Making the decision to move your loved one to a nursing home is often difficult. This is often why families spend so much time and energy to look for a care facility that treats its residents with care, compassion, and respect.
Unfortunately, nursing home residents are frequently subject to neglectful and abusive behavior at the hands of staff. If you suspect your loved one was mistreated in a nursing home, a seasoned Pinellas County nursing home abuse lawyer might be able to help. By retaining a well-versed attorney, you could work to hold the care facility staff accountable and pursue compensation for your loved one’s losses.
Resident Rights in Pinellas County
Under the Florida Statutes Chapter 400, residents must be provided certain rights and responsibilities while in a nursing facility, some of which are specifically intended to protect them from mistreatment. These include, but are not limited to:
- The right to receive adequate and appropriate health care and support services
- The right to have privacy in treatment and in caring for their personal needs
- The right to be treated courteously and with dignity
- The right to be free from mental and physical abuse, corporal punishment, and unauthorized restraints
- The right to present grievances without reprisal
Furthermore, nursing homes must inform residents of these rights before admission. This must include a statement that they can file a complaint, along with the email and phone number of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. This program is designed to investigate complaints made by, or on behalf of, residents about the quality of their life and care.
How is Abuse Defined in Nursing Homes?
Despite the protections in place, many residents are still victims of mistreatment and abuse in nursing facilities. Often, inappropriate behavior is a result of staffing pressures, stress, or inadequate training, which can cause caregivers to engage in a variety of abusive behavior. These include, but are not limited to:
- Physical abuse—any action that results in pain or injuries, sexual abuse, or inattention to medical needs and medical errors
- Financial abuse—including the misappropriation of personal funds and the improper use of property
- Emotional abuse—yelling, taunting or belittling, as well as any infliction of distress through non-verbal actions
Unfortunately, a resident who is the subject of abuse might not speak up about their maltreatment. Because of this, hiring a well-versed Pinellas County nursing home abuse lawyer might be essential to investigate a resident’s treatment.
How Can Abuse be Recognized?
While a family member may not actually witness abuse when it occurs, there are often tell-tale signs to look for. These may be:
- Weight loss
- Bruising or more severe injuries
- Dirty clothes or appearance
- Withdrawal, agitation or depression
- Unexplained banking activities
Retain a Pinellas County Nursing Home Abuse Attorney for Help
If you suspect your loved one is the subject of abuse, mistreatment, or malicious behavior while under the care of a nursing facility, you might be traumatized and unsure of how to proceed. However, by consulting a Pinellas County nursing home lawyer, you could have help to understand your legal options and decide how to proceed.
With a skilled attorney on your side, you could work to hold the negligent parties accountable. To discuss your options further, call a legal professional today.