Nursing Home Neglect
The Baby Boomer generation is reaching retirement age in ever greater numbers. Thanks to advances in health care technology, Americans are living longer and longer. As people advance in age, their needs change, and sometimes they need more assistance than they can get on their own. This is especially true in Florida, a popular retirement destination. Nursing homes occupy a special place of trust, since they have care and control over so many aspects of a resident’s life, and sometimes all aspects of that life. Nursing homes therefore have very specific obligations under the law to provide for the care of their residents while respecting their dignity. Not all nursing homes meet this obligation. A Florida nursing home injury attorney can help victims of nursing home neglect get the justice and compensation they deserve.
Congress passed the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act after studies showed alarming rates of insufficient care, neglect, and abuse in nursing homes around the nation. The law requires nursing homes that accept Medicare and Medicaid to meet certain standards of care. It also establishes a “Residents’ Bill of Rights” for nursing home patients, with protections for patients’ autonomy, dignity, and quality of life. The Bill of Rights protects residents’ rights to, among others, privacy, dignity, freedom from abuse and neglect, accommodation of medical and psychological needs, communication and socialization, participation in their care plan, and information about their treatment.
Despite various legal protections, abuse and neglect in nursing homes can and does occur. Signs of nursing home abuse can be difficult to identify, as evidence is often hidden and residents cannot always speak for themselves regarding their treatment. Residents may suffer physical abuse, but verbal and emotional abuse can also cause significant harm. Signs of abuse might not be visible, instead manifesting in a resident’s demeanor, such as frequent agitation, withdrawal or isolation, or other unusual behaviors. Neglect can include neglect of a resident’s daily physical or medical needs, including food, personal hygiene, lack of medication, or injuries like bedsores. Neglect can also be systemic in a nursing home, such as unsanitary conditions and frequent infections or outbreaks of illness. Injuries can range from psychological distress to physical injury or death.
Patients with Alzheimer’s disease may be particularly susceptible to neglect or abuse. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia in which an individual’s memory and thinking gradually deteriorate. Alzheimer’s patients often require heightened supervision and care because of these mental limitations.
Because of the special trust placed in nursing homes to care for people who might not otherwise be able to care for themselves, nursing homes, the administrators, and their employees have a special duty under the law to provide competent and diligent care for residents, and to exercise reasonable caution to prevent residents from coming to harm. Abuse and neglect constitute breaches of this duty, which entitles injured residents to recover damages for injuries caused by nursing homes’ negligence.
Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. an experienced team of Deerfield Beach injury attorneys help people who have been injured due to nursing home neglect, as well as their families and loved ones, recover damages for their injuries. Contact the firm through this website or at 954-428-9333 for a free and confidential consultation.