Many people retire to Florida to live out the rest of their years in a mostly temperate climate. Places near the coast, like New Port Richey, are common destinations for retirees. That means many nursing homes in and around these communities, and New Port Richey is no exception. Nursing homes are supposed to provide a safe, comfortable alternative living for those that need help in their later years.
However, some nursing homes do not provide safe, caring, and comfortable support for their residents. They have abusive staff and often provide substandard care, which can leave your loved one weaker, both physically and emotionally, than if they stayed home without 24-hour care.
If your loved one suffered physical or emotional abuse in a nursing home, contact the Lucas, Macyszyn, & Dyer Injury Firm for a free case evaluation by calling (727) 849-5353 today.
Why Hire a New Port Richey Nursing Home Negligence Attorney
When hiring an attorney to represent your loved one in a nursing home negligence case, not any personal injury attorney will do. You need someone with experience handling these types of cases. While we cannot guarantee results for any client, we can tell you that we have experience in these types of cases, and our firm has recovered millions for our clients in all the areas we practice.
If you suspect that nursing home staff are not treating your loved one properly, we can help you define the extent of the abuse and will communicate with the nursing home on behalf of you and your loved one to obtain the compensation your loved one deserves.
In some cases, we can obtain the compensation your loved one deserves with settlement negotiations. However, in some cases, the nursing home’s insurance company forces us to litigate. When you retain the Lucas, Macyszyn, & Dyer Injury Firm, you can do it with the knowledge that our attorneys are equally adept in settlement negotiations and litigation.
Additionally, we are not afraid to go up against the nursing home’s high-priced attorneys.
Some area nursing homes include:
- Heather Hill Healthcare Center
- Mitchell Rehabilitation Hospital
- Southern Pines Healthcare Center
- Madison Pointe Rehabilitation
- Life Care Center of New Port Richey
- Consulate Health Care of New Port Richey
- Orchard Ridge Rehabilitation and Nursing Center
These are only a few of the nursing homes in the area that we will go up against if their staff physically or emotionally neglects or abuses your loved one.
Nursing Home Abuse: Physical and Emotional Abuse
Nursing home abuse isn’t always physical. Knowing what signs to look for means that you also look for changes in your loved one’s demeanor. If you understand the different types of nursing home negligence and abuse, it is easier to see.
#1. Physical Abuse
When people speak of nursing home negligence, one of the first things they think of is physical abuse. A caregiver could use physical force if your loved one does not do what the caregiver wants. Sometimes, caregivers abuse people that cannot fight back.
Your loved one might not want to admit someone is abusing him or her.
Signs of physical abuse include:
- Bruises, welts, cuts, and scratches.
- Sprains and strains.
- Dislocated joints.
- Broken bones.
- Skull fractures.
Your loved one might also withdraw into themselves, including refusing to talk. The nursing home could also refuse people visiting.
It is usually harder to spot neglect before it gets out of hand.
- Dehydration when your loved one does not have a medical condition that prevents him or her from drinking.
- Malnutrition when your loved one does not have a medical condition that hinders eating.
- A dirty room.
- Failing to clean up your loved one after an accident.
- Lack of supervision, usually evidenced by unexplained falls.
- Failing to give your loved one his or her medications, either on time or at all.
- Failing to treat medical issues.
- Pressure sores.
#3. Emotional Abuse
One of the more difficult types of neglect or abuse to see is emotional abuse. Emotional abuse could be verbal or nonverbal.
It might include:
- Humiliating your loved one.
- Berating your loved one.
- Insulting your loved one.
- Isolating your loved one from others and/or activities.
- Treating your loved one as if he or she was a child.
- Threatening your loved one.
- Refusing to speak to your loved one.
#4. Sexual Abuse
Another type of abuse that is often difficult to see, especially when it first starts happening, is sexual abuse. Various forms of sexual abuse include unwanted genital contact, including forcing a loved one to touch another’s genitals; taking pictures of your loved one when he or she is not properly clothed; sexual contact with your loved one who cannot provide consent; coercing your loved one to get naked; and unwanted breast or rectal contact.
The signs you should look for include underwear that is torn or has unexpected stains, genital and/or rectal bleeding, unexplained sexually transmitted diseases, and genital infections. You might also notice genital or rectal bleeding or bruising.
Parties Responsible for Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
Usually, specific staff members are responsible for abuse and neglect. However, the nursing home is responsible for screening employees, including supervisors, to protect your loved one. While you might bring a lawsuit against the caregiver, you could also sue the nursing home, which should have known of the neglect.
A nursing home that allows neglect and abuse to continue is responsible for the emotional and physical damage your loved one suffered. It could share responsibility for your loved one’s injuries because supervisors are supposed to supervise the caregivers, which means they must also look for signs of neglect and/or abuse.
Obtaining Fair and Reasonable Compensation From the Nursing Home’s Insurance Company
Even if you have proof of neglect or abuse, the nursing home’s insurance company will do everything possible to deny a claim or offer the least amount possible. It might even admit the nursing home was negligent. However, never fall for that trick. Insurance companies figure that if they admit fault, you will believe their offers are fair and reasonable. This is just a trick to get you to accept less compensation than you and your loved one deserve.
An insurance company might even try to prove the nursing home was not negligent or that the abuse did not happen by stating that your loved one is not a reliable witness because of memory issues. It could also try to put the responsibility for the claim on another entity or person’s shoulders—someone the insurance company does not cover.
Working with a New Port Richey nursing home negligence attorney ensures that the insurance company does not trap you with its games and ensures that you and your loved one recover the compensation you deserve.
How a New Port Richey Nursing Home Negligence Attorney Can Help
Fighting a nursing home over suspected negligence rarely turns out the best for someone taking on this task without an experienced attorney. You are going against the nursing home’s insurance company, which retains high-priced attorneys. You need someone on your side who knows the laws as well, if not better than the insurance company’s lawyers.
A New Port Richey nursing home negligence attorney can investigate your case, conduct settlement negotiations on your behalf, and will have no problem filing a lawsuit if you and your attorney believe the insurance company’s offer is not fair and reasonable.
Insurance companies only give the impression that they care about you and your loved one. What they actually care about is their bottom lines—the profits they will lose because they must pay a claim you brought against a negligent nursing home. The attorneys at the Lucas, Macyszyn, & Dyer Injury Firm will protect your rights and the rights of your loved one in the nursing home.
Nursing Home FAQs
What Happens if My Loved One Died as a Result of Nursing Home Negligence?
Your loved one’s estate could file a wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home. Even if you start a lawsuit before your loved one’s death, you could convert it to a wrongful death case.
Who Gets the Money from the Lawsuit?
Your loved one, if alive. It can go into a trust for your loved one, or a conservator or guardian might take control of the money on behalf of your loved one.
Who Regulates Nursing Homes?
Several entities at the state and federal levels regulate nursing homes, including the United States Department of Health Human Services and Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services at the federal level. At the state level, several organizations regulate and check nursing home compliance.
When a Nursing Home Violates Regulations, What Happens?
The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987, commonly known as the Nursing Home Reform Act, covers nursing homes that accept Medicare and/or Medicaid. Under this act, if you determine a loved one is a victim of the nursing home’s negligence, you could recover compensation. Florida Statutes refer to the Nursing Home Reform Act for part of its rules and regulations.
Does a Nursing Home Have to Have a Minimum Number of Staff?
Not under federal rules. However, Florida requires that each resident has at least 3.6 hours of direct care per week, a minimum of 1 hour of direct care from a licensed nurse per day, and a minimum of 2.5 hours per day by a certified nursing assistant. A Florida nursing home cannot have less than one certified nursing assistant per 20 residents.
Are Bedsores Preventable?
The only unavoidable bedsores are those that happen when the nursing home can prove that it did everything possible to prevent them. However, nursing homes often blame co-morbidities, such as diabetes, incontinence, immobility, renal issues, peripheral vascular disease, and malnutrition for bedsores, not their neglect of patients.
Nursing homes will especially blame co-morbidities for bedsores if a resident has multiple co-morbidities. However, if the nursing home knows of these co-morbidities—and it should—then it should have taken steps to prevent bedsores in the first place. Otherwise, you could hold the nursing home negligent.
For example, knowing that a patient is incontinent, the nursing home staff should check on your loved one hourly to clean up any accidents. If a resident is immobile, the nursing home should know to turn the resident every 20 minutes so that he or she does not develop bedsores.
How Do I Know If I Have a Case?
Your New Port Richey nursing home negligence attorney will discuss your loved one’s care—or lack of care—and will start an investigation if he or she believes you have a case. The attorney will also determine whether the negligence is the nursing home’s fault only or if others are also responsible for your loved one’s damages. Even if you have nothing but a suspicion right now, you can start documenting the case and contact a nursing home negligence attorney immediately.
Contact a New Port Richey Nursing Home Negligence Attorney
When you notice bruises, wounds, or a loved one in a nursing home withdrawing into himself or herself, these could be signs of nursing home negligence and/or abuse. If possible, start documenting what you see, including taking pictures of physical bodily harm if your loved one will allow it and photos of a dirty room.
Document when medications are late and the behavior of your loved one when staff interacts with them during your presence. Documentation will help a nursing home negligence attorney determine if your suspicions of neglect, abuse, and other negligence are founded.
If a nursing home neglected or abused a loved one, or if you lost a loved one due to nursing home negligence, reach out to a nursing home negligence lawyer at the Lucas, Macyszyn, & Dyer Injury Firm at (727) 849-5353 or contact us online for a free case evaluation today.