doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to report suspected neglect to a designated state office. Laws further require nursing homes to investigate and report any abuse incidents that occur within their facility. Physicians, hospitals, nurses, therapists, aides, orderlies and administrators must provide adequate care, medical treatment and protection to the residents and patients in their facility.

The Credentials to Help

Only an experienced Florida nursing home abuse and malpractice attorney can help punish those responsible for perpetrating crimes against the dependent elderly. Martinez Manglardi’s elder abuse attorneys know the law, the legal system and victim rights. Our firm has experience in handling a variety of personal injury cases against major defendants such as nursing homes, hospitals, insurance companies, product manufacturers, corporations and municipalities.

We are on your side.  Martine Manglardi can provide you with strategies to successfully prosecute the guilty and improve the quality of your loved one’s care through financial restitution. If someone you love has been abused, injured or died in a nursing home or assisted living facility, contact our Florida nursing home abuse lawyers today via our online contactform, or call our office at 1-800-741-2243.

Related Headlines

FAQs Links Teens face charges in nursing home abuse (MSNBC)

Florida’s Medicaid reports $56M in fraud (The Business Journal of Jacksonville)

ALS patient on hunger strike over home care (The Sudbury Star)

FAQs

1.  What do I do if I suspect nursing home abuse or neglect?

If you suspect abuse or neglect of an elderly person, you should report the abuse to the proper local authorities. The abuse will not stop on its own. Do not ignore your suspicions.

2.  What are the different types of nursing home neglect and abuse?

 

  • Mental and Emotional Abuse
  • Physical and Sexual Abuse
  • Neglect
  • Exploitation/Financial Abuse

 

3.  What is the definition of elder abuse?

Elder abuse is a term that may include physical, sexual, or emotional abuse; financial exploitation; and neglect in providing necessary materials like food, shelter, or clothing. The abuse might also involve withholding medicine or refusing to arrange transportation for doctor appointments. While damage inflicted by physical abuse may be obvious, frequently the abuse is emotional or psychological, resulting in humiliation, intimidation, and fear.

4.  What are some recognizable signs that nursing home neglect or abuse could be occurring?

Any of the following nursing home neglect and abuse signs could warrant further investigation:

  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, sprains, or fractures
  • Bedsores
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Staff refusing to allow visitors to see resident or delays in allowing visitors to see resident
  • Staff not allowing resident to be alone with visitor
  • Resident being kept in an over-medicated state
  • Loss of resident’s possessions
  • Sudden large withdrawals from bank accounts or changes in banking practices
  • Abrupt changes in will or other financial documents

5.  Are there criminal penalties for those who abuse the elderly?

Although laws vary from state to state, there are several laws that address criminal penalties for various types of elder abuse. Some states have increased penalties for those who victimize older adults. Increasingly, across the country, law enforcement officers and prosecutors are trained on elder abuse and ways to use criminal and civil laws to bring abusers to justice.

6.  Can a nursing home be held responsible for a resident’s injury if negligence is found?

Yes. Nursing homes are held accountable to similar standards of care that you would expect from any hospital or other health care facility. Nursing homes can be held liable for negligence, and you can seek financial compensation for damages suffered because of that negligence to you, a family member, or a loved one.

7.  What should I do if I suspect a nursing home is stealing money from my loved one?

Financial abuse can be difficult to detect because it will often occur over a period of time. If you have suspicions, however, it is a good idea to check them out. Ask your loved one about their finances and who controls them. Provide your loved one with information on financial abuse. Also, notify the director of the nursing home that you suspect abuse. If nothing changes, and you have evidence of financial abuse, contact authorities and a nursing home abuse attorney.

8.  If a resident of a nursing home has no contract with the home, can he or she still sue the home for improper care?

Yes, nursing home residents who are harmed due to improper care by a nursing home may recover damages under several different legal theories, even in the absence of a contract. A resident might have a cause of action that arises out of negligent personal supervision and care, negligent hiring and retention of employees, negligent maintenance of the premises, or negligent selection or maintenance of equipment. In addition, a nursing home resident who has been abused can pursue damages for assault and battery.

9.  What rights do residents of nursing homes have?

A resident in a nursing facility has the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical and mental abuse. In contrast, restraints may be used upon the written order of a physician who specifies the duration and circumstances under which the restraints are to be used, but only to insure the safety of the resident or other residents. If a nursing home is not regulated by federal statute, its residents will still have rights under state laws.

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