Although most nursing homes and assisted living facilities are accredited and provide seniors with high-quality care and activities that enable them to enjoy fulfilling lives, abuse and neglect do occur. As the number of seniors living in these facilities has increased so has the number of victims. If you believe a loved one is being hurt or exploited, contact the experienced legal team at Betras, Kopp & Harshman today!
At Betras, Kopp & Harshman we work with families to seek justice for loved ones who have been injured as a result of nursing home/assisted living abuse or neglect. Here’s some valuable information that will help you recognize abuse and neglect and tips on what to do if you believe a loved one is in danger.
Let’s start by defining our terms. Nursing home abuse and neglect can include, but is not limited to:
- Failure to Provide Enough Clean Clothing and Bed Linens
- Denial of Proper Nutrition
- Denial of Appropriate Medical Care
- Over Sedation
- Lack of Protection from Abuse by Staff
- Lack of Protection from Abuse by Other Residents
- Lack of Protection from Health and Safety Hazards
In order to determine if your loved one is being mistreated look for the following:
- Weight Loss
- Bruises or Welts
- Frequent Swelling
- Soiled Clothing or Bed Sheets
- Changes In Attitude or Mood
If your loved one appears withdrawn, fearful, or depressed you should be concerned. And if they complain about the treatment they are receiving or say they feel threatened by staff or other residents, listen and then bring the situation to the attention of the home’s administration at once.
If you believe that a loved one or friend has been abused or neglected, take action at once. Start by notifying the nursing home administrator. Federal law requires them to report claims of abuse to state agencies which will assign investigators to the case.
You may also report your concerns to the Florida Department of Children and Families abuse hotline by calling 1-800-962-2873 or logging onto https://reportabuse.dcf.state.fl.us/Adult/AdultForm.aspx, or by contacting the Long-term Care Ombudsman Program at 1-888-831-0404, 1-850-414-2323, or emailing [email protected]
While the mere report of abuse usually prompts administrators to immediately remove those suspected of mistreating a resident, if the offender can’t be identified right away steps must be taken to remove the resident from harm’s way at once. If you believe your loved one is in immediate danger, contact the police and arrange for them to be moved to a local hospital until arrangements can be made with another facility.
Combining strategies to ensure proper care is the most effective way to prevent abuse and neglect. That process begins with the development of an individualized care plan based on a resident’s interests, personality, and health care requirements. The plan, which is mandated by the Nursing Home Reform Act, should also identify the staff members who are responsible for carrying out specific tasks. Under both state and federal law the plan must be documented so that you can ensure it is being implemented properly. Obtain a copy of the plan, check records regularly, maintain contact with nurses and doctors, and participate in all care plan meetings. Whenever new employees become responsible for your loved one’s care you should immediately ask to see their credentials and their background report.
Finally, it is also important for you to help your loved one stay connected to family, friends, and other residents because isolation increases the risks of abuse.
Taking these steps and remaining actively involved in your loved one’s life will go a long way toward enhancing their nursing home or assisted living experience.
But if you do see signs that your loved one has been injured as a result of abuse or neglect, don’t delay. Contact Betras, Kopp & Harshman immediately by using our contact form or calling 813-333-9420 or 800-457-2889. We’ll listen to your concerns, evaluate the situation, give you our best advice, and fight to protect your loved one.