When a loved one requires care in a nursing home, it can be a stressor on the entire family. Under the best of circumstances, living in a nursing care facility represents a loss of independence for the resident. Others in the family may feel a sense of guilt over their inability to care for their elderly relative in their own homes.
A nursing home should be a safe haven for the elderly. However, the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that as many as one in ten Americans over the age of 60 experience some form of abuse or neglect. Nationally, this represents as many as five million victims annually. More alarming still, studies suggest that only one in every 14-24 cases of abuse is actually reported. Of course, many of those cases occur in contexts other than nursing homes. However, about 40 percent of U.S. nursing home residents have complained of abuse.
Types of Elder Abuse
Physical abuse is the most obvious form of elder abuse, while other types may not be visible to the naked eye. Emotional and verbal abuse and neglect are among the most common occurrences.
Other types of abuse include:
- Sexual abuse
- Willful deprivation of nutrition and medication
- Unnecessary confinement
- Financial exploitation
Medical Malpractice in Nursing Homes
In addition to intentional abuse, many nursing home residents suffer or even die as the result of staff negligence. The level of medical care necessary for a healthy life inevitably increases with age. A nursing home exists to provide that care, and to monitor medical needs as an elderly person becomes less self-sufficient. When you place a family member or other loved one in a nursing care facility, you should be able to trust that they will receive the care and attention they need. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
Medical Negligence in Florida Nursing Homes
Some examples of nursing home negligence are:
- Prescription drug errors
- Ignoring residents’ medical requests
- Medical restraint abuse
- Failure to provide proper medical care
All of these forms of abuse and negligence can foster larger problems in an elderly person’s quality of life. Depending on the nature of the abuse, the effects may be short term or permanent. Given the relatively fragile state of most elderly people, physical abuse can result in bodily injury, permanent physical disability, or even death. Emotional and psychological abuse can be as dangerous as physical abuse, as they may lead to other long-term issues such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Is Time a Factor in My Tampa Nursing Home Abuse Case?
Florida law does limit the time you have to file a case based on nursing home abuse or neglect. How long you have to file that claim depends on the type of suit you’re filing. In a medical malpractice case, other factors may impact the timeline.
However, you should not wait to speak with an attorney. The more time that passes after the incident, the less reliable witness recollections can become. Further, physical evidence may be destroyed or lost. By retaining an attorney, you can ensure that all avenues of investigation into your claim will be explored expediently.
Talk to One of Our Tampa Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
If you suspect that someone in your life has been abused or is being abused by a caregiver, don’t wait to get help. Elder abuse is under-reported because the victims are often frightened, confused, and dependent on their abusers.
Call 1-800-253-5523 or fill out the form on this page to set up a free consultation with one of our nursing home abuse attorneys. Your elderly loved one’s best hope is your next move.