What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse in Orlando
If you have a loved one in a nursing home or long-term care facility, you undoubtedly worry about the care they are receiving given the fact that stories of nursing home abuse and neglect seem to dominate news headlines. What happens if those fears appear to become a reality? The nursing home abuse attorneys at Warner & Warner explain what to do if you suspect nursing home abuse in Orlando.
Nursing Home Abuse Prevalence
While there are nursing homes that provide exceptional care to the residents, there are also those that blatantly allow abuse and neglect to occur. A primary obstacle to determining the prevalence of nursing home abuse is that victims frequently fail to speak up. They often remain quiet because they are ashamed or embarrassed to be a victim, allowing perpetrators to continue the abuse. This tendency to keep quiet, in turn, makes them even more vulnerable to abuse. Fear is another motivation for keeping quiet. When a nursing home resident is dependent on the abuser for everything from medical care to personal hygiene, that provides a strong incentive to remain quiet.
Experts conservatively estimate that one in ten nursing home residents experiences some form of abuse each year, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. One study reported the rates of various types of abuse as follows:
- Psychological 11.6%
- Physical 2.6%
- Financial 6.8 %
- Neglect 4.2 %
- Sexual 0.9%
Steps to Take If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
Because the victims of nursing home abuse frequently fail to report that abuse, it is often up to loved ones to spot the signs and act on their behalf. If you suspect that a loved one is being abused in a nursing home, take the following steps:
- Try to talk to your loved one about the abuse. Knowing that your loved one may not speak up about the abuse, you may need to try and broach the subject with them yourself. It will not be an easy conversation; however, it is a necessary one. Explain that nursing home abuse occurs far more often than it should and that your goal is to protect your loved one if abuse has occurred. Unfortunately, many nursing home residents suffer from dementia or other incapacitating conditions that make it difficult, if not impossible, to discuss your concerns. In that case, try to talk to other residents or simply move on to the other steps.
- Attempt to document the abuse. Showing up at the facility on unexpected days or at irregular times can be a good way to confirm your suspicions that your loved one is being abused. Take pictures of bruises or injuries that you believe indicate abuse. Obtain copies of medical or financial records that support your suspicions.
- Meet with the supervisors and/or administrators. If the abuse is rampant within the facility, reporting it to supervisors and/or administrators will likely not accomplish anything; however, it is certainly worth a try. It is also important to put the facility on notice that you suspect abuse. In some cases, the administration is genuinely unaware of the situation and will remedy it once it has been reported.
- Contact law enforcement authorities. Abuse of the elderly can be a criminal offense in the State of Florida. If you believe your loved one is being abused at a nursing home, report those suspicions to the applicable law enforcement authority immediately.
- Consult with a nursing home abuse attorney. Although nursing home abuse can be a crime, it can also provide the basis for a civil lawsuit. The reality is that law enforcement agencies do not always take nursing home abuse as seriously as they should and, therefore, fail to conduct a thorough investigation. Even if they investigate, they may not follow through with criminal charges. Both the individuals involved and the nursing home itself, however, could be held liable in a civil lawsuit.
When to Contact an Orlando Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If your parent or other loved one is a resident of a nursing home, you are counting on that facility to provide exceptional care and to treat your loved one with kindness and compassion. If your loved one is victimized instead, the responsible party (or parties) must be held accountable for that abuse.
The sad reality is that nursing home abuse in Orlando does happen. An Orlando nursing home abuse attorney at Warner & Warner will fight for the most vulnerable victims, including those who are abused in a nursing home. We will aggressively advocate and litigate for victims of nursing home abuse. Our goal is to ensure that the perpetrators and enablers of the abuse are found liable and that the victim is compensated for the physical injuries and emotional trauma caused by that abuse.
Our nursing home abuse attorneys at Warner & Warner have the specialized experience and knowledge required to successfully prove and litigate cases involving abuse. This type of experience is rare, and these cases are especially important to us. In our past cases, we have worked closely with law enforcement and criminal prosecutors to help prove our case and punish abusers. Call us at 321-972-1889 or contact us online to schedule a free case review.