Tampa Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Serving Seniors and Their Families
Nursing home abuse results in serious and sometimes life-threatening harm to seniors in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and other types of long-term care facilities in Florida. It occurs much more often than it should, and elderly Floridians suffer injuries that could have been prevented. It is extremely important for older adults and their families to understand the risks of nursing home abuse, and to learn more about holding facilities, staff members, and other parties accountable for injuries resulting from nursing home abuse. The experienced Tampa nursing home abuse attorneys at our firm can answer your questions today.
- Assault & Battery
- Bed Sores
- Broken Bones
- Emotional Abuse
- Falling Incidents
- Financial Abuse
- Lack of Care
- Malnutrition Abuse
- Nursing Home Neglect
- Patient Suicide
- Physical Abuse
- Sepsis & Infections
- Sexual Abuse
- Unsanitary Conditions
Currently, there are about 1.5 million people living in nursing homes in the United States. These residents are our parents, grandparents, and friends. They are also very vulnerable to the harsh reality of neglect and abuse of their caregivers. Kim Kohn of Goudie & Kohn has extensive experience in defending clients against the atrocities of nursing home abuse. Her familiarity with nursing home abuse and neglect cases begin with her role as lead counsel in her former firm, during which she won over $20,000,000 in settlements for her clients.
Before entering your loved one into a nursing home, be sure to:
- Ask for healthcare surveys and inspections
- Review the contract
- Review the arbitration clause in the contract
- Ask questions about caregivers, such as ratio of nurses to residents
If your loved one is already in a nursing home and you suspect neglect, contact the Tampa nursing home abuse attorneys of Goudie & Kohn immediately. Ms. Kohn orders medical records immediately and brings in seasoned experts to evaluate these records. Goudie & Kohn takes nursing home abuse so seriously that they have an LPN readily available to provide a professional opinion on abuse claims.
Signs of abuse and neglect include:
- Unexplained bruises
- Weight loss
- Broken bones
- Pressure sores
- Poor hygiene such as body odor, food stains, and dirty fingernails
Take pictures of these signs of abuse and neglect. Speak to nurses and the nursing home director about your concerns and make sure to document all interaction you have with the staff. In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit is only two years.
Different Types of Nursing Home Abuse Cases We Handle in Tampa
At Goudie & Kohn, P.A., we regularly assist plaintiffs with a wide variety of nursing home abuse cases for elderly residents and their families. The following are examples of the types of nursing home abuse claims we handle:
- Nursing home neglect: Nursing home neglect can occur when a nursing home or assisted-living facility fails to provide adequate care for patients. This type of abuse does not necessarily signal that the staff member willingly or knowingly engaged in nursing home abuse, but rather that by neglecting to provide proper care, the patient suffered injuries. At the same time, neglect can be intentional if a staff member purposefully avoid providing adequate care to patients.
- Bed sores: Bed sores are also known as pressure ulcers, according to the Mayo Clinic. These are a particular type of injury to the skin that results from “prolonged pressure on the skin.” In many cases, bed sores develop on areas of the skin that bony, such as a person’s hips or tailbone. This type of injury is commonly associated with a patient who spends a substantial amount of time in a bed or chair. Bed sores can result from nursing home neglect.
- Broken bones: Broken bones in a nursing home can result from physical abuse, as well as from neglect. In some situations, a patient does not know that he or she has a broken bone, and injuries can worsen without proper care. For example, a patient may develop an infection that requires hospitalization, and in some cases a serious infection can lead to the patient’s death.
- Physical abuse: The National Council on Aging (NCOA) emphasizes that physical abuse frequently occurs at the hands of an elderly person’s caregiver. Providing care for a senior can be stressful, and many staff members at facilities are not properly trained. At the same time, nursing homes have a duty to provide proper training and to ensure that employees do not have backgrounds that could more likely result in physical abuse against a patient. Physical abuse can involve hitting, striking, restraining, or otherwise harming a patient.
- Dehydration: All nursing home patients require enough fluids to stay hydrated. This is particularly important for nursing home residents who need assistance maintaining a proper diet. Dehydration often results from nursing home neglect, or the failure to monitor a patient’s day-to-day health needs.
- Malnutrition abuse: Malnutrition afflicts nursing home patients much too often. While it can be difficult to determine whether a nursing home patient is eating his or her food and is eating nutritiously, nursing homes have a duty to make sure that the nutrition needs of all patients are met. Malnutrition often occurs in cases of nursing home neglect, and particularly in facilities that are understaffed.
- Falling incidents: Falls in nursing homes typically occur when a patient is not properly monitored by staff. In most cases, falls are tied to nursing home neglect. Falls can happen in almost any situation, including out of a bed, out of a chair, in the shower, in the bathroom, and even in the hallway of a facility.
- Emotional abuse: Emotional abuse can be more difficult to identify given that it does not often have any physical signs or symptoms. However, emotional and psychological abuse are serious problems in nursing homes, and they often accompany physical abuse. When a senior seems withdrawn or shows shifts in behavior, it is important to consider whether that elderly nursing home resident is suffering emotional abuse.
What is Nursing Home Abuse Under Florida Law?
The NCOA makes clear that nursing home abuse can take many forms, including “physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, neglect, and abandonment.”
Elder abuse under Florida law (Fla. Stat. § 825.102), which the statute describes as “abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult,” is defined as one of the following:
- Inflicting injury upon an elderly person or disabled adult;
- An intentional act that could result in injury to an elderly person or disabled adult; or
- Active encouragement of any person to commit an act that could result in injury to an elderly person or disabled adult.
Florida takes nursing home abuse extremely seriously, and a person who is found to have committed abuse of an elderly person faces criminal penalties for a third-degree felony. The penalties become more serious when a person knowingly or willfully commits elder abuse and it results in great bodily harm or permanent injury to an elderly adult.
It is important for families in Tampa to understand that, even though the Florida statute makes clear that there are criminal penalties for elder abuse, seniors and their families also may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation for injuries. A nursing home abuse lawsuit is one particular type of personal injury claim, which is a civil lawsuit through which the plaintiff can seek financial compensation for losses.
Contact a Tampa Nursing Home Abuse Attorney for Help
If you have concerns about an elderly loved one’s safety in a Tampa nursing home or assisted living facility, you should learn more about filing an elder abuse claim. An experienced Tampa nursing home abuse attorney can discuss your options with you today. Contact Goudie & Kohn, P.A. for more information about the services we provide to seniors and their families in Florida.