Nursing Home Abuse
Don’t wait — call immediately if you suspect assault or battery.
At Warner, Sechrest & Butts, we dedicate our days to fighting for the rights of victims. Unfortunately, we find that many of those victims are elderly patients in Florida nursing homes and that assault and battery persist because loved ones are unsure how to act. We understand that getting involved can be difficult — what if you aren’t sure that it’s really abuse? — but no matter the consequence, it’s best to speak up. A patient may be unable to report the abuse due to their emotional or physical condition. If you suspect a patient is the victim of assault or battery in a Florida nursing home, contact our law firm immediately.
Florida Nursing Home Battery Attorneys
Nursing home abuse can take many forms. Florida has an overwhelming elderly population, which unfortunately can lead to a nursing home negligence due to understaffing. Without proper staffing, it is easy for patients to fall victim to neglect — staff members are overworked and there usually aren’t enough staff members for each patient. While neglect is never acceptable, there is another, more sinister, form of nursing home abuse: battery.
Battery and assault in a nursing home is not uncommon. These forms of physical abuse are meant to harm or disable a patient. It can be impossible to imagine any reason for a staff member or administrator to abuse a patient, but it does happen. In addition, visitors, other patients and even custodial staff members may physically assault a patient.
The most noticeable sign of nursing home battery and assault is an injury. Unexplained broken bones, cuts, wounds and bruising are hard to miss, but the underlying psychological damage that battery and assault can cause often goes unnoticed. The emotional distress a victim of abuse feels can often be overbearing. Elderly residents are less likely to be able to defend themselves during an attack or prevent an attack from taking place. After an attack, elderly patients are less likely to be able to get help if they are injured.
Types Of Nursing Home Assault & Battery
Assault and battery are any type of physical abuse which causes harm to a nursing home patient. We’ve compiled a list of the most common forms of nursing home assault and battery, however, other forms of physical abuse may qualify.
- Hitting, striking, punching or slapping
- Shaking, pushing or pulling
- Rape or sexual assault
- Using unnecessary force
If you discover someone is a victim of nursing home battery or assault, you’re probably asking “why?” Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to that question.
Nursing Home Assault & Battery By Staff Or Caregivers
When a staff member or caregiver assaults a patient, there is usually an underlying cause. This does not justify the action, but it can shed some light on a larger issue. A caregiver may lash out in frustration because they are tired or overworked due to understaffing, which is considered nursing home negligence. The staff member or caregiver may be experiencing personal problems, such as suffering from depression or substance addiction. In these situations, the caregiver or staff member is in need of help, and the behavior of abuse is not likely to stop. A person who is drunk or taking narcotics may not realize the harm he or she is causing.
Assault & Battery By Other Patients
If a patient has the opportunity to abuse another patient, then other factors are at play. It’s likely that there are not proper security guidelines in place, or that the nursing home is understaffed to the point where it is impossible to keep track of the patients. This is considered neglect in Florida, and it must be brought to the attention of the authorities.
A patient with mental or emotional issues may not understand that his or her actions are harming another person. Whether the patient has diminished mental capacity or is in a state of confusion, they may not know or remember that they are lashing out, biting or even sexually assaulting another patient.
Visitor Assault & Battery
It’s unconscionable, but patients can be harmed by visitors and family members, whether they are related to the victim or to another patient in the nursing home. Visitors who are allowed to roam freely throughout the nursing home are provided an opportunity for abuse, and nursing home staff members may be under the assumption that patients are safe with visitors and family members. This is not always the case, and being abused by a visitor or loved one can cause a great deal of emotional and mental distress.
Warning Signs Of Nursing Home Abuse
When should you call a lawyer? That’s a question we hear often. We understand the serious consequences that accompany making a false claim, and of course, you never want to accuse an innocent person of abuse or battery. So making the call can be a difficult decision. However, if you notice the common warning signs of nursing home abuse, please call our law firm immediately.
- Bedsores or open wounds
- Dehydration or malnourishment
- Unexplained injuries, bruises or cuts
- Withdrawal and isolation
- Abnormal behavior
- Agitation or frustration
Because we may all behave differently in a situation involving abuse, neglect, and battery, it may be harder to recognize the warning signs. If a loved one is acting out of sorts or abnormally, then please take action. Don’t wait until it’s too late — chronic abuse may escalate.
Gainesville Attorneys: Here To Help
At Warner, Sechrest & Butts, we believe that every person, no matter their age or ability, should be treated with care and respect. Nursing home battery, abuse, and neglect are never acceptable side effects of treatment, and these ongoing actions (or one-time outbursts) must be stopped at once. Stand up for your loved one or someone who needs your help and call our law firm today.