Friday, November 4, 2016

Beyond Physical Injuries: Emotional Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

While nursing homes like Brookdale Senior Living are facilities that are intended to provide care and support for aging adults and others who need daily assistance, the sad reality is that nursing home residents are often subjected to poor treatment and outright abuse. Abuse and neglect of elders can take many different forms, some of which may be much more difficult to spot than others. Undoubtedly, physical abuse such as hitting, punching, restraining, or refusing to provide help to injured residents is a serious issue that can cause injury, emotional abuse can be no less harmful to the mental state of nursing home residents.
What Does Emotional Abuse or Neglect Look Like?
Emotional abuse or neglect can take many different forms and can involve verbal communication or nonverbal conduct. Some of the more common forms of abuse or neglect that nursing home residents are often subjected to include the following:
Isolating a resident from others
Yelling, screaming, or threatening
Blaming the resident for his or her problems
Ignoring the resident
Verbal intimidation
Withholding food or water
Ignoring a resident
Name calling
Embarrassing a resident in front of other
Restricting a resident’s access to water, food, medication, or the bathroom
Treating a resident like a child
Signs of Emotional Abuse or Neglect
Statistics regarding nursing home abuse and neglect are notoriously difficult to gather, as residents themselves are often unaware that the abuse is occurring or too embarrassed or scared to report it to loved ones or nursing home management. For this reason, it is absolutely imperative that family members and loved ones of nursing home residents are aware of the signs of emotional neglect and abuse and know what to do if they suspect that abuse is happening. Some of the more common signs of nursing home abuse include the following:

Fearful behavior
Refusing to speak
Poor self-esteem

Withdrawal from social activities
Mood swings
Infrequent contact with family
Lack of communication
Avoidance of eye contact

If you believe that you loved one has been the victim of emotional abuse, you should report it to the facility’s management right away. In the event that you believe that he or she is in immediate danger, you should contact your local law enforcement agency. Instances of abuse or neglect should also be reported to the state agency responsible for regulating nursing homes in your state. Information about how to report nursing home abuse or neglect in Florida can be found on the Florida Department of Elder Affairs website.1
When Should You Call a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer?
You should contact an attorney as soon as you suspect that nursing home abuse or neglect has been happening. Nursing home injury claims are subject to Florida’s strict statute of limitations,2 which means that if you wait too long, you or your loved one will not be able to recover. In addition, nursing home staff or administration may take steps to cover up instances of abuse as they could potentially result in significant sanctions including the loss of their license to operate their facility. When you contact an attorney, he or she will start to investigate the case immediately and do everything possible to ensure that evidence critical to your case does not get lost or destroyed.
Importantly, you should call an attorney even if the nursing home has offered to pay you or your loved money to settle the case. In many cases, these initial offers are grossly insufficient and simply represent an attempt to settle the case as quickly, cheaply, and quietly as possible. When you retain an attorney, he or she will thoroughly investigate your claim and the injuries that you or your loved one has sustained. This will give you significant leverage in your negotiating position as well as the ability to go to trial in the event that the nursing home refuses to settle for a reasonable amount.
Call a Clearwater Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case

If you believe that you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you should call the Dolman Law Group as soon as you can. Our skilled Clearwater nursing home abuse attorneys understand how to hold nursing homes like Brookdale Senior living and others liable for their wrongful acts that injure their residents. To learn more about how we can help you and to discuss your case with a lawyer, call our office today at 727-451-6900 or send us an email through our online contact form.

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