Nursing homes are places that are meant to provide care and safety for those in need. Sadly, these facilities do not always live up to such standards and fail to keep their residents safe.
Physical abuse is one of the most common types of abuse that occurs in assisted living facilities. Unfortunately, this type of abuse is most often caused by caregivers who either intentionally mistreat residents out of frustration or are understaffed and undertrained. Regardless of the reason for it, the effects of physical abuse in Wesley Chapel nursing homes can lead to long-lasting and life-threatening injuries. Speak with a compassionate nursing home abuse attorney at Distasio Law Firm today if you suspect your family member is being harmed.
Common Types of Physical Abuse in Assisted Care Facilities
Forms of physical abuse in assisted living facilities may include but are not limited to:
- Hitting or slapping
- Broken bones
- Sexual abuse
- Inappropriate use of restraints
If your elderly loved one suffers any of the above by their caretaker, another resident, or a visitor to the nursing home, consult with a seasoned legal professional in Wesley Chapel as soon as possible to seek justice.
Warning Signs that a Loved One Is Being Physically Abused
Sometimes elderly family members can express themselves and will tell you outright, “I’ve been abused.” In such situations, family members should take their loved one’s words seriously and investigate. Other times residents of nursing homes are afraid that if they speak out against their abuser, they will receive poor care or will be retaliated against.
Fortunately, physical abuse is much easier to identify than other types of abuse. If you suspect your loved one is being abused, you should keep an eye out for any of the following behaviors, as they could be warning signs:
- Withdrawn or isolating behavior
- Unexplained and/or reoccurring injuries
- Signs of restraint, such as bruising around wrists
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Refusal to leave patient alone with family by medical staff
Residents that Are Especially Vulnerable to Physical Abuse
The types of residents that are particularly vulnerable to suffering physical abuse in Wesley Chapel assisted care facilities include dementia patients and physically disabled residents.
Dementia patients are more susceptible to being physically abused because they do not often understand what is going on around them and they can sometimes not communicate in a way that makes sense. Dementia patients can also be more physically demanding or resistant to care—which can aggravate staff and make them retaliate.
Physically disabled residents are particularly vulnerable to suffering physical abuse because they cannot move around or take care of themselves, which can cause nursing home staff to get easily frustrated and lash out.
Is It Ever Acceptable for Nursing Home Staff to Use Force?
There is really no circumstance when it would be acceptable for a caregiver to use force when dealing with residents. Nursing home staff are there to provide care and treatment that family and loved ones are not capable of providing. Nursing home staff members are trained to deal with residents and should have the ability to provide that care without administering any type of physical force.
Steps to Take if You Suspect Your Loved One Is Being Physically Abused
The steps that can and should be taken if someone believes that an elderly family member is being physically abused in their Wesley Chapel nursing home include first and foremost, making sure their loved one is safe. If the resident is staying within the facility, the family should ensure that the facility is not going to allow the behavior to continue, or the abusive staff member has been removed. If the nursing home is not taking the necessary steps to ensure your loved one’s safety, you should remove them from the facility’s care as quickly as possible.
Next, report the abusive situation to the State Agency for Health Care Administration. That organization governs the license of the assisted living facility and will do a thorough investigation and document what happened. They can report the abuse to the Adult Protective Services central abuse hotline, governed under Chapter 415 of the Florida Statutes. They will also perform an internal investigation and can hold individual wrongdoers accountable. If there appears to be any type of criminal act, they can report it to law enforcement.
Finally, call an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer for help preserving evidence, investigating the situation, and holding the facility accountable financially for the damages your loved one suffered.
Call a Wesley Chapel Attorney to Address Physical Abuse in Nursing Homes
If you believe your elderly family member is suffering from physical abuse in a Wesley Chapel nursing home, immediately reach out to the dedicated attorneys at Distasio Law Firm. A proactive lawyer like Scott Distasio could investigate the situation, remove your loved one from the home, report the facility to authorities, and hold the abusive party accountable for their actions in a personal injury lawsuit.