Home Healthcare Abuse is Just as Prevalent as Nursing Home Abuse

Home healthcare aides and caregivers perform an important role in our aging society, helping the elderly, disabled, or vulnerable to remain in their homes as long as possible, but that care can come at a cost. 

We often hear reports of elder abuse or neglect in nursing homes and assisted living settings, but home healthcare abuse and neglect are also very common. Unfortunately, it is less likely to be reported because home healthcare providers are not necessarily overseen by an agency or care provider and families are unaware of the abuse or are responsible for inflicting the abuse themselves.

Many home healthcare providers are friends or family members who are not professionally trained in caring for the elderly, injured, or vulnerable. They may have started out just keeping an eye on their patient, helping to run errands, make meals, or keep up the house, but as time goes on and the patient’s needs increase, the caregivers’ abilities to provide adequate care may not keep pace and home healthcare abuse or neglect can occur.

Signs of Home Healthcare Abuse or Neglect

Elder abuse can take many forms, and home healthcare abuse is no exception. Abuse can be:

  • Physical. Hitting, slapping, punching, pushing, pulling, grabbing, etc.
  • Financial. Stealing cash, writing checks, or using patient credit cards.
  • Sexual. Unwanted touching or attention, any form of penetration.
  • Verbal. Calling names, using vulgar language.
  • Emotional. Humiliating or manipulating patients.

Neglect is also a form of abuse and can include inadequate supervision or provision of care, poor nutrition, dehydration, or medication denial, among other things.

Gaps in Florida’s Elder Care Protections

Currently, Florida does not require home healthcare workers to be licensed or regulated in any way. In some situations, the caregiver may not even be subject to a background or reference check. The only exception is if the provider is employed by a Medicare or Medicaid-certified agency. This lack of oversight increases the risk of hiring home healthcare providers that could harm a vulnerable person – either intentionally or accidentally.

What To Do If You Suspect Home Healthcare Abuse

If you think a loved one is being abused or is suffering under the care of a home healthcare provider, you need to take action to prevent further harm and to keep the caregiver from hurting someone else. Complaints can be directed to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Adult Protective Services, and the Aging Network. You can also speak with our nursing home abuse attorney, Andres Beregovich, to discuss legal action. In some cases, you can file a civil lawsuit against the caregiver or agency he or she is employed by if there has been neglect or abuse.

Contact The Beregovich Law Firm, with office locations in Orlando and Miami at (800) 631-9009 or online to schedule a no-obligation consultation with a Florida nursing home abuse attorney to explore your legal options and make sure such abuse doesn’t happen to another family.

Patchwork Accountability Fuels Assisted Living Negligence

Assisted living negligence is an unreported, under-recognized problem among Florida’s elderly and vulnerable populations. Nursing homes typically receive much more public scrutiny in regard to abuse and neglect, while assisted living facilities slip under the radar.

Part of the lack of scrutiny may be due to how we think of assisted living facilities as well as the many types of facilities in business. Whereas nursing homes provide a high degree of care and supervision, assisted living facilities allow their residents more independence with different facilities providing different levels of care. It’s possible that we the public simply don’t give assisted living facilities the attention they deserve in regards to care provided because we see the residents as being more independent and less in need of care than nursing home residents and, therefore, less likely to be abused or neglected.

This lackadaisical attitude towards assisted living negligence is dangerous because it means residents could be suffering and no one thinks to investigate the situation. 

Lack of Oversight and Lack of Accountability Make Negligence Hard To Track

Assisted living facilities are not subject to the same regulations and oversight as nursing homes. Without this accountability and with the ever-increasing need for assisted living facilities, it is easy for patterns of neglect to slip through the cracks. Since assisted living facilities allow residents to maintain some degree of independence, it can be difficult for a family member to determine if their loved one has been neglected or simply had a bout of forgetfulness or a simple accident. 

If a family thinks their loved one has been neglected, they may simply decide to move to a different facility because they can’t say with 100% certainty if neglect occurred, if their loved one just had an unfortunate experience, or if their family member simply required more care than the facility was able to provide – and even if they did suspect negligence, who would they call to report the incident?

A good place to start is with a personal injury attorney. Assisted living facilities are required to be licensed to provide specific care and services in Florida by the Agency for Healthcare Administration, but this just allows them to operate as an assisted living facility. 

A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You Respond To Assisted Living Negligence

If you suspect assisted living negligence, your best protection is to consult a qualified attorney to explore your legal options or to file a formal complaint about the facility. All registered Florida assisted living facilities are required to provide a certain level of care for their residents. If they somehow fail to provide that care and a resident is injured as a result, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to receive compensation for the injury and possibly require the facility to adjust its practices to prevent a similar situation from happening in the future.

Contact The Beregovich Law Firm in Florida is you think your loved one has been a victim of assisted living negligence. You do have rights, protections, and resources available to help you recover from the incident and make sure it doesn’t happen again. 

We offer free consultations, with office locations in Orlando and Miami so you can share the facts of your situation and receive an honest assessment of your legal options. Schedule your free consultation by calling (800) 631-9009 or contacting us online.

Violating Residents’ Rights Could Lead To Assisted Living Negligence Lawsuits

Assisted living facilities fulfill an important role in today’s society, offering seniors and their families a practical alternative to fully independent living and nursing home care. Intended for residents who don’t require a high level of care, but do need some help, assisted living facilities have boomed in recent years. Today, there are over 28,000 assisted living communities in the United States with over 1 million beds. 

Despite the increase in the number of facilities and residents who live in them, assisted living communities haven’t fallen under the same level of scrutiny as nursing homes and long-term care facilities in regards to elder abuse and negligence. That doesn’t mean abuse and negligence doesn’t happen at these communities, they do; and a growing number of lawsuits are bringing assisted living negligence and abuses to light. 

Florida Assisted Living Facility Residents Rights

Assisted living facilities aren’t subject to the same amount of oversight and accountability as nursing homes. This could be one reason why assisted living negligence goes unreported; it simply isn’t caught or families feel they have no recourse to report the problems.

Florida, perhaps due to the large number of retirees the state attracts, has taken a stand in protecting the rights of those living in assisted living communities by enacting the “Florida Assisted Living Facility Residents Rights” and by providing protections under Chapter 429 of the Florida Statutes. Most of Florida’s assisted living negligence cases result from a violation of one of these two legal protections. 

The Florida Assisted Living Facility Residents Rights is a bill of rights of sorts for residents of assisted living facilities. Under the law, every assisted living resident has a right to:

  • Be free from abuse
  • Be free from neglect
  • Be treated with courtesy, dignity and respect
  • Enjoy unrestricted, private communication with family and physicians
  • Manage their own financial affairs, if mentally competent.

If any of these rights are violated by a facility or its staff, the resident and his/her family has legal recourse and may sue the facility for damages. The following injuries are often associated with assisted living negligence, but is not an all-encompassing list:

  1. Repeated falls
  2. Undocumented injuries, including broken bones
  3. Patients wandering out of the facility
  4. Dehydration
  5. Bed sores
  6. Medication errors
  7. Wrongful death

Contact The Beregovich Law Firm If You Suspect Assisted Living Negligence

If your loved one has suffered an injury due to suspected assisted living negligence, contact Andres Beregovich at The Beregovich Law Firm. It is possible that your family is entitled to compensation. We will undertake a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the injury and get to work fighting for justice on your behalf. 

Schedule a free consultation by calling (800) 631-9009 or contacting us online.

Why Nursing Home Abuse Happens

In previous posts, we’ve looked at the signs of nursing home negligence or abuse, different types of nursing home abuse, and what family members can do to protect their loved ones. One thing we haven’t looked at is why nursing home abuse occurs in the first place.

Without understanding the cause of nursing home abuse, it’s difficult to prevent it. Our Florida nursing home attorney has noticed several patterns in both assisted living and nursing home abuse cases. In almost every case, one or more of the following factors exists:

  • Lack of professional management or supervision
  • Understaffing
  • Poorly trained or underpaid staff
  • Low-quality nursing homes/nursing homes without adequate financial resources
  • High-needs residents

It’s also worth noting that the more of these risk factors that exist, the higher the chance of abuses, negligence and accidents occurring.

How Resources Affect Nursing Home Abuse

In almost all of these instances, the abuse stems from a lack of resources. Poorly funded nursing homes cannot afford to hire the best staff or even enough staff. Employee training may be eliminated. A lack of supervisors or managers makes it easier for staff to harm patients. Inadequate supplies can also lead to resident harm. All of these issues can lead to a lower standard of care and set residents up for neglect and abuse. 

The risk is even greater if the facility houses high-needs patients such as those with disabilities, dementia or cognitive decline, veterans or residents with PTSD, and LGBT residents. Without adequate funding, facilities can’t provide top-quality care or hire staff who are skilled in caring for individuals with these needs.

Unfortunately, when it comes to choosing a nursing home or assisted living facility, you very often get what you pay for. 

What to Look For in a Care Facility

  • A Low Staff-to-Patient Ratio. The fewer residents a staff member has to care for, the better the level of care received. Look at the number of support staff in place too. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities run on team effort, so a solid team of support, managerial, and front-line staff is essential to good care.
  • Staff Training and Education. Ask about the training the staff receives and the type of education they have. Are they trained in how to care for their residents? Including those residents with special needs like Alzheimer’s? Do they have the tools they need to do their job?
  • Site Management. Well-managed facilities generally experience fewer instances of abuse. Without on-site leadership and supervision, there is less accountability and oversight. Standards of care can fall and rogue staff members find it easy to abuse or neglect residents.  

Andres Beregovich Holds Care Facilities Accountable

Another part of the problem is the lack of consequences for abuse. Assisted living accidents, nursing home abuse and negligence are often unobserved and unreported but even when an issue is reported to the authorities, there’s a good chance nothing will come of it. State and local authorities may not investigate the reports or may do a cursory investigation. They may fine the facility or they may not. This lack of consequences just allows the problems to continue. 

What can families do if they suspect nursing home abuse or assisted living negligence? Contact The Beregovich Law Firm. Our nursing home abuse attorney, Andres Beregovich, investigates all claims to determine if, when and how the abuse occurred and is not afraid to go up against nursing homes to expose the truth and fight for better conditions for current and future residents. It is only by standing up to abusive nursing homes, exposing their crimes, and holding them accountable that we can create better conditions for all and hope to reduce the incidence of nursing home abuse. 

If you suspect your loved one has been abused in a Florida nursing home, contact The Beregovich Law Firm at (800) 631-9009 or email us to schedule a free consultation.

Protect Your Loved One From Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse is on the rise. Similar situations are also on the rise in assisted living facilities. Part of this is due to the fact that we have an aging population with many more people than ever before living in nursing homes and care facilities. Another reason for the increase in abuse cases is the broadened definition of what constitutes abuse. While the offense used to be relegated to simply physical abuse, today it takes many more forms including verbal abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse, and even neglect. 

Getting a loved one set up in a nursing home or assisted living facility is tough enough; the last thing you want to worry about is whether he or she is being abused where they live. Can nursing home abuse be prevented? Maybe not in every case, but there certain actions you can take to help prevent your loved one from being abused or involved in an accident. 

4 Ways To Prevent Nursing Home Abuse

There is no way to guarantee a resident won’t be abused, but there are a few steps you can take to do your best to prevent it.

  1. Do Your Research. You definitely want to research nursing homes and assisted living facilities before you sign on the dotted line. Make sure the facility can accommodate your loved one’s specific medical needs. Ask your loved one’s primary care physician for facility recommendations. Check online reviews of the nursing home, center or facility. Do an internet search to see if it is associated with any troubling news reports. Visit locations in person. You can even use Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare tool to research nursing homes in your area. 
  2. Visit Often. Once your loved one has moved in, visit or call them often. Ask about their day-to-day activities, how the staff treats them, and look for any changes in behavior that could indicate abuse. Visually inspect their room and the public areas and make sure to chat up the staff too. Seniors who have very involved family members are less likely to be targeted by abusers or subject to nursing home or assisted living negligence.
  3. Become Involved in their Financial Affairs. Financial abuse, exploitation, and fraud is an on-going problem for elders. It’s very easy for an elderly victim to fall for a sob sorry from a nursing home employee or to believe they have to share their financial information with staff. If they are unable to keep up with paying their bills or show cognitive decline, add a trusted family member to all of their accounts or hire a fiduciary to oversee the individual’s finances.  
  4. Encourage Socialization. Isolated seniors make the perfect target for all kinds of abuses. Encourage your loved one to make friends, join groups, participate in activities and stay active in their new home. This will help them retain their independence and confidence and be exposed to a wider circle of people who can catch early signs of abuse or neglect. 

Contact A Nursing Home Attorney If You Suspect Abuse

Nursing home abuse and elder abuse are serious crimes that can easily turn deadly. Don’t turn a blind eye. If you think your loved one is being or has been abused in a nursing home or assisted living setting or by an in-home aide or caregiver, contact The Beregovich Law Firm. Our nursing home abuse attorney offers free consultations to help families get to the bottom of nursing home abuse and assisted living accidents.

Contact The Beregovich Law Firm at (800) 631-9009 or email us to schedule a consultation.

What You Can Do About Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse is widespread with the World Health Organization reporting that 1 in 6 people over the age of 60 experienced some form of abuse in 2017. While shocking, the true numbers may be much higher as abuses are often under-reported. This is troubling given the fact that as our society ages, more and more families must rely on nursing homes to care for their elderly family members.

What can families and individuals do to better protect their loved ones who need nursing home care? The best way to prevent nursing home abuse is to stay involved.

4 Ways To Prevent Nursing Home Abuse

It’s easy to feel helpless when it comes to nursing home abuse, but it doesn’t have to be that way. When families remain vigilant and are willing to speak up and take action, we can reduce nursing home abuse and safeguard our elderly.

  1. Visit Frequently. The most important thing to do is visit your loved one at their facility at least once a week, if not more. Residents who have frequent visitors are far less likely to suffer abuse than those who do not receive visitors. Use this time to visit with your family member but also to observe how staff treat others and how things are run day-to-day. Always ask your loved one how they are feeling and how they are being treated.
  2. Watch For Signs Of Neglect. Neglect is often the first warning sign that abuse could occur. If residents are not receiving proper medical care, physical and hygienic care, or emotional care, the situation could escalate to abuse. On your visits, inspect the facility for safe and sanitary conditions, adequate staffing, and staff interactions with residents. 
  3. Take Action. If you notice signs of neglect or abuse, you need to report it. A good first step is to speak with the site director, but you may need to escalate your concerns to state and federal authorities. Nursing homes are required by federal law to “report and investigate all allegations of abuse, neglect, exploitation, or mistreatment, including injuries of unknown source, and misappropriation of resident property to the State Agency.” In Florida, this is the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). If the victim is in immediate danger, you may need to have him or her removed from the facility.
  4. Consult A Nursing Home Abuse Attorney. If you suspect nursing home negligence or abuse but aren’t sure what to do, contact a nursing home abuse attorney. This is especially important if your loved one has suffered an unexplained illness or injury. An experienced nursing home abuse attorney will be able to examine the evidence and advise you of the best course of action. 

Taking Action Helps Others

Even though it is hard to come forward, taking action against nursing home abuse and negligence is the best way to stop the mistreatment and to prevent future incidents from happening to your loved one or to others in the facility. By speaking up and banding together, we can force facilities to provide better care and protect this vulnerable population.

The Beregovich Law Firm helps families investigate suspicions of nursing home abuse and negligence and represents victims and their families in nursing home lawsuits to recover compensation for the injuries sustained. If you have any questions or concerns about nursing home abuse in Florida, contact our firm at (800) 631-9009 or email us to schedule a consultation.

4 Different Types of Nursing Home Abuse

Did you know that there are many different types of nursing home abuse cases? While physical abuse may be most closely associated with nursing home abuse in our minds, it’s far from the only type of mistreatment seniors can suffer in a nursing home setting. In addition to physical abuse, seniors can experience:

  • Sexual Abuse
  • Psychological Abuse
  • Financial Abuse or Exploitation 

4 Types Of Nursing Home Abuse To Watch For

When families can’t care for an elderly loved one, they turn to nursing homes to provide that care with the expectation that the resident will be treated well. Sometimes that does not happen and the elderly resident becomes a victim of abuses such as:

  • Physical Abuse. This type of abuse causes physical harm. Sometimes the abuse is intentional such as hitting a resident or handling them roughly, but at other times the physical abuse may be caused by neglect due to inadequate staffing or poor staff training.
  • Sexual Abuse. Sexual abuse is unwanted and unsolicited sexual attention or acts. Patients who are unable to express themselves such as those with dementia or cognitive impairments are most at risk of sexual abuse. 
  • Psychological Abuse. This type of abuse is the most difficult to identify because it does not leave physical evidence behind and the abuse may be explained away as the caregiver “having a bad day” or it being a “one-time thing”. Psychological abuse can include yelling, shaming, or criticizing the resident. 
  • Financial Abuse or Exploitation. This type of nursing home abuse happens when caregivers have access to and take advantage of the resident’s finances. They may steal cash, divert funds from a checking account, use the resident’s name to apply for credit or loans, or convince the resident to give them money.

Anyone of these types of nursing home abuses can happen to men or women. The abusers maybe nursing home staff, other residents, or even visitors. The best way to protect your loved one is to visit them often and watch for signs of injury and changes in behavior. If you suspect abuse is occurring, contact The Beregovich Law Firm for advice. Our nursing home abuse attorney will listen to your story, examine the evidence, and recommend a course of action that protects your loved one.

Contact The Beregovich Law Firm at (800) 631-9009 or email us to schedule a consultation.

Should You Take a Settlement in a Nursing Home Abuse Case?

There are thousands of nursing home lawsuits filed every year in the U.S., yet very few of them make it to court. Most cases are settled out of court, but is it in your best interests to accept a settlement offer?

In many situations, yes. 

Nursing home abuse or negligence cases are trying. They are trying emotionally. They are trying in terms of the time commitment involved. They are trying for both sides and for everyone affected. 

A settlement can bring closure to victims and/or their families and still provide them with adequate compensation for the injuries suffered. A settlement also guarantees certain compensation and actions required of the nursing home or its staff…going to court provides no such guarantee.

The Benefits of Settling Nursing Home Abuse Cases

Many families at first feel reluctance to accept a nursing home settlement offer, thinking that they are letting the nursing home off easy or feeling guilty about abandoning their pursuit of justice. In reality, a settlement isn’t simply a “take it or leave it” offer made by the nursing home’s attorneys as a way to make the case go away. Settlements are compromises that are legally negotiated between the nursing home and the victim/victim’s family members. In many cases, settlements are negotiated after legal proceedings have begun.

In a settlement, both sides agree to a set of facts and a compensation award in order to avoid going to trial. Settlements still provide plaintiffs with financial compensation to cover personal injury and medical costs, disability, disfigurement, emotional distress, and any legal fees that may have been incurred.  

The benefits of accepting a nursing home abuse settlement include:

  • A guaranteed award.
  • No chance of a case being dismissed.
  • Faster closure of the entire process.
  • Fewer legal fees.
  • More private and less intrusive to families.
  • Eliminates the stress of a trial.

Is Settlement Right for You?

Just because many nursing home abuse cases are settled out of court does not mean it’s the right solution for you. The only way to know if the settlement offer is fair and just or if you would be better off going to trial is to consult an experienced nursing home abuse attorney.

Andres Beregovich can help you determine if you should accept a nursing home settlement offer or not. He has the experience to know what a settlement should include and whether or not an offer is a fair compromise for the victim and his or her family. The legal issues surrounding nursing home cases are complex and can be confusing to try and navigate on your own.

Obtain the best solution for your family. Contact The Beregovich Law Firm to find out if a nursing home settlement is right for you or if you are better off going to trial. 

Call (800) 631-9009 or email us to arrange a consultation to discuss your situation. We promise to listen to your concerns and provide an honest assessment of the case.

Can I Sue For Nursing Home Negligence?

Nursing homes are tasked with providing a safe environment for the elderly or infirm. When a resident is injured while in the care of a nursing home or similar facility, it’s natural to wonder if you can hold them responsible for the injury.

In some cases, yes, nursing homes and care facilities can be held liable for a patient’s injury if negligence can be proven. Proving nursing home negligence is complicated and best left in the hands of an experienced nursing home negligence attorney. If you see any signs of negligence or abuse or suspect your loved one isn’t receiving adequate care, contact The Beregovich Law Firm right away to discuss your concerns.

Filing a Lawsuit For Nursing Home Negligence

If a nursing home accepts Medicare (which is most of them), it must follow specific federal regulations that establish a certain standard of care for residents. Those standards generally require that the areas accessible to residents be free of hazards and that each resident receives adequate and appropriate supervision and assistance. Failure to meet these minimum standards of care could lead to charges of negligence, particularly if it can be proven that an accident or injury is a direct result of the lack of care.

There are many, many ways that a nursing home could be charged with negligence. Some examples include:

  • Failing to keep the facility free and clear of hazards.
  • Hiring employees who neglect or abuse residents or failing to provide proper training for employees.
  • Lack of supervision of residents.
  • Failing to keep the facility clean and sanitary.
  • Failing to provide appropriate medical care.

In all of these situations and more it is not enough that a resident is injured on the premises, you must also prove the nursing home’s liability in each situation. This isn’t easy. It can be difficult to determine what led to the accident and who should be held responsible.

Uncovering evidence and proving negligence is a job for a skilled nursing home attorney. Andres Beregovich works with nursing home residents and their families to examine the facts of the situation, determine if negligence occurred, and who should be held responsible. This professional investigation can help injured parties recover damages and can help prevent a similar situation from happening to another person in the future.

If you suspect negligence at a nursing home or care facility, call The Beregovich Law Firm at (800) 631-9009 or email us to arrange a consultation to discuss the situation. We are always available to listen to your concerns and provide an honest assessment of the situation.

Don’t Ignore These Common Signs Of Nursing Home Negligence

It’s worrisome enough to trust a loved one’s care to a stranger, but when those caregivers don’t provide the care you expect, the situation can move from worrisome to alarming. Nursing home negligence is an all-too-common scenario that millions of seniors and their families deal with every year. As concerning as this situation is, keep in mind that not every nursing home is bad, not every resident will be neglected, and that there are ways you can protect your loved one.

One of the best ways to do this is to learn to recognize the signs of negligence so you can intervene early and prevent the situation from escalating. Sometimes negligence is just the result of poorly trained staff, one individual staff person, or honest mistakes. In other cases, the negligence can be a sign of a systemic problem in the facility.

In any of these situations, early intervention can help prevent a case of neglect from becoming a pattern or developing into abuse.

Signs Of Negligence

Nursing home negligence occurs when staff members or the facility fail to do something. It is a breach of duty and an indication of substandard care. This differs from abuse because there is no intent to cause harm, as is the case with abuse. Neglect can take many forms: physical, social/emotional, or medical.

Common examples include:

  • Bedsores
  • Changes in behavior
  • Dehydration
  • Falls
  • Hygiene concerns
  • Infections
  • Instances of wandering
  • Isolation
  • Lack of medical treatment
  • Malnutrition
  • Medication Errors
  • Unsafe or unsanitary condition
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Unexplained weight loss

While it is possible to be unhappy with the level of care provided by a nursing home, that does not necessarily mean a senior has been neglected. Many seniors may complain simply because they are unhappy about being in a nursing home or are not used to having restrictions placed upon themselves. That does not mean the nursing home is being neglectful. True neglect leaves evidence and results in actual harm.

If You Suspect Negligence

There are several actions you can take if you suspect negligence:

  • Talk to your loved one. When possible, ask your loved one directly about your concerns and how they feel they are treated in the nursing home. Pay special attention to explanations for your specific concerns like injuries or weight loss. Take note of their demeanor when they answer you. Do they sound like their usual self or are they acting out of character or afraid?
  • Visit more frequently. Seniors who have frequent visitors are less likely to be neglected or abused. Visitors can help provide care, keep the senior’s spirits up so they can better help themselves, build rapport with staff, and keep an eye how the home operates.
  • Talk to nursing home staff. Talk to your loved one’s caregivers and/or the site manager if you are at all concerned about his/her situation. Be as specific as possible and non-threatening. Sometimes upper management is unaware of a staff members treatment of residents.
  • Talk to a nursing home attorney. If you still have concerns or proof that your loved one is being neglected, contact The Beregovich Law Firm. Our nursing home attorney has experience dealing with situations of elder abuse and neglect and can help you start a conversation with a facility or begin a lawsuit if need be.

Call The Beregovich Law Firm at (800) 631-9009 or email us to arrange a free consultation.