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Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Realizing that a loved one was abused or neglected in a nursing home is a devastating experience for an entire family. At Donaldson & Weston, our injury attorneys can represent victims in a wide variety of nursing home cases.

Experienced Injury Attorneys Helping Residents of Stuart and Surrounding Areas

If your loved one is residing in a nursing home facility, you may worry about the level of care that they are receiving. There are countless reports in the news about neglect, sexual and emotional abuse, and other illegal acts against nursing home residents. Although some residents are mentally sharp and alert, there are some residents who suffer from physical or cognitive conditions that leave them vulnerable. At Donaldson & Weston, our Stuart nursing home abuse attorneys have guided families throughout St. Lucie, Palm Beach, and Martin Counties. Knowing whether you need to take legal action can be a daunting prospect, especially if your loved one is unable to communicate with you regarding the treatment that they have been receiving. If you have questions about the legal process and want to know more about how to determine whether your loved one is receiving the treatment that they need, contact us today.

Identifying Signs of Abuse or Neglect in a Nursing Home

There are many signs that you can observe to determine whether your loved one is suffering from abuse or neglect. Even if your loved one is able to communicate with you, they may refrain from telling you about substandard conditions for fear of further abuse or retaliation. One of the first factors to observe is your loved one’s hygiene. If they appear to be unwashed, wearing dirty clothes, bearing body odor, or showing other signs of neglect, abuse may be taking place. Sudden weight loss can also indicate abuse or neglect. Some facilities have been exposed for depriving residents of proper nutrition as a form of abuse or control.

A sudden deterioration in a resident’s mobility and ability to function may also indicate abuse, especially if your loved one requires physical therapy or other medical attention to remain mobile and healthy. Bedsores and bruises are clear indicators that abuse may be taking place. Finally, any sudden changes in your loved one’s behavior or demeanor may be indications that they are not receiving appropriate care. If they shy away when you attempt to touch them, no longer want to engage in the same activities that they used to enjoy, avoid visitors, or refuse to communicate, it is critical to determine the reasons behind these changes.

If you determine that your loved one was a victim of abusive or neglectful conduct while a resident at a nursing home, you can bring a negligence action against that facility to recover compensation for your loved one’s injuries and your emotional suffering. In the lawsuit, a personal injury lawyer will need to show that the facility failed to provide adequate care and attention to your loved one and that this caused them to suffer injuries.

Florida has provided broad rights and protections for nursing home residents. These rights include the right to private communications, the right to file grievances about nursing home staff members and conditions, the right to refuse medication or treatment and to be informed of the consequences, and the right to receive appropriate and timely medical attention. The laws also give nursing home residents the right to a dignified life in a facility that is comfortable and homelike. If the nursing home fails to provide any of these rights, the nursing home has engaged in negligent care. This is something a personal injury lawyer can help with.

Once you have established liability and causation, you will need to offer evidence showing the financial damages and injuries that your loved one and you suffered as a result of the negligent care. This can include medical expenses as well as pain and suffering. If you can show that the nursing home staff engaged in intentionally abusive and malicious conduct, you can seek punitive damages, which are designed to punish a defendant for egregious conduct.