No matter their age, everyone deserves to live in an environment that is safe and free from negligent and abuse. When a person is placed in a nursing home, their family members would generally them to be treated with dignity and compassion.
However, nursing home abuse is becoming far too common in the United States. According to the National Center for Elder Abuse, an estimated 44 percent of nursing home residents have suffered abuse in some way.
If you believe your loved one suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home facility, a Clearwater nursing home abuse lawyer could help you take action on their behalf. Not only could nursing home staff face criminal charges but a qualified personal injury attorney may also help you hold them accountable for their actions in civil court.
Florida state law gives nursing home residents several specific rights. If any of these rights are violated, the resident—or family members working on their behalf—could file a civil suit against both staff members and owners of the nursing home.
These rights may be found in Florida Statutes §429.28, known as the Resident Bill of Rights. They include the right for nursing home residents to:
- Live in a safe environment free from abuse and be treated with consideration and respect
- Retain their clothes and personal property and manage their own financial affairs
- Utilize private unrestricted communication such as receiving and sending correspondence and access to a telephone
- Participate in community activities, exercise several times a week, and go outside on a regular basis, weather permitting
- Exercise their own civil and religious liberties
- Receive assistance with obtaining and accessing adequate healthcare
- Have copies of the rules and regulations of the facility
- Refuse medication or treatment and be informed of the consequences of such decisions
As per Florida law, when a nursing home resident is being deprived of these rights, it constitutes nursing home abuse. Family members who are concerned about a loved one suffering abuse in a nursing home in Florida could contact a skilled Clearwater nursing home abuse attorney for help planning their next move.
Signs of Abuse
Sometimes, nursing home residents are unable to directly communicate that they are being abused. Alternatively, they may keep quiet because they are ashamed or afraid of retaliation if they should tell a loved one about what is going on. Some may even fear that no one would believe them.
Common signs of physical nursing home abuse may include:
- Unexplained bruises
- Broken bones
- Broken eyeglasses
- Refusal of a caregiver to let a visitor or loved one be alone with the resident
Signs of emotional abuse may include unusual behaviors such as confusion, mumbling, or rocking behaviors. The caregiver may be belittling, controlling, or even threatening to the resident.
If a family member is displaying some of these signs or others that are concerning, a Clearwater nursing home abuse lawyer may be able to help determine what is going on. If abuse or neglect is identified, they could work with families and residents to hold the nursing home accountable.
Talking to a Clearwater Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
An experienced and compassionate Clearwater nursing home abuse lawyer knows how important it is to have your elderly or disabled loved one treated with respect and dignity. When a nursing home fails to do this, a seasoned attorney could treat you and your elderly loved ones with the respect and dignity they deserve while pursuing justice for your family. Call today to learn more about your legal rights and options.