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Abuse And Neglect In Nursing Homes

With so many people moving to sunny Florida after they retire, Florida has the highest number of elderly people of any state in the United States. In fact 17.6% of the population of Florida, or 2,808,000 people, are elderly. Of these people 73,000 of them live in the 683 registered nursing homes. As the years progress, many more of Florida’s elderly population will seek residence in these care facilities. While others may elect for short term stays while recovering from an illness or surgery. Meaning many of Florida’s large elderly population will live in a nursing home at some point.

Nursing Home Elder Abuse And Neglect By The Numbers

We trust these care facilities to provide the best quality of care for our seniors. Unfortunately, elder abuse and neglect is a very serious issue in nursing homes. A national study showed that 44% of residents in nursing homes have experienced abuse, while a shocking 95% of residents have experienced or witnessed neglect. These statistics are even more upsetting when coupled with the pain and suffering of abuse and neglect with the fact that these seniors are 300% more likely to die than those who have not experienced neglect or abuse. Nursing home elder abuse and neglect is such a widespread problem that it cost $5.3 billion dollars in healthcare costs every year nationwide.

What Qualifies As Elder Neglect

Elder neglect is when the staff of the nursing home neglects the physical, medical, and emotional needs of the residents. Types of neglect include:

● Not providing adequate food or fluids to the residents
● Administering medications incorrectly or not at all
● Failing to provide proper medical care
● Leaving the residents unsupervised
● Not assisting residents with hygiene
● Leaving physically disabled patients in bed all day

Since it does not have the same physical markings of abuse, neglect is a difficult thing to spot. This is especially true with nonverbal or senile patients because they cannot directly report the problems. So it is important to understand the signs of elder neglect:

● Unexplained, rapid weight loss
● Signs of dehydration
● Sudden increase in symptoms of illnesses
● Lack of hygiene
● Dirty, unkempt facilities
● Bed sores
● Noncommunicative staff

What Qualifies As Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is when the patients have been physically, mentally, or verbally abuse by the staff at the nursing home. Types of elder abuse include:

● Assault and battery
● Sexual assault
● Injuries from neglect
● The use of physical restraints
● Starving or force feeding
● Over or under medicating
● Isolation
● Threats, verbal degradation, or verbal attacks

Elder abuse is easier to spot because the signs are more apparent. However, since patients are usually living under the threat of the staff, they may deny the abuse. It is really important to know the signs of elder abuse, so that it can be stopped. Some signs include:

● Fear or confusion
● Sudden memory loss
● Physical wounds including bruises, cuts, and scrapes
● Infections
● Jaundice
● Weight loss or dehydration
● Labored or difficult breathing
● The presence of restraints
● Depression, anxiety, or suicidal ideations
● Seizures

What To Do If You Suspect Elder Abuse Or Neglect

If you believe that your loved one is experiencing elder abuse or neglect in their nursing home, you need to take action right away. If the threat is immediate, you need to remove your loved one from the home as quickly as possible. Call 911 or the police and report the issue. The most important thing is you get your loved one out of harm’s way. If the threat is not immediate or you are just suspicious there may be neglect or abuse, report your concerns with:

● Florida’s Abuse, Neglect or Exploitation Hotline at 1-800-962-2873
● Florida’s Adult Protective Services at 1-850-488-8922

Most cases of elder abuse and neglect will be handled by the criminal courts, but if your loved one have been affected, it is important to get a lawyer. Though money will never make up for the terrible ordeal they’ve experienced, there are long term costs associated with neglect and abuse and the perpetrators of these crimes need to be held accountable for those costs. So talk to a personal injury lawyer to make sure that you loved ones see justice.