Cape Coral Florida is known as one of the safest cities in the nation, yet nursing homes in the area still have residents who suffer from financial, sexual, emotional and physical abuses at the hands of workers in those facilities. Over 70,000 people live in nursing homes in the State of Florida where they make up an “at risk” population due to declining health and a deteriorating ability to care for themselves. Many residents need help with “activities of daily living” including grooming, getting to the bathroom, dressing, eating and moving around; leaving them vulnerable to those who care for them. Additionally, residents may be weak and unable to protect themselves when they become prey to devious staff members. It is imperative that proper screening of employees is done so that nursing home residents can be safe and properly taken care of. Holding nursing homes accountable is the first step in assuring changes to keep Florida seniors living in nursing homes safe from abuse.
Nursing Home Abuse.
Nursing home abuse is addressed in Florida Statute 415 – Adult Protective Services and covers acts that inflict injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or punishment with the result of physical harm or pain or mental anguish, or deprivation by an individual, including a caretaker, of goods or services that are necessary to attain or maintain physical, mental and psycho-social well-being as well as acts of negligence that cause or exacerbate existing health conditions.
Common types of abuse:
- Verbal abuse – The directed use of oral, written language or improper gestures that include critical, offensive and belittling terms to residents or their families, or where they can be heard even when a resident cannot comprehend such abuse including: 1) threats of harm or scaring them through fabricated stories.
- Sexual abuse – sexual harassment, sexual coercion or sexual assault.
- Physical abuse – to hit, slap, pinch or kick or affect control by the threat of corporal punishment.
- Mental abuse – humiliation, harassment, threatening punishment or deprivation, and gas lighting.
- Involuntary seclusion – Separating a resident from other residents taking them from their personal space, or even confinement to his room (with/without roommates) against the resident’s will, or the will of the resident’s legal representative.
- Unintentional Abuse – warning signs may include developing bed sores due to failure to change the victim’s sheets and/or regularly re-position the resident to improve circulation, exacerbation of conditions like diabetes due to changes in medication, diet and exercise, frequent falls, or poor hygiene such as bathing or brushing teeth.
Violating Florida Nursing Home Resident’s Rights Results in Punitive Damages.
Residents have the basic right to be treated fairly, courteously, and with respect, and should not be subject to mental or physical harms as outlined in Florida Statute 400. Breach of care in nursing homes may cause liability actions for negligence in care, negligence in hiring/firing staff, and/or negligence in training staff on policies/procedures such as reporting accidents and injuries. Residents or families can sue for monetary compensation for an injury resulting from abuse, neglect, or accidents such as a fall from a bed accident and receive punitive damages for ”intentional misconduct” or “gross negligence”.
Hire a Qualified Lawyer.
If you have a loved one in a nursing home that has experienced some form of abuse, either by intent, or through negligence, you should seek the legal advice of an attorney specializing in elder care law at the Law Offices of Michael M. Raheb, P.A.