Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
The Villages Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
If you or a loved one has suffered nursing home neglect or abuse, contact Babiarz Law Firm, P.A. for a free consultation regarding your potential case with experienced nursing home abuse lawyers in The Villages.
Nursing home abuse can come in many forms, including neglect resulting in bed sores, falls resulting in fractures or head injuries, malnutrition, dehydration, severe illnesses and/or infection; or even death. Prescription errors and failure to render adequate medical care can also cause devastating consequences. Tragically, Elder abuse can also take the form of physical, verbal; or sexual abuse.
Babiarz Law Firm, P.A. handles cases in the Tri-County area, Sumter, Lake and Marion Counties, as well as all counties throughout Central Florida. We are conveniently located in The Villages®, Florida. Additionally, we can also come to you if it is more convenient -- we offer free hospital and home visits. Call us at (352) 205-7599 or contact our law firm online today for a free consultation with The Villages Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Tim Babiarz.
Breaking Down Nursing Home Negligence in The Villages
Making the decision to put a loved one in a nursing home facility can be difficult for everyone involved, and that’s not considering one’s general concerns about whether he or she will be neglected or even abused.
Nursing home negligence happens when facility operators and their staff do not live up to their legal responsibilities to residents. Some of the most common types of negligence that our Villages nursing home abuse lawyers see include:
- Failing to provide sufficient food and water
- Leaving residents unattended for long periods of time
- Forgetting or refusing to administer medication
- Improperly administering medication
- Failing to change bed sheets, clean rooms, address physical safety hazards
- Refusing or neglecting to help residents use the bathroom or clean up when bodily function accidents happen
- Refusing to provide regular baths
- Ignoring residents’ complaints
- Failing to report residents’ injuries or illnesses
- Negligent security and inadequate safety precautions
Florida nursing home operators and their employees owe residents a “duty of care” under state law. They are obligated to take reasonable measures to protect residents from injury and death. That means ensuring that they receive certain basic care, that there are precautions taken against slip and fall accidents and making sure that residents are not unreasonably restrained, among other requirements.
When nursing homes and staff do not live up to these requirements, they are likely to be found negligent and legally responsible for any injuries that happen as a result. Our Villages nursing home abuse lawyers have significant experience holding nursing homes accountable for their actions.
Claims Handled by The Villages Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers at Our Firm
Negligence is not the only concern for nursing home residents and their families. Sadly, cases of active nursing home abuse are all too common across Florida.
Nursing home abuse generally happens when home operators and their staff take physical, mental and emotional advantage of residents. It can occur in a variety of ways, from physically harming a resident to taking control of a resident’s finances through threats and manipulation.
Confinement and Restraint
Certain types of restraints can be necessary safety measures when used properly and in very limited circumstances in nursing homes. The problem is that sometimes nursing home staff use restraints to make their lives easier rather than to protect residents.
Nursing homes often confine residents in their rooms or restrain residents in their beds when the facilities are understaffed or their employees are poorly trained. They then typically justify the moves as needed to prevent residents from wandering the property unattended or rolling out of their beds.
The fact is that confinement and restraint can cause serious mental, emotional and physical harm. Using such measures is often a violation of the duty of care that nursing homes owe to their residents.
Signs of confinement and restraint can be hard to notice, especially for the loved ones of nursing home residents with dementia and other related conditions. If you suspect that your family member is being confined or restrained, a Villages nursing home abuse lawyer at our firm can help you get to the bottom of it and take action.
It is hard to fathom what would motivate a person to take sexual advantage of a nursing home resident. Yet, this kind of abuse can and does happen at nursing homes in Florida and across the country.
Sexual abuse in nursing homes encompasses a wide range of behavior, from inappropriate touching to rape. That includes some forms of sexual abuse that may be lesser-known, like forced nudity or photographing or recording residents in a state of undress.
Sexual abuse can be perpetrated by a nursing home staff member or a fellow resident. When a home employee is the abuser, the facility is liable as the person’s employer. However, when the abuse comes from another resident, the facility is often legally responsible for failing to take adequate steps to prevent the abuse in the first place or to stop it from happening again in the future.
Psychological and Emotional Abuse of the Elderly
This kind of abuse is common in nursing homes because of the sad fact that many residents are vulnerable targets.
Typical forms of psychological and emotional abuse include:
- Physical and verbal intimidation
- Yelling and threats
- Insults, belittling and demeaning comments or behavior
- Isolation from other residents or loved ones
- Ignoring residents’ requests or needs
Victims of this kind of abuse often experience new stress, illness, anxiety, depression or irritability. In many situations, however, psychological and emotional abuse may go unnoticed.
Financial abuse happens in nursing homes when staff members steal or commit fraud against residents, diverting their money or property for the nursing home employee’s own gain.
In the most extreme cases, a nursing home employee may even coerce or trick a resident into turning over control of their finances to the employee or another person.
Common signs of financial abuse include:
- Strange and inexplicable withdrawals from bank accounts
- Sudden drops in credit scores or financial conditions
- A noticeable change in spending habits
- Missing valuable items
- Unpaid bills
Like other forms of nursing home abuse, the sooner you take action, the better. Villages nursing home abuse lawyer Tim Babiarz can help you fight back against financial and other abuse in nursing homes and other assisted living facilities.
Many nursing homes are run on shoestring budgets, with operators looking to cut costs any chance they get. Often, that means understaffing facilities.
Abandonment comes in various forms, from actually leaving a nursing home resident isolated and alone to neglecting to provide residents with the basic care and services that they need. When nursing homes do not have adequate staffing levels, it may result in residents missing required medications, not getting moved in a timely fashion to avoid bed sores or missing out on help with eating, drinking, bathing and using the bathroom.
Nursing homes that are not kept up not only become dirty and unsanitary -- they also become dangerous. Poor conditions are a recipe for disaster that can bolster the transmission of infection and disease.
Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
As The Villages nursing home abuse lawyers at our firm know all too well, abuse against the elderly often involves physical abuse, such as hitting, burning, pushing, kicking, scratching, or otherwise causing physical harm. This type of abuse can be identified by unexplained cuts and bruises, broken bones, broken glasses or torn clothing, burn marks, and other physical signs of abuse. When seniors show signs of fear around a particular caregiver, this could also be a sign of physical abuse.
Emotional abuse is another common type of abuse, but it is more difficult to identify when this wrongful behavior is occurring. If a senior experiences mood changes, depression, or a loss of interest in activities and hobbies, this could be an indicator that emotional abuse is occurring. Emotional abusers may take steps to isolate seniors and cut them off from sources of help, so this is something else to watch for.
Chemical restraint is another form of abuse that is common in nursing homes. If a senior is given antipsychotic medications to make the senior docile and easier to care for, this is an indicator of chemical abuse. It can be dangerous, as antipsychotic medications can interact poorly with other drugs seniors may be taking for health conditions.
Sexual abuse also occurs among seniors, more commonly than many would believe. A diagnosis of an STD, missing clothing, or redness around the genital areas is an indicator that this type of abuse is happening.
Finally, neglect can be considered a form of abuse as well. If a senior is dehydrated, malnourished, has bed sores, is not being provided medication, or is not having basic hygiene needs met, these are red flags of neglect.
Abuse victims and their families should also consult with an experienced attorney to get help taking legal action to hold abusers accountable. The Villages nursing home abuse lawyers at Babiarz Law Firm can help you to pursue a claim against caregivers, nursing homes, and others responsible for causing harm.
Bed Sores: A Common Case for The Villages Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
Bed sores and pressure sores -- also known as decubitus ulcers -- are among the most-common injuries suffered in nursing homes. Resulting from prolonged periods of immobility and other factors, bed sores can also be extremely dangerous, with severe ulcers requiring surgery and having the potential to lead to fatal complications.
With appropriate care, bed sores are preventable. In fact, in nursing homes, bed sores should not happen. If you or a senior loved one living in a nursing home appears to have a pressure ulcer, you should seek medical attention promptly, and we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation about your legal rights with our qualified nursing home abuse lawyers.
Signs and Symptoms of Decubitus Ulcers (Bed Sores)
Bed sores and pressure ulcers are classified in stages – Stage I through Stage IV. Each stage is characterized by progressively-worsening symptoms, and seeking treatment as soon as possible can be critical to minimizing the painful and damaging effects of these nursing home injuries. Unfortunately, in many cases seniors living in nursing homes are unable to get the treatment they need quickly, and family members will often be unaware that their loved ones are suffering without the help they need from their caregivers. Nursing home staff who are to blame for residents’ bed sores may also attempt to hide the symptoms, and may even tell residents not to seek outside help.
The signs and symptoms of pressure ulcers typically include:
- Stage I – A red, purple or blue patch of skin that does not turn white when pressed; tenderness or itching at the injury site; skin that feels warm, cold or firm.
- Stage II – An open sore or abrasion on the surface of the skin; minor swelling; continued discoloration; oozing.
- Stage III – A crater-like injury that extends below the surface of the skin; yellowing of the skin tissue; pain and discoloration extending beyond the initial injury site.
- Stage IV – Deepening of the injury to the muscle, bone, tendon or joint below the skin; exposed muscle or bone; dry or dead skin tissue.
How The Villages Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers at Our Firm Help Victims of Neglect and Abuse
At the Babiarz Law Firm, PA, we bring more than 20 years’ experience to helping seniors who are suffering due to nursing home neglect and abuse. When you contact us for help:
- We can provide referrals to trusted physicians in The Villages or Central Florida’s other retirement communities.
- We can help get you or your loved one out of an abusive nursing home.
- We can provide you with information about other nursing homes and various long-term care alternatives.
- We can help you seek financial compensation for you or your loved one’s medical expenses, pain and suffering; and other losses.
Our services always begin with a free, no-obligation consultation, and we do not charge any legal fees unless we secure a financial recovery. To speak with attorney Tim Babiarz in confidence, please call (352) 205-7599 or send us your contact information online today. Located in The Villages, we help seniors injured in nursing homes throughout Central Florida.
Elder Care Resources in Florida:
- Department of Elder Affairs http://elderaffairs.state.fl.us/
- On Guard for Seniors www.myflorida.CFO.com/onguard
- Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, Inc. www.CLSMF.org/
- Marion County Health Department www.MCHD.com/www.doh.state.fl.us/chdmarion/indes.htm/
- Marion County Senior Services www.mcseniorservices.org
- Elder Care Locator www.eldercare.gov