Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer Serving Boca Raton
When our loved ones approach their senior years they may require extra care, and after consideration, we may place them in a nursing home facility. In doing so, we expect that the staff members to treat them properly and with the dignity that they deserve. However, this is not always the case. Unfortunately, there are cases in which the nursing home staff neglects the needs of those individuals in their care. This can give rise to nursing home abuse or neglect cases in Boca Raton or anywhere in Florida.
Nursing home negligence is somewhat similar to nursing home abuse, but there are some key differences. Nursing home neglect is a situation in which the nursing home staff is providing a substandard level of care that has become harmful to the elderly resident(s). If you feel that you or a loved one has become the victim of nursing home staff negligence, then you should seek a free initial consultation with a personal injury attorney to help assess your options.
With nursing home abuse, the implication is that the staff of that nursing home is purposefully trying to harm the elderly person in their care. This may be for a number of different reasons ranging from sadistic behavior to job dissatisfaction. If you suspect that this is the case, then you need to immediately seek the advice of a nursing home personal injury lawyer.
When it comes to the various types of nursing home neglect in Boca Raton, one needs to take the individual circumstances into consideration. However, in general, there are four basic types of neglect that can occur in nursing facilities which may constitute grounds for nursing home negligence claims.
Emotional / and Social Neglect – This happens when the nursing home resident is left alone for extended periods of time to the point where it can become harmful, since it may lead to chronic depression or lack of mental stimulation. It also includes situations in which potentially stressed-out staff members regularly yell at the resident.
Personal Hygiene Neglect – this occurs when staff members ignore their responsibilities to assist a resident when it comes to maintain standard hygiene practices (dental brushing, bathing, laundry and other forms of personal cleanliness).
Neglecting Basic Needs – This is where a nursing facility fails to provide adequate food, water and a safe/clean living environment.
Medical Needs Neglect – This is a situation in which the nursing facility has failed to adequately see to current medical concerns or prevent harm that can be caused by future medical issues. These include; bedsores, lacerations, mobility problems, cognitive problems, infections, diabetes, etc.
Florida is a relatively popular place for retirement, due to its climate and attention to senior citizen needs and concerns. As such, there are also a number of nursing home facilities located in this state. Because of this, Florida pays particular attention to its nursing facility standards. There are several nursing home statutes designed to regulate the care and services of nursing home residents.
One of the most important nursing home facility legal standards, in Florida, has to do with the nursing home residents basic rights under Florida statute 400.022. These include:
The responsibilities and rights of the nursing home residents need to be adopted and made public. As such, the employees of the facility are required to adhere to these provisions and treat the residents accordingly. (1).
Residents have the right to religious and civil liberties. In addition, residents have the right to personal decisions in keeping with the available choices and these choices will not be infringed upon. The facility staff is also obligated to assist the residents when it comes to the exercise of these choices. (1 a).
Residents have the right to engage in personal communication in the form of unopened mail along with access to a telephone along with visitations of the resident’s choice (during established visiting hours). The residents also have the right to have overnight visitations, outside the facility. These visitations may be with family and friends, in accordance with the policies of the facility, Title XVIII (Medicare) and Title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act regulations and the resident’s physician. When these occur, the resident won’t be subject to the loss of their bed in the facility. (1 b).
The resident has the right to reasonable access to any individual or entity that provides the resident legal, social or health services. This includes (but not limited to; representatives of the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Administration, the Office of the Attorney General, and the Department of Elderly Affairs; any law enforcement officer; any representative of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program; and the resident’s personal physician). These may be for the purposes of nursing home negligence complaints (1 c).
The resident also has the right to present nursing home negligence complaints on either their behalf or on behalf of others in the facility. They also have the right to work together with other residents in order to obtain improvements within their nursing home facility. (1 d).
Residents also have the right to review facility inspection results along with any plans that are being put into place to correct any problematic findings. The accounting system established and maintained by the facility must preclude any commingling of resident funds with facility funds or with the funds of any person other than another resident. (1 g).
Residents also have the right to refuse treatment or medication. They also have the right to be informed of the consequences of such refusals. This statute is not valid if the resident has been determined to be unable to give informed consent in accordance with state law. (1 k).
The resident has the right to receive appropriate and adequate healthcare along with the support of the facility support services that include; social services; mental health services, if available; planned recreational activities; and therapeutic and rehabilitative services consistent with the resident care plan, with established and recognized practice standards within the community, and with rules as adopted by the agency.
The resident’s medical and personal records shall be confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1).
Residents have the right to be treated fairly, courteously and with dignity. This includes receiving written and/or oral explanations of the types of services that are either being provided or are available to them. (1 n).
The use of emergency restraints may only be provided by a licensed nurse. In addition, corporal punishment, physical, chemical restraints and mental abuse is forbidden, except in cases in which chemical restraint has been authorized (in writing) by a physician. Chemical restraints are only to be allowed temporarily or during the emergency. Afterwards, a physician must be consulted immediately afterwards. In addition, restraints are not to be used in place of staff member monitoring. (1 o).
Anyone who submits a negligence complaint involving a nursing home, regarding a suspected facility violation, in Boca Raton, or who presents testimony regarding these violations will usually be subject to immunity from criminal and civil liability. This is true, unless the individual has acted in bad faith or in a manner that is considered to be completely unfounded or malicious.
There are a number of signs that someone is being neglected in a nursing home. However, many signs of negligence can be relatively subtle. Also, some of the types of neglect may even be nearly undetectable, due to the nature of the neglect. This is because some forms of neglect may not demonstrate any obvious physical evidence.
Another factor can involve the proximity of the nursing care facility to the resident’s loved ones. This can keep loved ones from detecting any changes in those who are residing in a facility. Elderly patients, who may not be able to regularly connect with friends and family members by telephone, writing or Internet may not have the means to express any of their concerns.
However, if there is an opportunity to observe the condition and surroundings of a loved one in a nursing facility, there are some signs that may indicate the possibility of potential neglect. These may include:
Obvious hazards such as; poor lighting, slippery floors, walkers and wheelchairs that are unsafe and unsafe furniture that sits in the resident’s room
A visible change in the quality of the resident’s personal hygiene
Being reluctant to exchange friendly greetings and other interactions with the facility’s staff members
Obvious and abnormal changes in the resident’s behavior. Especially being withdrawn
Evidence of dehydration that may result from a lack of available water
Injuries that have been reported from the results from falls or similar injuries that have not been reported at all
The appearance of bed sores or pressure sores that could have resulted from not being properly turned over regularly
Sudden loss of weight – especially in cases in which the resident needs assistance with their feeding
Frequent infections that may result from a lack of a proper diet.
Those who reside in a nursing home are at a much greater risk of chronic and severe illnesses and injuries that may even lead to death. The elderly patient tends to need greater monitoring in order to ensure that they receive the proper nutrition that will help them to remain healthy.
It should also be understood that many types of neglect may not be reported to Ombudsmen or other necessary authorities. These can lead to tragic situations such as resident strangulation from a bed that is malfunctioning or a lethal fall sustained by a patient attempting to perform personal hygiene tasks when they are being neglected by the facility staff members.
The nursing facility staff needs to take extra care when caring for their residents and to make sure that any living condition problems are properly addressed. Examples of these may include the resolution of sanitary and safety concerns and having the staff make sure that the resident’s mattress is flush with their guardrails so they won’t suffocate by falling in between the mattress and the railings. In addition, the staff members should be on the lookout for changes in the resident’s mental clarity and mobility.
All-in-all, it takes a team effort from a nursing facility staff in Boca Raton, when it comes to taking the proper steps for the care of nursing home residents. But this isn’t always the case. Unfortunately, this is demonstrated by research statistics that show those nursing facility residents, who are regularly visited by family and friends are the ones who are the least likely show evidence of neglect.
Therefore, when friends and family have the opportunity to visit loved ones who reside in a nursing home, they should take extra care when it comes to observations regarding the living conditions and the resident’s physical and mental condition. It’s a sad fact that many nursing facilities are understaffed and that can lead to cases regarding resident neglect.
When you or a loved one has been a victim of nursing home negligence in Boca Raton, it’s important to consult with a personal injury attorney, in order to try to receive the best care and compensation that may be rightfully deserved. Therefore, if a loved one is involved in a Boca Raton nursing home negligence or abuse situation, seek immediate proper care and contact a Florida personal injury attorney.
Discuss Your Case with a Nursing Home Negligence Personal Injury Attorney Serving Palm Beach Today! If you or a loved one has been injured in a nursing home in Boca Raton, turn to Frankl Kominsky for comprehensive legal guidance. Call (561) 800-8000 or use our Contact Form to set up a free consultation.