Nursing Home Abuse FAQs
Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer In West Palm Beach | Fetterman & Associates, PA
Q: A close family member is in a nursing home and is not getting the treatment and care she deserves. What can we do?
A: Every nursing home has an Ombudsman and your family member, or their health surrogate should have been given information on who the Ombudsman for the facility is and how they can be contacted. The Ombudsman is a representative of the state of Florida whose job it is to try to resolve problems between the facility and its patients. If the issue cannot be resolved, you should file a complaint with the Ombudsman who can order an investigation. It is also your right to call an attorney.
Q: How are Florida nursing homes regulated?
A: When you have an elderly family member living in a Florida nursing home, you want to feel comfortable knowing that they are receiving the best care possible. You also want to be reassured that the facility is being regulated and that your loved one is protected from Florida nursing home abuse. Nursing homes are regulated by state and federal laws.
The Nursing Home Reform Act is a federal law that offers protection for nursing home residents. This law was enacted in 1987 and governs facilities that receive funds under Medicaid and Medicare programs. The Nursing Home Reform Act regulates the care, staffing, privacy, recordkeeping and quality of treatment in U.S. nursing homes.
The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration’s Bureau of Long Term Care Services oversees the state licensure and Medicare and Medicaid certification of nursing homes throughout the state. The Florida Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program also advocates for the rights of nursing home residents.
If you suspect that your loved one has been the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, contact a West Palm Beach nursing home abuse lawyer at Fetterman & Associates.
Q: How is a Florida nursing home abuse claim paid? Does the facility or insurance company pay it?
A: If the nursing home facility has insurance, the insurer would be the one to pay the claim. Whenever a Florida nursing home abuse or neglect claim is made, the insurance company is notified immediately.
Believe it or not, not all facilities carry liability insurance, which is a tremendous risk for them. Just one nursing home abuse claim could substantially impact the home. When a claim is made against on uninsured nursing home, the facility would have to pay damages itself or the claim may end up being uncollectible.
An experienced West Palm Beach nursing home abuse lawyers can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and help you determine the value of your claim. To find out how we can help you with your case, contact us at 561-845-2510.
Q: What are some of the most common Florida nursing home injuries?
A: When we place our loved ones into an assisted care facility, we expect them to receive exceptional care. Unfortunately, nursing home injuries-most of which are preventable-are quite common. Some common West Palm Beach nursing home injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Bed Sores/Pressure Sores
- Decubitus Ulcers
- Head Injuries
- Medication Errors
- Restraint Injuries
If your loved one has suffered a nursing home injury, contact a West Palm Beach nursing home abuse attorneys at Fetterman & Associates today. Our West Palm Beach nursing home neglect attorneys will defend the rights of your loved one and fight to ensure that they receive compensation for the injuries they have sustained.
Q: I think my loved one is suffering from elder abuse. What do I do?
A: If you believe your loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse, you must act swiftly. You should speak to the nurses and aides about your concerns. Contact the Florida Ombudsman to report Florida nursing home abuse and to receive help for your loved one. You may also wish to file a complaint with the state board of Licensing and Certification.
If your loved one has suffered at the hands of an abuser, contact a West Palm Beach nursing home abuse attorney at Fetterman & Associates. We will guide you through the process of taking legal action against the abusers on behalf of your loved one.
Q: Can the nursing home be liable if another resident caused my mother’s injuries?
A: Nursing home and assisted care facility residents in Florida are guaranteed rights under the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. The staff and administration of such facilities have a responsibility to provide adequate staffing and supervision to prevent resident on resident assault.
If you suspect that your loved one has endured resident on resident assault or abuse due to lack of staffing or proper procedures in a nursing home, that facility may be liable.
Recent studies have shown evidence that resident on resident assault is an extremely widespread issue, and may be an even greater concern than direct abuse from staff members.
Their dedicated and experienced professionals will help you to assess the situation and determine the best course of action to ensure that your loved one is safe from resident on resident assault.
Q: How can I be sure my parent will be properly cared for in a nursing home?
A: Making the decision to place a family member in to a Florida nursing home can be a very difficult decision. You may have guilt or worry about whether your loved one will receive adequate care while in an assisted living facility.
In order to ease your mind about whether you are making the right nursing home facility choice, please read our article entitled For Your Loved One’s Sake: Florida Nursing Home Patient Rights. This article contains a wealth of informative tips about what to look for when choosing a facility.
If your loved one has suffered from Florida nursing home abuse or neglect, you need to contact an attorney. Contact a West Palm Beach nursing home abuse lawyer at Fetterman & Associates for a free, confidential consultation.
Q: Can a West Palm Beach nursing home be liable for emotional and psychological abuse?
A: The weakened mental and physical state of the elderly can sometimes make them easy targets for emotional abuse from stressed workers in short-handed, understaffed Florida nursing homes.
Emotional and Psychological Abuse
There are many ways in which emotional and psychological abuse occurs in West Palm Beach nursing homes. Emotional or psychological elder abuse is defined as: “Inflicting mental pain or distress on an elder person through verbal or nonverbal acts”. Because there is often no physical evidence of emotional abuse, it is critical to stay on guard to the common signs of emotional and psychological nursing home abuse.
Nursing homes have a legal responsibility to ensure proper care of elderly residents, and to exercise reasonable care to ensure that staff is properly trained and supervised. If your loved one has experienced psychological or emotional abuse at the hands of a nursing home staff member, it could constitute nursing home negligence; the facility might be liable.
What You Should Do
Due to the complex but highly serious nature of these situations, it is critical to be armed with the knowledge and expertise you need. An experienced West Palm Beach nursing home abuse attorney will help determine the best course of action to protect the rights of your loved one.
If your loved one has experienced Emotional and Psychological Abuse in a Florida nursing home, contact Fetterman & Associates at 561-845-2510.
Q: Is my loved one in an understaffed nursing home?
A: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently reported that 90% of nursing homes do not have enough employees to provide proper care to their patients. Since the nursing homes can retain more profits by paying less to its staff, employees are often underpaid, causing a high turnover rate. The remaining employees are overworked as a result.
The best Florida nursing homes are often the ones that pay fair wages to staff, enabling them to stay at the home for long periods of time. Patients are more comfortable with longtime staff members, giving them a sense of familiarity that greatly increases their comfort level. Staff members that have worked for longer than a year are also finely attuned to their patients’ individual needs, allowing for more personalized care and are more likely to notice differences in their patients’ health and behavior.
The best way to ensure your nursing home is taking proper care of your loved one is to visit often. Pay attention to the staff. How many times do employees come into the room during your visit? Do they call the patient by name? If your loved one is lucid, ask him or her about the staff. Does he or she have concerns? Is he or she ever left alone for long periods of time? Is he or she left alone at mealtimes, where choking is a common occurrence? Is the staff verbally or physically abusive?
If your loved one has reported abuse in a Port St Lucie nursing home facility, we can help. Call Fetterman & Associates today at 561-845-2510.
Q: Could the Nursing Home Be Held Liable for Malnutrition or Dehydration?
A: Nursing homes have a legal responsibility to ensure proper maintenance and monitoring of vital issues such as hydration and nutrition. Nursing home negligence can contribute to or cause malnutrition or dehydration in a variety of circumstances, including:
- Shortage of staffing (causing residents to go without nourishment or hydration for extended periods)
- Failure to properly train in nutrition programs or implement hydration strategies
- Failure to properly monitor nutrition or hydration
If your loved one has experienced serious health issues arising from dehydration and malnutrition due to nursing home negligence, the facility or nursing home could be liable.
Due to the complex but highly serious nature of these situations, it is critical to be armed with the knowledge and expertise you need to ensure the safety of your loved one. Contact a West Palm Beach nursing home abuse lawyer at Fetterman & Associates to speak to an experienced nursing home neglect attorney. They will help you sort through the confusion and emotional duress to determine the best course of action.
Swift Action Could Make a Life or Death Difference
If you suspect that your family has been a victim of West Palm Beach nursing home abuse or negligence, the life of your loved one may depend on your taking action.
If your family member has experienced medical problems arising from dehydration due to nursing home neglect, contact Fetterman & Associates.
Q: Is my father at risk of a fall in a Florida nursing home?
A: Unfortunately, yes. Just because your family member is in an assisted care facility is no guarantee against serious falls. In fact, it may be more likely. The Center for Disease Control recently reported that 75% of nursing home residents fall every year-about twice the rate of seniors living in the community.
Why do these falls happen? Florida nursing home facilities are understaffed, and residents can sometimes go hours without a checkup from a staff member. If your relative slips in the shower in a disreputable nursing home, there is a very real chance he or she could wait hours until help arrives.
When an elderly person falls, it is especially serious. Due to the degeneration of the human body, the muscles weaken, causing mobility to become less stable. Depth perception and declining vision can cause your relative to misjudge distances, like the depth between steps on a staircase.
Lastly, the frailty of the elder’s bone structure can cause much more damage than in a young person, often resulting in broken hips and torn ligaments. A younger, healthier person might repair these in time, but a senior’s body lacks the ability to repair serious injuries and may not recover.
There is no way to avoid the risk of a fall-but there are precautions you can take to reduce the chances, giving your loved one respectful and responsible care. If your loved one has experienced a fall or any type of nursing home abuse in West Palm Beach, call Fetterman & Associates today.
Q: Is my mother at risk of identity theft in a Florida nursing home?
A: With the rapid increase in technology, you are right to worry about someone stealing your personal information. The elderly are especially at risk, and identity theft in nursing homes is unfortunately quite common.
A few reasons your relative could be a victim of Florida ID fraud:
- Access to information : Identity thieves don’t need much to steal your information. A driver’s license, passport, social security number or account information can be enough to open a credit card or apply for a loan in someone else’s name-all items which caretakers have access to.
- Technological gap : Due to their advanced age, many residents are unfamiliar with technology. They may expose too much personal information online or over the phone, trusting that the caller is reputable and not a senior scammer coaxing bank information out of the elderly
- Trust in authority : The elderly are forced to put their faith in people charged to protect them, such as nursing home attendants, administrators, police and doctors. Some merely assume the authorities are infallible, or are mentally impaired and cannot rationally comprehend the betrayal or injustice being done to them.
Whether it’s broken bones or burglary, we don’t like to think of anyone in our family becoming a victim. Unfortunately, the people we love who are the most vulnerable to attacks are the ones who cannot take care of themselves. If your relative was a victim of financial abuse at the hands of a caretaker, get the help of a trusted West Palm Beach nursing home abuse attorney by calling Fetterman & Associates today at 561-845-2510.