Nursing home abuse and neglect is, sadly, a common issue that affects thousands of families. Whether the abuse takes the form of physical, medical neglect, emotional or financial abuse, choose a dedicated Miami nursing home abuse attorney like Elstein Legal.
Miami Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
When you place a loved one in the care of a nursing home in Miami, you’d like to believe you can trust the staff to keep them as healthy and free from harm as possible. That sadly isn’t always what happens. Some Miami nursing home residents are the victims of abuse and neglect.
This can take many forms depending on the circumstances. Regardless, if your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse in the Miami area, you’ll naturally want to pursue compensation from the liable parties. Doing so requires choosing a Miami elder abuse attorney you can trust to offer strong representation.
That’s exactly what you’ll find at Elstein Legal. Through his personal injury law firm in Miami, attorney Brian L. Elstein passionately advocates for his clients. He’ll work with you closely to ensure justice is served.
Miami, Florida Nursing Home Abuse: What You Need to Know
Nursing home abuse in Miami is unfortunately a more common problem than many realize. Every year, thousands of people report complaints of it. Despite this, these complaints may only represent the tip of the iceberg, as studies often indicate the majority of elder abuse incidents are most likely never reported.
Nursing Home Reform Act
It’s also important to understand that nursing home abuse and neglect in the Miami area doesn’t need to involve direct physical violence. Although that is certainly a type of nursing home abuse, abuse and neglect may also be occurring whenever a resident is in some way being deprived of the basic rights guaranteed to residents under the Nursing Home Reform Act. These rights include:
- Adequate services to meet their needs (physical, psychosocial, and mental)
- Free communication with others, both in the nursing home and outside of it
- Treatment consistent with respect and dignity
- Freedom from mistreatment of any kind
- Freedom to make one’s own decisions
- Freedom to make complaints without reason to fear retaliation
- Freedom from physical restraints
- Freedom to participate in groups that may involve families, communities, and other residents
- Freedom to be informed of and participate in their own care plan
Keep in mind, the Nursing Home Reform Act is just one example of a regulation designed to protect residents of nursing homes and similar elder care facilities. Other acts and laws (both federal and state) have also been passed to this effect. Luckily, at Elstein Legal, your case will be handled by a top nursing home abuse law firm in Miami, FL where the attorney is familiar with these regulations, and understands how they may apply to your case.
Types of Elder Abuse
We know that nursing home abuse in Miami and beyond can take a range of forms. They may include the following:
- Physical abuse: Hitting, inappropriate sexual contact, improper use of restraints, and forced medical care after a refusal are all examples of physical abuse that may occur at a nursing home.
- Neglect: It’s not always the case that a nursing home employee is actively abusing a resident. Sometimes the abuse can take the form of neglect. Specific examples of this include overlooking a resident’s nutrition needs, not taking steps to guard against preventable illness, failing to provide needed care, neglecting a resident’s mental health needs, and generally not doing what’s necessary to keep a resident safe.
- Isolation: Virtually everyone’s mental and emotional health requires some degree of contact with others. Unfortunately, sometimes a nursing home employee (or employees) may deny residents this contact by, for example, withholding their mail, not allowing them to make or receive phone calls, or not allowing them to see visitors.
- Abandonment: Sometimes nursing home abuse occurs when a facility discharges a resident without providing them with sufficient early warning. This leaves them in a very vulnerable state. If their cognitive abilities are declining, they might not even truly understand what’s happened.
- Emotional abuse: Once more, nursing home abuse doesn’t need to be physical. It can simply involve treatment that doesn’t respect the dignity of residents. For instance, employees may frequently yell at residents, or even threaten them.
Financial abuse: Some nursing home abuse involves taking advantage of a resident financially without their knowledge (or with the understanding that the resident may not have the mental capacity to properly give consent). Examples include employees using resident credit cards for personal purchases, secretly withdrawing money from their accounts, directly stealing cash, or using deception and/or coercion to convince a resident to give money.
Nursing Home Abuse in Miami, FL: Essential Signs to Look For
Hopefully, you’ll never have to worry about a loved one being the victim of nursing home abuse in Miami. However, you can’t be certain it will never happen. That’s why you need to know the warning signs to be on the lookout for. They include:
- Direct physical signs of abuse, such as cuts or bruises you can’t explain.
- Bed sores.
- Emotional changes. Many times the experience of being the victim of abuse will cause the emotional character of a nursing home resident to change. For instance, someone who used to be happy and outgoing may become withdrawn when abuse starts.
- Behavioral changes can also be a sign of abuse. These may be particularly noticeable when a loved one is around nursing home employees. Perhaps they’re willing to be talkative when you’re in a private setting, but when a staff member is nearby, they become quiet and/or appear fearful.
- New fears, such as an unexplained anxiety about being touched.
- Nursing home employees trying to stop residents from speaking for themselves.
- Unexplained, restrictive changes to visiting hours.
- Unsanitary conditions.
- Unexplained financial account activity.
- Missing personal property.
- Seemingly unexplained medical problems. These can include everything from sudden injuries to a resident who was once relatively healthy now becoming sick often. Also, abuse may take the form of medical conditions going undiagnosed.
Choosing a Nursing Home Abuse Law Firm in Miami, FL
Additionally, while knowing the signs of nursing home abuse is important, it’s also important to know what to do if you suspect it’s occurring. There are certain steps you might take before deciding it’s time to meet with a personal injury lawyer in Miami, Florida.
First, start by keeping detailed notes about your suspicions. Thoroughly explain what you think may be occurring, why you think that, and any evidence you have to support your suspicions. Documenting as much as possible may also help you explain your case when meeting with Miami elder abuse lawyers later.
Conduct Staff Interviews
You should also interview as many staff members as you can to ask them about the issues you’ve noticed, and whether they’re aware or suspicious of any abuse happening. Feel free to record these interviews with your phone. Use your phone to take pictures or videos of any conditions related to abuse as well, along with any physical signs of abuse on your loved one, such as bruises.
It’s true that sometimes the staff will be able to successfully (and honestly) explain why your suspicions are unfounded. There can be other explanations for these warning signs. However, if your loved one is claiming abuse is happening, you should take their interpretation of the experience seriously, and you should continue to pursue the matter if the explanations you get from the staff don’t satisfy you. There may also be reason to stay suspicious if it seems employees are hesitant to discuss the topic.
Talk to Current and Previous Residents About Nursing Home Abuse
Try reaching out to others whose loved ones either have been or currently are residents of the Miami nursing home. They also may have stories of abuse. If they do, ask if they’d be willing to draft written statements. These may support your case as well.
Take Action and Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Miami
Finally, if after a thorough investigation and discussions with your loved one, you’re still under the impression that they may be the victim of nursing home abuse, take immediate action. Remove your loved one from the facility, report the issue to the police, and contact your loved one’s primary care physician to discuss their care moving forward.
After taking these steps, get in touch with a Miami, Florida nursing home abuse attorney. Your family and your loved one in particular may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, any rehabilitation necessary after abuse, the cost of making new care arrangements, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and general emotional distress.
On top of that, by working with a Miami elder abuse law firm to pursue legal action, you may help others avoid similar abuse in the future. That’s because these lawsuits tend to have a deterring effect. The financial consequences for the liable parties alone reduce the chances of them or others continuing to abuse residents going forward.
Why Choose Elstein Legal as Your Miami Nursing Home Abuse Law Firm
When searching for a nursing home abuse lawyer in Miami, you want to feel confident the attorney representing your family and loved one has the skills and passion necessary to achieve the best possible outcome. That’s why you should choose Elstein Legal. Brian L. Elstein has already recovered millions of dollars for past clients, proving he knows how to effectively pursue compensation. His early professional experience also provided him with a thorough understanding of how liable parties might try to defend themselves in these cases. Most importantly, he thoroughly believes it’s his responsibility to offer his clients the aggressive advocacy they deserve. Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer at Elstein Legal today to discuss your case.