Seniors have been regularly reported as victims of neglect and abuse all across the United States, including within facilities that should be providing them with safety, attention, and care, like a nursing home. When neglect or abuse takes place, the repercussions can be severe for the victim enduring the abuse or neglect, especially for a senior citizen that may already be in a weak state. In fact, research has found that those over the age of 65 that are neglected or abused have a higher rate of dying sooner than nature intended. Physical, mental, financial, and social harms are the various states where an elder person can suffer damages by either neglect or abuse.
A big business has surged from the use of nursing homes. In fact, the CDC has reported that by the year 2030, there will be more than double the amount of senior citizens residing in these facilities than there are now, which is about 1.5 million people. While it is a business, and their objective is to profit, which is nothing wrong, but when the nursing home tries to cut their costs to profit, that is when it becomes an issue. Cutting cost can be the direct cause of negligence and abuse within nursing homes including, not providing the residents with enough staff members to care for them. The stress begins to rise within those staff members who have to perform the job duties that require four people to do. Any senior citizen within Jacksonville, FL that resides in a nursing home residence can receive the assistance of elder neglect and abuse attorneys at Percy Martinez Law Firm.
How Can a Jacksonville Neglect and Abuse of Senior Citizens Help My Case?
The main thing to be concerned with when a loved one is being abused or neglected within a nursing home facility is to remove them from that situation as soon as possible. Once the individual has been removed, then seeking a Jacksonville lawyer who focuses on abuse and neglect that has been committed towards nursing home residents is vital when establishing a case. There are various important things that an elder neglect and abuse attorney can obtain for their clients. Some of those vital documents include:
- Nursing home charts
- Hospital or physician expenses
- Medical records
- Inspection reports of the nursing home
- Surveys of the nursing home
- Coroner’s reports
- Death Certificate
- Facility conditions pictures
- Pictures of the injuries sustained
- Establishment of deviation from the standard of care in the form of a report
- Payment logs of medical treatment
Categorization of Abuse in Health Services Facilities
The abuse that is committed within a nursing home services facility is present in various forms. While the most obvious one would be physical abuse, other forms of abuse are much harder to see and may require more attention and investigative processes to discover. Below will be a list, along with their description, of the many forms of abuse that can present itself within these health care facilities:
- Abuse in the physical state: When an intentional act of force is used towards an individual that causes an injury or harm, this is termed as physical abuse. The results from this type of abuse range dramatically, from simple cuts and bruises to fractures and broken bones. In addition, because the skin of an elder person is much more sensitive than that of a younger individual, infections, bruising, and scars tend to occur more often to senior citizens. Some examples of abuse in the physical state include pushing, restraining, kicking, punching, hitting with an object, and even intentionally dropping them on the floor.
- Abuse in the sexual state: When unwanted sexual acts are committed towards another person, this is considered sexual abuse. While rare, elder people within nursing homes can be abused sexually. It is always difficult to discover that someone has become a victim of sexual abuse unless they speak up for themselves. But what happens when an elder person cannot communicate? Some signs of sexual abuse include scarring or brushing around the genital areas, including the breasts, bleeding from the private areas, and even a change in behavior.
- Abuse in the emotional state: Abuse in the emotional state can be destructive for the resident. A number of complications can derive from such abuse. Verbal threats are typically the way that emotional abuse manifests itself. Words sometimes are more hurtful than physical harm. Typically, victims of emotional abuse will display various signs like confusion, anxiety, and fear of talking.
- Abuse in the financial state: If the facility uses their assets for their own personal gains like retrieving money from their accounts, forging their checks, or other forms of financial abuse, then the resident has just become a victim of financial abuse.
Any of the above states can be committed not only by the nursing home staff members but by other residents and even the resident’s own family members.
Categorization of Neglect in Health Services Facilities
While abuse and neglect tend to be used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Neglect is typically done unintentionally, while abuse is intentional acts. Neglect can surface through many categories, including:
- The needs that are basic and required: Basic needs that every person is entitled to includes access to food, access to water, being in a safe environment, being in a clean environment, having access to medical care, among other things. Sometimes, employees of nursing homes will neglect to provide the resident with their basic needs because they may be stressed or overworked. While it may be unintentional, a resident can suffer severe consequences like malnutrition, abuse, and even infections.
- Treatment or care neglect: Medical attention and care are mandated towards every elderly person within a nursing home because they are already being admitted with a possible medical condition or injury. If the resident is neglected and not provided the medical attention that they deserve, then the facility may be found liable for negligence in providing medical services. Some forms of medical neglect include recurring infections, bedsores, sudden death, and more.
- Neglect of the resident’s hygiene: Elders are prone to infections, and when they are not kept clean or their living space is not sanitized, then they might become sick. Many residents require assistance to keep their personal hygiene. If they are not provided that help, how will they be able to? This would be considered neglect towards their personal hygiene.
Other forms of neglect include allowing the resident to wander, lack of supervision, repeated falls, dehydration/malnutrition, and more.
Is Poor Care Being Provided Within the Nursing Home?
There are moments when to maintain the well-being of a loved one, they must be placed within these facilities, an action that is never easy. While the individual believes that they are being cared for, they might, in fact, be in a worse state. These are some elements that an individual should be watchful of:
- Diseases that have been transmitted sexually
- Issues with their financial funds
- Sudden decrease in weight
- Fractures or broken bones
- Current medical condition worsening
- Aggressive behavior that is not like the resident
- Will changes
- Seclusion; and
If any of these indicators have been noticed by a family member or staff member within the nursing home facility, then it should be reported to either the Health Department, lawyer or the ombudsmen of the nursing home. Residents have rights, and when those rights are violated, action needs to be sought. Eliminating the problem as quickly as possible will be the potential life saver of the elder person. If injury or death surged from the abuse or negligence, then damages can be recovered and the jury or judge might even award punitive damages if the actions that were taken were so unspeakable of that the defendant needed to be punished.
Jacksonville Neglect and Abuse Lawyers Prepared to Handle Your Case Today
As noted, severe repercussions can come to a senior who has been neglected or abused within the facility that is provided them with services and health care, like a nursing home. Because it can be so severe as to lead to their death, the Jacksonville lawyers who practice and represent the law protecting abused and neglected residents in these facilities at Percy Martinez’s Law Firm, have worked hard in winning their client’s cases and making the lives of future residents safer. Compassion, support, and professional work are what all of their clients receive. They are there to make the lives of their clients less of a hassle.