Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawyers in PensacolaMoving an elderly loved one into a nursing home can be a very difficult decision to make, even when one knows that a nursing facility will be able to provide a higher level of care than the individual could on their own. When a person decides that a nursing home is the right place for their parent or other elderly loved one, it is often grounded in the belief that the facility will be able to provide much more for the elderly person than the individual could.
The belief that a nursing home provides a high level of care and is the safest place for an elderly person is part of what makes learning of an injury or death so shocking. Unfortunately, elderly residents in Florida’s nursing facilities are not always treated with the level of care they deserve, and sometimes, they are even neglected or abused.
At Whibbs, Stone & Barnett, P.A., we understand the outrage that family members feel when they find out that an elderly loved one has been mistreated in a Florida nursing home. And when this violation of trust results in injury or death, we work closely with our clients to help ensure that those responsible for what happened are held fully accountable.
Nursing Home Injuries
While an elderly person who is residing in a nursing home should receive a high level of care, this is not always the case. In fact, these facilities are often the place where serious injuries occur.
Common nursing home injuries that may be the result of neglect or abuse include:
- Bedrail injuries. A Florida nursing home resident who is unattended to may suffer a bedrail injury, including a bedrail suffocation injury.
- Bedsores. Bedsores are one of the most common injury types suffered by nursing home residents, as well as one of the most preventable. This type of injury refers to sores and ulcers that are the result of extended pressure on an area of the body. They result from lying in bed or sitting in a wheelchair for too long without movement.
- Fall-related injuries. When an elderly person isn’t properly supervised, or a nursing home property isn’t maintained and kept in a safe and hazard-free condition, slips, trips, and falls can occur. Fall-related injuries might include traumatic brain injuries such as concussions, bone fracture injuries, bruises, and more.
- Medical errors and infections. Nursing home residents deserve a high level of medical care, but they don’t always receive it. Medication errors, infections, and other medical mistakes can have a devastating effect on an already-frail elderly person.
- Malnutrition. A nursing home resident may be at risk of severe health consequences as a result of not eating enough food or not eating adequately nutritious food.
What Is Nursing Home Neglect?
Many of the above injury types would not occur but for nursing home neglect. Neglect refers to the failure of the facility and staff to exercise the degree of care that is owed to a nursing home patient.
Examples of nursing home neglect that can lead to poor care of residents and resulting injuries include:
- Unreasonable/unsafe staff-to-patient ratio.
- Improper training of nursing home staff.
- Lack of supervision of nursing home staff.
- Failing to attend to residents’ medical needs.
- Failing to offer residents’ supervision when eating, using the restroom, walking, etc.
- Failing to conduct background checks on staff prior to hiring.
- Inadequate maintenance of nursing home grounds (e.g., failing to clean spills, ensure tripping hazards are removed, etc.)
Note that in some cases, nursing home neglect can cross the line and become nursing home abuse. To differentiate between the two, note that abuse usually has an element of intent attached to it, such as purposely causing physical harm to a resident, denying them medical care, or isolating them. Nursing home abuse is extremely serious, and it could even result in criminal charges in some cases.
Who’s Liable When Nursing Home Neglect Leads to a Serious Injury?
When a nursing home resident who is frail, ill, and unable to care for themselves is neglected, the consequences can be dire. If neglect leads to serious or fatal injury, family members have a right to seek justice and recompense.
In order to hold the nursing facility liable for harm, the victim or representative of the victim must be able to prove that the nursing home owed a specific duty of care to the resident (this is often implied by virtue of the relationship between the nursing home and the patient), that the duty of care owed to the patient was breached, and that the patient’s harm would not have occurred but for the breach of the duty of care.
If it can be proven that the nursing home was negligent and that the negligence caused the harm suffered by the nursing home resident, then the facility can be held liable for damages.
What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Neglect
If you suspect that your loved one is being neglected in a nursing facility, you should take action immediately. Steps to take include:
- Document all instances of neglect and injuries/harm suffered by your loved one.
- Report your concerns to a nursing home supervisor or manager as soon as possible.
- Take pictures of unsafe/hazardous conditions and any injuries suffered.
- Review the procedure for filing a nursing home abuse complaint in Florida.
- Call an experienced Florida nursing home abuse lawyer who can assist you in filing a complaint and exploring your legal options.
If you believe that your elderly loved one is at immediate risk of serious bodily harm, contact law enforcement to report the problem.
Our Pensacola, FL Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers Can Help
At Whibbs, Stone & Barnett, P.A., our Florida nursing home neglect attorneys are here to help you pursue justice for your aging loved one. If you believe that your loved one has been injured as a result of neglect or abuse, do not hesitate to take action.
Our lawyers will move quickly to put an end to the situation, investigate the case, and help you to build a strong legal claim. Request your free consultation by messaging us online or calling our office today at 1-888-219-4561.