As our loved ones age, we trust nursing homes to care for them. When that trust is violated by abuse and neglect on the part of staff or caregivers (or committed under their watch), grief and anger can be overwhelming. Kogan & DiSalvo wants you to know that the law is on your side, and there are many measures in place to help shed light on this form of elder abuse and give families every opportunity to get justice.
If you believe an elder loved one sustained nursing home neglect or abuse of any kind, we’re ready to listen to your story and take immediate action to protect your vulnerable family member from further harm. We can pursue aggressive litigation on your behalf to make sure the at-fault parties are held accountable for their despicable conduct. Exposing abuse helps protect other families from having to experience the distress and turmoil you’ve been forced to undergo. It can also provide substantial damages to cover the abuse victim’s medical costs, emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life.
Cover-ups, stonewalling, and finger-pointing to avoid responsibility are sadly all-too-common when it comes to nursing home neglect cases. That’s why you need a law firm with the acumen and resources to fully investigate your case and gather the hard evidence needed to prove liability. Call us for a free consultation and a full review of all your legal options. We’ll give you the information you need to decide on the best next steps for your family.
Nursing Home Negligence Reported in Vero Beach
Nursing home neglect happens with unfortunate frequency in South Florida and Vero Beach in particular. Vero Beach is a city of 16,350, where twenty-eight percent of the population are seniors. The city has 19 nursing homes—a disproportionately large number.
The nonpartisan ProPublica gathered data from inspections of nursing homes in Florida in 2022 by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services over a three-year period.
ProPublica reported that nursing homes in Florida were fined $18.6 million for abuse and substandard case. Six nursing homes in Vero Beach were fined a total of over $200,000. Many Vero Beach nursing homes fall below mandated safety and treatment standards. Those cold, hard numbers represent needless suffering of defenseless elderly men and women of Indian River County.
What Kind of Abuses and Injuries Take Place in Nursing Homes?
Nursing homes are businesses. When they cut corners and don’t hire enough or qualified staff, negligence becomes much more likely.
Residents are prone to fall when staff are unavailable to help them out of bed or chairs. They are more likely to develop bedsores and infections when aides don’t turn them. Overworked staff make medication errors. When calls are not responded to quickly, residents cannot access the bathroom on time. Residents requiring assistance to eat aren’t fed adequately when staffing is short.
Nursing home neglect can result in many forms of harm, including:
- Broken bones
- Infected bedsores
- Brain bleeds
- Death from choking
When patients with dementia aren’t monitored, they can wander outside the facility, a dangerous phenomenon called elopement.
The State of Florida requires background checks for nursing home staff. Nonetheless, residents of nursing homes can become victims of sexual assault, physical abuse, and theft.
How Do I Know If My Loved One Is Being Abused?
Nursing home residents often can’t or are afraid to communicate about abuse. However, there are telltale signs of neglect and abuse, including:
- Poor hygiene
- Missing property
- Emotional withdrawal
- Unexplained infections
- Unexpected weight loss
These conditions may be signs that your loved one is not being properly fed, lacks medical attention, or is being emotionally or physically victimized.
Evidence to Prove Your Nursing Home Abuse Case
Under Florida law, the nursing home is required to turn over all of its records to your attorney that pertain to your loved one. Known as the resident’s “chart,” this record can run to hundreds of pages.
For example, regarding a period of unexplained weight loss, the chart will show who was responsible for feeding your loved one and how often they were fed. The chart will also reveal what medications were prescribed and whether doctors’ orders were carried out.
Records can substantiate nursing home negligence and statutory violations in hiring. They can provide proof of understaffing during periods of time when your loved one was neglected.
In addition, nursing homes in Florida often have multiple corporate layers of ownership, often in an attempt to prevent liability for negligence. Your attorney will investigate the facility’s ownership to ensure no responsible party escapes liability for your loved one’s negligent treatment.
Reporting Elder Abuse
If you become aware of elder abuse in Florida, you can report it directly to the Florida Department of Children and Families. You will be asked for actionable information, including your contact information and the name and location of the victim.
The Department has telephone hotlines for Creole and Spanish speakers.
Ways to Prevent Nursing Home Neglect
Residents of Florida can check a site maintained by the state’s Agency for Healthcare Administration, which provides a Nursing Home guide and gives a star ranking to nursing homes. The agency also provides a Watch List of nursing homes operating under bankruptcy protection.
When choosing a nursing home, AARP recommends observing how residents are groomed, sampling the food yourself, and choosing a facility close to your home because frequent visits by family keep staff on their toes.
Reach out to a personal injury attorney at Kogan & DiSalvo to protect your rights and the rights of your loved one. Call for a free consultation.