Watching a parent age is never easy. Hearing suffers, eyesight fades, walking from room to room becomes a 20-minute affair, and sometimes even mental capacity lessens. It can certainly take a toll on adult children to watch their parents almost become like kids again, needing their love and care, attention and patience, the same way they did all those years ago. The rolls become reversed, and while some adult children are able to care for their parents on their own, often times families turn to in-home care, assisted living or nursing homes for help. Aging parents deserve respect and love, no matter which of these healthcare options they choose. At Wolf & Pravato, we fight for your parents’ rights. The goal at Wolf & Pravato is to empower each client with the knowledge needed about in-home and nursing home care in order to keep our families safe and prevent further incidents from happening in the future. Don’t wait, call us.
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Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is not uncommon. One in six residents of a nurse home or care facility are abused each year. This shocking statistic begs us to wonder why these nursing home residents continue to be abused, and one of these reasons because it’s hard for many of them to actually articulate what is happening to them, so no one is aware of the issue. Additionally, sometimes even if they do report abuse, they may not be taken seriously because of health conditions such as senile dementia. There are many signs that you can watch for when visiting with your elderly parents or loved ones who are under in or outpatient care. These signs include bed sores, broken bones or fractures, bruises, cuts or welts, frequent infections, poor physical appearance or lack of cleanliness, signs of dehydration, changes in mental status, mood swings and emotional outbursts, reclusiveness, withdrawal or refusal to speak, refusal to take medication, unexplained weight loss, broken eyeglasses or frames, bruises around breasts or genitals, unexplained bleeding, and torn, stained or bloody underclothing.
In addition, it’s important to be wary of the staff and take into consideration whether you see suspicious signs such as the caregiver not wanting the patient to be left alone with others, frequent arguments or tension between the caregiver and elderly, report of drug overdose or apparent failure to take medication regularly, unsanitary or unsafe living conditions, significant withdrawal from elder’s bank accounts, sudden changes in elder’s financial condition, suspicious changes in wills, power of attorney, titles and policies, and unnecessary services.
There are many kinds of abuse to look out for, such as the more commonly seen physical, verbal and emotional abuse, but there are also more uncommon types that may not be as obvious to an outsider, such as sexual abuse, neglect and abandonment, financial exploitation, healthcare fraud, over- or under-medicating, and even resident-to-resident abuse. Being proactive when it comes to these situations can help avoid danger for your loved ones. If you suspect nursing home abuse, don’t try to solve the problem on your own; report it right away and let the professionals do their jobs. Look up the Adult Protective Services (APS) in your area; they will generally be the first to investigate the situation, but may turn the case over to the police or state long term care (LTC) ombudsman if need be. You can find your local APS at National Center on Elder Abuse, or by calling 1-800-677-1116. Alternatively, if the elder is immediate danger, call 911 without hesitation.
While nursing home abuse can happen at any time of the year, it is something to think more carefully about as we find ourselves facing the dreaded hurricane season here in South Florida. It’s at the forefront of every adult child’s mind to make sure their parents are in safe hands if and when a hurricane hits, especially if the elder is in a home and they are not able to physically see that they are being cared for correctly. There are a few key things you should consider in order to ensure your loved one is getting the treatment and care they deserve. Visiting your loved one at the nursing home is always a smart idea; it shows the staff that you are present in the elder’s life and allows you to get a first-hand look at the nurses who are responsible for their caregiving. You can observe their actions, how they speak to people (especially the elders), and perhaps even gauge their reputation around the nursing home. It also gives you the opportunity to check in and spend quality time with your loved one, doing activities to keep their minds sharp and bodies able, such as playing board games and doing puzzles or going for a walk. During those visits, make sure to always listen with an open mind to anything your loved one says that could indicate there is even an ounce of abuse going on. It’s also important to educate those around you who also may have loved ones in a nursing home or any kind of care facility. With your ability to recognize and report elder abuse as soon as you suspect or see it happening, you are doing your part to help end this awful cycle.
In the event that your aging parents have been mistreated or are not getting the care they deserve in Fort Lauderdale or the greater South Florida area, we at Wolf & Pravato, a leading personal injury law firm in Fort Lauderdale, can alert the proper authorities about the nursing home abuse and take the appropriate steps to ensure that your rights, and the rights of your family member, are protected, especially in the case that the abuse report is lost or altered. Wolf & Pravato distinguishes itself because of decades of experience and the legal resources to handle virtually any case that involves personal injuries or injuries to loved ones.
Wolf & Pravato guarantees its clients that all cases will be handled by an experienced personal injury attorney, coupled with the most innovative and knowledgeable legal support staff in the profession. Wolf & Pravato has a reputation of being a progressive firm, and is trusted within the legal community, often being called upon to settle cases that other personal injury law firms may not be able to completely handle on their own. Whether by trial or strategic negotiation, Wolf & Pravato wants its clients to be able to safely and quickly return to a normal life, which means their team will spend dedicated time providing tireless legal representation in every aspect of each and every client’s case.
If you suspect nursing home abuse or are worried about the treatment being provided to your loved one in any kind of care facility, we are here to help. Contact us at 954-522-5800 for a free case evaluation, or schedule online.