Jacksonville Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers
Serving Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, and clients throughout Florida
Television news and newspapers run big headlines about nursing home abuse. The dramatic, shocking nature of these types of cases grabs attention and sells papers and ad space. Nursing home neglect receives less attention. It goes quietly unremarked or even unnoticed except by those whose loved ones suffer day in and day out with the painful, potentially deadly consequences of nursing home neglect.
In recent years, a number of investment firms have been buying nursing homes across the country as profit-making ventures. Their goal: cut costs and increase revenue.
Facilities have received cosmetic upgrades in their visible structures to make them more attractive to potential residents and their families, but once in the facility, families learn the trade-off. Cost cuts are often made in the personnel department, especially cutting out expensive registered nurses (RNs) in favor of less trained and less expensive employees.
These employees with less training often don’t have independent knowledge of what constitutes “adequate care” for your loved ones, they only know what they are told during onsite training by managers who know that every penny saved is a penny earned for the investors. These pennies are eked out in exchange for a real physical cost to your loved ones.
In a situation like this, you cannot trust nursing-home staff to recognize the harm that is being done. You have to know the signs of nursing home neglect, so you can identify it and stop it.
Malnutrition and Dehydration
Good nutrition is the basis of general good health and especially important for nursing home residents. Malnutrition can not only cause a resident’s health to decline but can also make him or her more susceptible to other consequences of neglect, such as bed sores and dangerous falls.
To help prevent malnutrition, make sure the facility has a licensed and experienced dietician on staff. Dieticians are among the expensive employees that get cut as part of cost-reducing measures. Ask to see actual menus of meals served, and make unannounced visits during mealtime to ensure your loved one is getting the food promised. Make sure snacks and beverages are available between meals.
If your loved one has difficulty eating, make sure he or she has adequate help eating. If depression, cognitive impairment, or drugs have reduced his or her appetite, then try to find ways to make him or her want to eat.
Also, keep an eye out for signs of malnutrition and dehydration such as:
- Low energy
- Weight Loss signaled by
- Poorly fitting clothes
- Sunken eyes
- A bony appearance
- Wounds that are slow to heal
- Cracks around the lips
- Thinning hair
- Skin that is duller or more brittle than before
If you see any of these signs of malnutrition or dehydration, make sure the staff is aware of them and ask for an explanation. Make sure they have a plan to remedy the condition and watch for signs of improvement. If improvement is slow in coming, more drastic action may be necessary.
Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, are wounds caused by constant contact, pressure and/or friction between the body and other surfaces. They form between the bones and the skin, as the bone pushes down on the soft tissue, causing damage in elder or disabled persons unable to move themselves to relieve the pressure.
When you visit loved ones, check them for signs of bedsores. The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel has developed a four-stage rating system for bed sores to help you understand what to look for:
Stage I pressure ulcers are identified as redness of a localized area that does not blanche or lighten. In people with darker skin, they may be a slightly different color.
Stage II pressure ulcers are shiny or dry shallow broad wound beds or blisters.
Stage III pressure ulcers have gone completely through the skin, exposing the subcutaneous fat below. There may be what is known as slough and eschar, or dead tissue shed by the body, present at or around the wound.
Stage IV pressure ulcers have gone through the skin and through the subcutaneous fat to expose bone, muscle, and/or tendons. Slough and eschar are often present.
Bedsores are most likely in patients scoring high on the Braden Scale, those with limited awareness of their bodies and surroundings, those whose skin is constantly moist due to perspiration or incontinence, those who are bedfast, have limited or no mobility, and those with poor nutrition.
Bedsores are often the product of neglect, as nursing home employees do not take the time to regularly turn or exercise higher-risk patients. They can also be worsened by poorly trained employees who expose patients to too much friction and shear force during turnings.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the average nursing home reports 1-2 falls per year per bed in the facility. About 10-20 percent of these falls result in serious injuries, and 1800 nursing home residents die every year as a result of falls.
Nursing homes should have adequate aids to help residents get around. This should include clean, dry, well-maintained, and unobstructed floors; grab bars and handrails, and adequate help for all residents.
Assess the environment of the nursing home before your loved one moves in. Check for aids like grab bars and handrails, and make sure that residents seem to be getting adequate help. Check to make sure there is adequate lighting.
When you visit a loved one in a nursing home, ask about and look for signs of unreported falls. If your loved one has suffered a fall, make sure there is a good plan for ensuring it does not happen again.
Unfortunately, if your relative has suffered either nursing home abuse or neglect, chances are they are not alone. Especially in cases of institutionalized neglect, hundreds, even thousands of others are suffering on a daily basis.
If you notice nursing home abuse or neglect, it is not enough to merely remove your relative to safety; instead, you are responsible for bringing the situation to the attention of our team of experienced Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers and other authorities. Only by doing so can you ensure that others will not continue to suffer.
If you believe that your loved one is being neglected or abused at their nursing home, then schedule a free, no-obligation nursing home abuse or neglect consultation with the team of experienced Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers at Hardesty, Tyde, Green, and Ashton, P.A. today in Jacksonville, Florida.
We will investigate and evaluate your nursing home abuse claim for free and will represent you on a contingency fee basis.
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What constitutes a personal injury?
The most common personal injury is an auto accident, but the broad definition encompasses any situation where a person suffers harm due to the negligence of another person or entity. Early identification of a personal injury is important to the legal process. Many serious injuries occur each year involving:
– Auto accidents
– Premises liability accidents such as injuries caused by a slip and fall
– Medical malpractice/nursing home injuries
– Wrongful death
– Work-related accidents
– Animal attacks
– Faulty or malfunctioning products (product liability)