Articles Posted in Elder Abuse and Neglect

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Falls off ladders, slip and fall injuries, falls from balconies and other fall-related injuries are a leading cause of death in the United States. According to experts, the rising trends indicate that in only a few years, falls could account for more fatalities that motor vehicle accidents or gun-related deaths. Experts are now considering new ways to treat falls to prevent fatalities. This includes new strategies in trauma centers and emergency rooms to ensure immediate and effective treatment.

While the elderly are most vulnerable in the event of a fall, every age demographic is at risk of head trauma and death caused by a serious fall. Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys are experienced in helping victims recover compensation after an accident. We are also experienced in developments in the medical field that focus on patient care and recovery. Our priority is to raise public awareness to prevent serious accidents and future injury or death.

A recent study showed while motor vehicle accident deaths are on the decline by 27%, fatalities caused by falls are on the rise by 46%. The study has tracked accidental deaths since 2002 and highlights the need for further efforts in public awareness and advancements in medical treatment for fall victims. Experts agree that injury trends can shift overtime. Tracking these shifts can help to better understand risks and improve treatment opportunities.
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Choosing the right nursing home for your loved one can prove to be a difficult task with so many factors involved. It’s important to look at costs, statistics and features. It also crucial to find a home with reliable and trustworthy staff to avoid nursing home abuse in Fort Lauderdale or elsewhere in South Florida.

Our Fort Lauderdale nursing home neglect attorneys understand the stress that accompanies putting your loved ones into a nursing home. We are equally concerned with the quality of care afforded by these mega corporations that are behind most of the nation’s nursing homes.

The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that roughly 450,000 elderly persons in a domestic setting were reportedly abuse or neglected during a one year study.

Florida alone has more than 650 nursing homes that care for over 82,000 residents. Florida also takes rank for having the largest number of elderly residents in nursing home. Most homes are operated as for-profit businesses by large corporations — private nursing homes can cost $40,000 a year.

Nursing home abuse can be difficult to detect as many patients suffer from dementia. According to Market Watch, roughly 1.5 million of our nursing home residents suffer from the disability. For this reason, and many others, it is important to fully research your options.

“In nursing homes, dementia is the greatest risk factor [for abuse] because the perps don’t imagine that the person feels abuse of neglect so they act with impunity,” said Kay Brown, a director at the Government Accountability Office.

Market Place offers you these important tips to think about when finding the right nursing home for your loved ones:

-Visit the nursing homes you’re considering, multiple times. Make sure some of your visits are in the evening hours, when staff thins out. Observe how the workers interact with current residents.

-Figure out the costs. This is an important factor to many of us, and it is important to pick a home with the right price and the right care. Remember that costs may be higher if your loved one suffers from a health problem, like Alzheimer’s, and requires extra supervision.

-Ask around. Talk to doctors and friends about local nursing homes. They may be able to offer some insight about homes they have used with their loved ones. There may be no one else able to offer such truthful information.

-Ask questions. Don’t be shy when visiting or calling potential nursing homes. Does the home do background checks on their employees? How do they report and record incidents? Ask to see those reports. Good nursing homes should have nothing to hide.

We understand the importance of caring for your loved ones, and we encourage you not to cut any corners when finding the right nursing home for them. You should always remain an active member in their daily activities to ensure they are being treated with respect and are enjoying their time among a comfortable atmosphere.
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Children are faced with the difficult decision of what to do when their elderly parents need assistance to live on their own or need the full-time care of a professional nursing environment.

We trust in the 24-hour care of a facility to keep our elderly loved one from having a nursing home fall in South Florida. Yet fall accidents are all too common in nursing home facilities as our Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers often report.

In a previous blog posted on our South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog we reported on neglect in the nursing home and how it may lead to a facility’s sanction or closure. The decline in nursing home facilities available is a rising concern because we need options when it comes to having a safe place for our elderly loved ones.

Many older adults face fall hazards. But it is not inevitable that they fall and injure themselves — especially when the professional staff of a nursing facilities has been charged with their care in order to prevent just such a tragedy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that once reaching age 65 or older, 1 in 3 adults fall each year. Falls for this age group are the leading cause of death, as well as, non-fatal injuries.

In the last 10 years, fall accidents for men and women over 65 have risen dramatically. In 2009, over half a million older adults were hospitalized for non-fatal injuries leading to billions of dollars spent on medical costs for these fall accidents.

Most would think that if your elderly loved one is in a nursing home facility their risks for falling would diminish greatly. The CDC reports that approximately 1,800 older adults living in nursing homes die each year from falls. A facility occupying 100 beds typically reports 200 falls a year, and not all falls are reported. Falls in nursing homes occur at twice the rate of an elderly person living in a community. Nursing home residents average about 2.6 falls per person a year.

Based on these statistics we might ask why falls are more common in nursing homes. Other health issues may contribute to nursing home falls. Residents in nursing homes are generally weaker, have other chronic conditions, and have difficulty walking. Muscle weakness accounts for 24% of nursing home falls. Hazards like wet floors, poor lighting, or improper bed height cause 16%-27% of nursing home falls. Medications can also factor in the number of falls that take place each year in nursing homes.

Most children have a responsibility to take care of our elderly parents as they get older. Yet most people don’t have the luxury of quitting a job so that we can provide full-time care. Though the task may be difficult, finding the right facility is a key in preserving your loved ones health and security for many years to come.
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Making the decision to put a loved one in a long term care facility isn’t easy. The words ‘Nursing Home’ strike fear into many of our elderly and with good reason. Our Fort Lauderdale nursing home neglect lawyers understand this difficult decision.

Just the other day the St. Petersburg Times reported on a Largo nursing home being placed on a federal list of problem nursing homes. The facility was cited for failing to supervise residents while they were smoking and broken call bells were found in residents rooms. This is the 6th Florida facility placed on the federal list.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention annually almost 1,800 elderly adults who live in nursing homes die from fall related injuries. Roughly 75% of nursing home residents fall each year and usually they fall more than once. There are many reasons residents fall which include poor fitting shoes, muscle weakness and medications. Sadly, as many as one-fourth are from nursing home hazards like improper bed height, poor lighting and wet floors.

Medical News Today reports sepsis in the elderly causes a long term impact to their cognitive and physical functions. Sepsis is a life threatening condition that is caused by the bloodstream being overwhelmed by bacteria. Bed sores, an indication of poor nursing home care, can lead to sepsis.

Nationally nursing home beds have declined 5.3% from 1999 to 2008. At 85,250 Florida nursing home beds have decreased almost 3%; and about 75 nursing homes have closed, even though the older age groups have grown in population.

Patients stay in Broward County nursing homes 13% fewer days then they did in 2007 and 5.6% fewer days was the figure for Palm Beach County.

Floridians have options to nursing home care which could explain why facilities in Broward and Palm Beach counties only fill 75% and 82% of their beds, respectively.

The Miami Herald reported there are alternatives to placing your loved one in a nursing home which include in home care and assisted living.

The number one form of elder care in the U.S., according to Guide to Nursing Homes, is having your loved one move in with you. However, not everyone has the means, room and skills needed to do this.

An assisted living facility may be a good fit for your loved one if, for example, they don’t want to drive anymore but want their independence. These facilities offer residents a private apartment with housekeeping, shared meals and laundry service are usually included in the monthly fee. And, if needed, aids can assist with tasks like dressing and bathing.

In Florida, Medicaid offers money-saving programs that help pay for care at home or in less costly settings, which help keep loved ones out of nursing homes.

Helpful sources to be used if you are helping an elderly loved one find a place to live are:
Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home

Federal List of Problem Nursing Homes
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In this second half of our “Florida Nursing Home Abuse” blog we will discuss the various signs and symptoms of specific types of abuse. As mentioned in our last blog, the most common and obvious type of elder abuse is physical abuse. Symptoms associated with physical abuse are unexplained signs of bruises, welts, or scars, especially bruises that appear symmetrically on the body. Depending on the physical force of pressure used, broken bones, sprains, or dislocations will also occur. Restrainment, which is another common form of physical abuse used to keep patients confined to their beds, will show signs of black and blue marks around the wrists. Also, become more aware of details, especially items that belong to the victim, such as a pair of eye glasses for example. In the case of eye glasses, look to see if the frames have been bent, or the lenses have been scratched and/or chipped. Something else to consider; always take in the surroundings of where your loved one is being provided for, and keep a mental inventory as to where everything is, or isn’t.

Sexual abuse, which can also show signs of physical abuse can include various bruises around the breasts or genitals as well as unexplained venereal disease or infections.

Neglect caused by the senior’s aide can result in bed sores, malnutrition, weight loss, dehydration, and unsanitary living conditions.

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In Florida every year, thousands of our state’s elderly are abused. Elderly abuse occurs not only in nursing homes, but can also occur in a senior’s own home, a relative’s home, or hospital. Elderly abuse comes in many different forms such as physically,emotionally and/or financially. By learning the signs of this mistreatment early on, you may not only prevent someone you know or a relative from being abused, but you will be reinforcing your own defenses and bringing more attention to the details that sometimes tell a story as to what is taking place. It’s a known fact, as we become older, especially in our senior years, we become more frail, less balanced, and face hearing difficulties as well as poorer eyesight. These degenerative deficiancies tend to leave openings for unscrupulous people to take advantage of the circumstances at hand.

Physical abuse is typically the most common and obvious form of mistreatment against an elder. The basic definition of this type of abuse is non-accidental use of force against a senior which results in bruises, contusions, lacerations, physical pain, injury, or impairment. This type of abuse also includes the inappropriate use of drugs, restraints, or confinement.

Emotional abuse, also known as psychological senior abuse is when people talk or treat seniors in ways that cause emotional pain and distress. For example, verbal threats are a form of emotional abuse. Another form is ridicule. Psychological elder abuse can also take the form of ignoring the elderly person, isolating the senior from friends or activities or terrorizing the elderly person.

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