West Palm Beach Elder Neglect Lawyer
West Palm Beach Elder Neglect Attorneys
As children, we never really imagine our parents growing older. They seem eternal and unmovable. Of course, parents do age, and often they require help in their final years due to infirmity, medical conditions, disease or lack of mobility. Adult children are often unprepared or outright unable to provide the level of care aging parents or grandparents require and turn to professional facilities for these needs – nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Ostensibly, these facilities provide our aging parents with care, companionship, medical attention and everything they need. That’s not always the case, though, and elder neglect attorneys can help if you find yourself in this situation.
What Is Elder Neglect?
Elder neglect is separate from but linked to elder abuse. It’s a frighteningly common occurrence in today’s highly populated nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Most often, neglect stems from understaffing. That’s not to say there’s a lack of trained medical professionals available for staffing needs, but nursing homes and assisted living facilities are in business to make money. In order to ensure profit maximization, they often operate with a “skeleton crew” consisting of just enough professionals to keep the facility operational. However, when such a facility is understaffed, residents are underserved, and neglect can occur.
Elder neglect can take many different forms, including:
- Dehydration: Dehydration is one of the most insidious threats to our elder populations, and one of the most common conditions found in long-term care facilities. Over time, prolonged dehydration can make patients more susceptible to severe bedsores, can lead to tissue death, mental decline and more.
- Malnutrition: You are what you eat, and if you don’t eat, you simply cease to exist. Malnutrition happens when facilities are understaffed and patients either don’t get the food they should, or don’t get enough. Sometimes the food provided lacks nutrition, as well. This condition can exacerbate other medical and health problems, and can lead to death.
- Lack of Cleaning: A lack of assistance with physical care and cleaning, as well as cleaning quarters in nursing homes and assisted living facilities can also be considered elder neglect. Filthy living conditions help spread disease, and can cause additional health problems for the elderly living in these facilities.
- Isolation: A lack of staffing means that those professionals working at long-term care facilities have less time to spend with each patient. Many patients are confined to their rooms or homes due to a lack of mobility. Humans are social creatures, and a lack of interaction through isolation (whether intentional or unintentional) can have devastating consequences, including depression and even suicide.
- Lack of Medication: Many elderly patients require assistance with their medication, ranging from filling prescriptions to actually administering the medicine in question. In facilities where neglect occurs, patients may not have their prescriptions filled, and may not be given their medications on time, or at all.
The Potential for Abuse
Elder neglect attorneys recognize that neglect and abuse go hand in hand. A long-term care facility or assisted living center that neglects patients is more likely to be home to abusers or abusive procedures. Elder abuse ranges from sexual abuse and assault to financial abuse, theft, and the overuse or incorrect use of restraints, as well as many others.
Do you suspect a loved one is being neglected by nursing home or assisted living facility staff? If so, contact the law offices of Casey D. Shomo. Our elder neglect attorneys have successfully represented families and patients in neglectful situations as well as elder abuse cases. We can provide a full consultation on your case and help you determine the next step.