Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale

Verbal, Emotional, and Financial Abuse of the Elderly

Choosing a nursing home, an assisted living facility or a long-term care facility for a loved one is often difficult and can be an emotional task. Finding a good nursing home often takes time, research and perseverance; which is normally a luxury. In many cases, decisions have to be made very quickly.

Often these decisions are based on a location close to family members, a clean and pleasant facility and what services do they offer. Many patients and families do not consider the possibility of their safety being at risk or the possibility of violence that can and does occur.

A study by the U.S. Office of Inspector General, Department of Human Services found that the majority of state oversight agencies and advocates perceived nursing home abuse as a serious growing problem, while nursing home administrators and industry representatives viewed abuse and neglect as minor.

While traditionally much focus has been on complaints of staff abuse and atrocities, there has also been an increase in complaints of resident-on-resident abuse and violence. One reason often given to this increase is the growing number of older patients being admitted with conditions of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.

Violence and abuse of the elderly or individuals placed in nursing homes is often the result of

  • Psychiatric patients and convicted felons (murderers, sex offenders) being alongside geriatric residents
  • Staff member issues (not enough staff, poor staff screening, lack of training, lack of reporting)
  • Residents (patient-on-patient abuse) and resident visitors and guests

Nursing home residents and their family members have reported theft, physical abuse, (punching, hitting, slapping, shaking, pushing and shoving), assaults, rapes and murders. Some national examples include:

  • A 24-year-old mentally ill patient from Hartford Connecticut killed 16 nursing home residents after he set the facility he was a resident of on fire.
  • A 98-year-old was indicted in the strangling death of her 100-year-old nursing home roommate.
  • An assisted living nurse’s aide employee in South Carolina confessed to killing an 82-year-old resident,forging checks and trying to cover up the crime. In addition to wrongful death, she faces charges of murder and burglary.
  • A man shot and killed seven patients and a nurse and injured three other people, including a police officer and a visitor of the nursing home in North Carolina. This was a result of a domestic dispute. The man’s wife was working as a nursing assistant at the facility.
  • A 38-year-old Maryland man, a nursing home patient, was charged with second-degree rape for assaulting an 89-year-old female patient. He had been admitted the facility five days prior.
  • Seattle police are investigating an alleged rape of a 34-year-old woman with a rare disease making it nearly impossible for her to speak or move at a nursing home care and rehabilitation facility. A male worker at the facility punched her in the face and raped her. He also pulled out her feeding tube. She has been admitted to the facility four days prior.
  • 91-year-old actor Mickey Rooney put a national spotlight on elder verbal, emotional, and financial abusewhen he testified before Congress in 2012 that he had been financially abused by a family member. Rooney had obtained a restraining order from an LA judge against his stepson who is accused of withholding food and medicine. The stepson is also accused of taking control over Rooney’s finances and blocking access to his mail and forcing him into activities he did not wish to do.

Seniors who fall ill and unknowingly sign over their assets to people who care for them, becoming victims of the most common form of elder abuse: financial. They soon discover they lost their house, car, private possessions, and have no more money. Most seniors don’t know how to seek reliable financial help. Others suffer physical abuse that can range from not being fed or cleaned to being beaten.

While the most common type of abuse is when family members steal or divert funds or property, the next biggest problems are caregiver theft and financial scams perpetrated by strangers. These criminals at care takers and nursing home facilities may use kindness and caring to steel from these elderly residents, while others use scare tactics and violence.

Unfortunately not all abuse at nursing homes, assisted living facilities or long-term care facilities are reported and prosecuted. Florida law provides a Bill of Rights for nursing home, long-term care and assisted living residents. To find out how your nursing home, long-term care facility or assisted living facility rates, visit the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of an assault, rape, murder, abuse, neglect, exploitation or violent crime at nursing home or long-term care facility, contact our negligent security attorneys to discuss your legal rights.