Articles Posted in Elderly Neglect or Abuse

There are many nursing homes in the state of Florida and throughout the United States that provide excellent care to the elderly, but there are also many other facilities that do not properly care for elderly residents in their care. Our seniors deserve to be cared for properly and with respect and dignity, but sadly this is not always the case.

Seniors who are neglected or abused can suffer from serious injuries or even wrongful death. Our Pasco County Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are here to help advocate on behalf of any nursing home residents who are being mistreated. We know that placing your loved one in a nursing home can be a difficult decision as well as a strain on your finances. These facilities are costly and you likely did your due diligence to find the best facility that fits into your budget. Finding out that your loved one was harmed in a nursing home can be absolutely devastating.

wrist-watch-ga9fedbe05_1920-1-300x125Top 5 Nursing Home Injuries

  1. Falls: There are roughly 1.6 million residents in nursing homes throughout the country and nearly half of these residents suffer from a fall every year. Of those, about one in three falls more than once a year. One in 10 elders suffer serious injuries after a fall. How do you know if negligence resulted in a fall at a nursing home? Look for signs of unsafe equipment, understaffing, and environmental hazards.
  1. Pressure ulcers or Bedsores: These happen when a nursing home resident stays in the same position for too long placing increased pressure on the skin. These wound usually develop on the heels, ankles, tailbones, and hips. Residents who cannot move on their own must be turned over and shifted consistently to reduce any pressure that could lead to bedsores. If your loved one has developed bedsores, then this is usually a sign of negligence due to overworked and understaffed facilities.
  2. Infections: There are about 400,000 nursing home residents who die every year due to developing an infection. Nursing home staff should be aware of their residents’ conditions and do everything they can to protect their residents from infections. The most common infections residents of nursing homes can suffer from include:
  • COVID-19
  • Flu
  • Pneumonia
  • Respiratory infections
  • Soft tissue infections
  • Skin infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  1. Medication Mistakes: Many nursing home residents need multiple medications daily. A good amount of nursing homes have at least 100 residents, so mix-ups and mistakes can happen easily, but when they do, it can be deadly. Negligent facilities must be held accountable for their reckless and careless actions when seniors in their care suffer as a result.
  2. Broken Bones and Fractures: Aging causes bones to weaken and become more brittle. They elderly are at heightened risk for hip and neck fractures. In fact, around 300,000 seniors are hospitalized every year for hip fractures – most of which are women. Many residents of nursing homes are there because they can no longer care for themselves independently, but when nursing home staff do not properly assist their residents, then injuries leading to broken bones and fractures can easily occur.

Our Pasco County Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence Lawyers at Whittel & Melton Can Help Continue reading

The state of Florida takes any suspicions of elderly abuse quite seriously. In fact, it is mandatory for anyone that has reason to believe an elderly person is being abused, neglected or exploited to report this behavior to the proper authorities. This prompts the question: How do I report any instances of elderly abuse? Our Pasco County Nursing Home and ALF Elder Neglect and Abuse Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are here to provide you with the information you need to keep our elderly citizens safe. 

What Are The Signs of Elderly Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation? 

Physical abuse or neglect is usually the result of some type of violence that results in injuries to the victim like bruises, burns, abrasions, pressure marks, broken bones, etc. Usually these injuries cannot be explained and happen rather frequently. 

The elderly are often vulnerable to emotional abuse by a caretaker, and warning signs could be sudden changes in mood or alertness, unusual depression, arguments that happen frequently or any noticeably strained or tense relationships between the older person and their caretaker, etc. 

The elderly are also targets for financial exploitation, so if you notice any sudden financial changes to their situation then financial abuse could be the culprit. Warning signs include missing cash or checkbooks, sudden will changes that could be forged, other financial documents being changed or possibly forged, missing valuables, expensive gifts or money being given to caretakers, etc. 

Another form of abuse commonly inflicted upon elderly victims is emotional or verbal abuse. If you have seen an elderly victim threatened or belittled by their caretaker, or witnessed any other similar actions, then you should report these actions right away. 

A neglected elderly person is also a victim of abuse. If an elderly person’s medical needs are not being met, if they are not being provided proper shelter, clothing, water, food, etc. this constitutes neglect. If you hear an elderly person complain of being hungry or thirsty, not having medical supplies or medications they need, poor hygiene, bedsores, unusual weight loss, etc. then you need to report the neglect as soon as possible. 

hands-981400_1920-300x200What To Do If You Suspect Elderly Abuse, Neglect or Exploitation

There are many different agencies that handle cases of elderly abuse, neglect and exploitation, so it can be confusing as to who you should contact. However, as with any emergency situation, if an elderly person’s life or safety is in immediate danger you should always call 911 first to make sure they are removed from a dangerous and life threatening situation right away. 

If you have witnessed any elderly abuse, neglect or exploitation of a senior citizen or even if you think an elderly person might be a victim of abuse, you should call the Florida Abuse Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873) to make sure your concerns are voiced. You will be asked to press 2 if you suspect any abuse or neglect is happening to an elderly person. Online reports can be made as well by clicking here. The TDD (Telephone Device for the Deaf) is 1-800-453-5145. You can also fax in a report at 1-800-914-0004. You will want to include your name and contact information with your detailed report so that you can be reached for any follow up questions. 

What Happens When I Make A Report of Elderly Abuse, Neglect or Exploitation? 

However you choose to make your report about what you have witnessed or suspect is happening just be prepared to give as much detail as possible. You will need to have the victim’s full name and contact information. You will likely be asked about the victim’s current situation, such as their medical needs, family members, and of course further details about what you have seen happening or suspect is happening (fighting, unexplained injuries, medical needs not being met, hitting, etc.) 

You will be asked to give your name and contact information, but keep in mind that if you wish to remain anonymous the state of Florida will still take your report and investigate accordingly. 

If the abuse, neglect or exploitation is happening at a nursing home or assisted living facility, then your complaints will be handled by a state Long Term Care (LTC) Ombudsman. Annette Perry is the District Ombudsman Manager for Pasco County as well as Pinellas County. Her contact information is: 

Annette Perry, West Coast District Ombudsman Manager

11351 Ulmerton Road, Suite 303

Largo, FL 33778

Phone: (727) 588-6912

Fax: 727 (588) 3648

What Do I Do After I Make A Report of Elderly Abuse, Neglect or Exploitation?  Continue reading

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