West Palm Beach Assisted Living Abuse Lawyer
Florida Assisted Living Abuse Attorneys
There are significant differences between assisted living facilities and conventional nursing homes. Assisted living facilities tend to cater to residents with more mobility and independence than those in nursing homes. Often, they’re very able to care for themselves, but do need help from time to time. However, this difference hasn’t stopped the rise of abuse. Assisted living abuse can take many of the forms we associate with nursing home abuse, and is just as abhorrent (and illegal).
Assisted Living Abuse – Understanding the Types of Abuse
If you think that abuse in assisted living facilities is relegated to negligence and withholding vital medical care, take another look at the industry. You’ll find a broad range of abuse types not only common, but frighteningly prevalent in these supposed bastions of self-sufficient yet assisted living. Here are a few of the most common types.
Sexual Abuse: Yes, assisted living facilities are home to sexual abuse. This occurs anytime someone has non-consensual sexual acts with a resident of such a facility. This doesn’t include just the act of sex itself. It can also include a variety of other acts.
Neglect: Just like nursing homes, assisted living facilities can be breeding grounds for neglect. In fact, they might be more prone to neglect than other facilities are. Understaffing often leads to this issue, but there is also the question of hiring the wrong staff to begin with. Neglect can take many forms, from dirty living quarters to dehydration and malnutrition in residents, and even lacking medical care and treatment.
Financial Abuse: Nursing homes were once synonymous with financial abuse, and it’s also present in assisted living facilities. Financial abuse of residents can include anything from unauthorized use of their funds to taking their property and even accessing their checking and savings accounts, or other financial accounts.
Physical Abuse: Physical abuse of assisted living residents can take several different forms. It certainly includes unwarranted physical harm, but it also touches on excessive restraints, and the improper use of restraints, as well as being denied food and drink (or being forced to consume specific food and drink against the resident’s wishes).
Signs of Assisted Living Abuse
It can be difficult to detect the most obvious forms of assisted living abuse (such as physical abuse), much less some of the less obvious ones. Individuals with loved ones in assisted living facilities are urged to keep a close eye on their loved one. Look for signs of abuse or other suspicious activity. These can include:
- Cuts, bruises and marks on the body
- Unexplained charges on bank and credit card statements
- Unexplained withdrawals from checking and savings accounts
- Dirty, disheveled quarters
- Rapid deterioration of health
- Rapid deterioration of mental condition and cognition
- Depression or a removal of self from social activities
- Fearful attitude, particularly toward staff members
It can be difficult to differentiate between signs of abuse and some of the normal things that occur with residents at assisted living facilities, particularly the elderly. Falls, bumps and bruises often form more easily and look more serious with elderly patients. Elderly patients are often subjected to rapid changes in physical and mental health, often with no warning. Regardless, it is essential that you pay close attention and follow up on anything you find suspicious.
At the law offices of Casey D. Shomo, we specialize in assisted living abuse. Our experienced attorneys can provide an initial consultation on your case or that of your loved one, and help you decide where to go if abuse is deemed to be present. There is no reason for your loved one to suffer.