Nursing homes play an important role in society by aiding people who need specialized care, the elderly, and their loved ones with a skilled staff who provide care, support and supervision around the clock. Unfortunately, there are many cases of reported neglect, abuse and misconduct that occur within the confines of these nursing homes. Such misconduct can manifest in any number of ways and each scenario may be different from the other. Forms of misconduct include financial, physical, medical, sexual or emotional abuse. Despite the keen and undivided attention you may pay to your loved ones when you visit them in these nursing homes, your time around them is all but limited. Therefore, noticing signals of such abuse or neglect is not an easy task. In fact, many indicators of nursing home misconduct may go unnoticed.
The purpose of this article is to provide a list of signals to watch out for that may indicate the presence of nursing home neglect of loved ones, followed by recommendations to hire an attorney if you suspect that misconduct may have taken place.
Unexplained Changes in Physical Condition
Nursing home misconduct usually occurs to victims who may not be in the condition to express their woes. Therefore, it is extremely important to pay attention to any unexplained physical changes. The State of Florida stipulates several legal regulations to protect your loved ones from this kind of abuse, so you should not hesitate to seek legal counsel if you spot any of these signs:
- Unexplained weight loss – Whether significant or not, weight loss can be an important indicator that your loved one is being neglected either by being underfed or through a lack of medical assistance. Nursing homes are required to provide nutritious meals and special diets to your loved ones.
- Bruises, bumps and scars – Marks of physical injury are considered a red flag. It is possible that your loved one could be injured accidentally or intentionally; either way, if it is significant, unexplained or repeated, it is probably a good idea to seek legal counsel. Nursing homes are mandated to protect your loved ones from such injuries and this could be a sign of carelessness.
- Unexplained behavior – Basically, any physical or behavioral changes that may indicate that your loved one is being exploited can be of significance. Sometimes, nursing homes could change medical dosages beyond prescribed limits which is against the regulations of the Florida Department of Health.
Under legal guidelines from the aforementioned Florida Department of Health and the Florida Department of Elderly Affairs, facilities that provide care for your loved ones must meet certain criteria that should ensure their physical well-being. The staff need to be sufficiently qualified and experienced, and the residential facilities need to be in accordance with Florida’s Nursing Home Guide. Seek legal counsel of an attorney whenever you detect any of the above signals of malpractice.
Unusual Financial Transactions
Another form of misconduct that could take place is financial abuse. This requires you to do a bit of homework and habitually track your loved one’s financial affairs. The following signs could be indicative of misconduct:
- Large or unusual transactions.
- Inconsistent or forged signatures.
- Loss of money.
- Changes in the resident’s bank statements.
Financial abuse can be committed by anyone who is contact with the resident. If you detect any of the above, contact an attorney immediately to put an end to this malpractice and compensate the resident for their losses.
Lack of Access to the Resident
Even though you may be keen to investigate the signs listed in this article, some residential facilities may deny you frequent or unplanned access to your loved one. While some may not easily interpret this as a red flag, recurring denial of access could be an attempt to conceal neglect. Take note of this issue in conjunction with the other signs to ensure that abuse is not happening behind your back.
Nursing home neglect is a serious issue that is difficult to detect and may go unnoticed. The aforementioned elements can indicate signs of misconduct, abuse and neglect that you need to look out for to protect your loved ones. Moreover, if these signs are present, take the step of hiring an attorney to litigate the issue in court in order to prevent further abuse and/or compensate you and your loved ones for this misconduct.
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