The COVID-19 (coronavirus) has caused illness and death in many families across Florida and the country, especially for our elderly who are living in nursing home facilities. It’s vital that these older Floridians—who are extremely susceptible to the disease—are given the best care possible in nursing home facilities at all times.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) explains that many people living in senior care facilities are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 because they’re older, and/or they have serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease. These chaotic times may cause nursing facilities to provide care that doesn’t meet state standards, which is unacceptable.

Governor Ron DeSantis has announced that Florida will be taking “baby steps” toward reopening public places. This may happen at different times in different regions of the state, and nursing homes may not be ready to accept in-person visits from friends and family any time soon. This may mean continued distancing from loved ones in care facilities, and it may be a while before families are again allowed to personally see their loved ones in nursing facilities—and the most vulnerable may suffer because of this.

What is Nursing Home Neglect?

Nursing home neglect is the inadequate care of nursing home residents. Family visits to loved ones in nursing homes can be a strong deterrent to the neglect of their loved ones, which can result in harm from substandard care or a failure to perform proper caregiving duties.

It’s common for family members to be much more aware of nursing home neglect, and there are families that take an active role in supervising their loved one’s care and treatment. However, without those regular visits, there may be an increase in nursing home abuse because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully, soon the social distancing orders will end, and families will be able to visit and check on their loved ones first-hand. But in the meantime, nursing home neglect is a real issue.

There are several types of nursing home neglect, including the following:

  • Medical neglect. The failure of a care facility to adequately care for or prevent a resident’s medical issues.
  • Basic needs neglect. The failure of a care facility to provide one of its residents with sufficient food, water, or a clean and safe living environment.
  • Personal hygiene neglect. The failure of a nursing home to sufficiently help a resident in maintaining his hygiene, including things like the resident’s dental care, laundry, and personal hygiene.
  • Social or emotional neglect. The care facility’s ignoring or abandonment of a resident, continual unkind treatment, and other kinds of treatment or abuse that doesn’t provide the resident with adequate social and emotional care.

What Should I Do if I Suspect Nursing Home Neglect?

When the visitation restrictions are lifted in Florida by Governor DeSantis, if you or another family member suspects harm or neglect on the part of the facility concerning a resident, speak with a Trentalange & Kelley attorney immediately.

The facility may be liable for negligence and damages. In some cases, a facility has been found negligent for not having proper policies in place to protect its residents. The nursing home may be held liable for the actions or inactions of its staff. In addition, the nursing home facility can be found liable for its negligent hiring and retention of employees, as well as its maintenance of the premises and equipment.

Nursing homes can be found liable if the home or its staff are found to be negligent, neglectful, or abusive causing harm or injury to one of their residents. A knowledgeable Florida nursing home neglect attorney from Trentalange & Kelley P.A. can protect your loved one from further injury and make certain that the facility is disciplined for its actions. A nursing home negligence action can provide you with justice and protect other residents from neglect.

Your attorney may seek compensation for nursing home neglect to help you and your family pay for expenses associated with getting proper care for your family member, such as medical treatment and mental health therapy that are required after the neglect, and moving expenses to place your loved one at another facility.

The coronavirus pandemic shouldn’t mean less care for the elderly. Our care facilities should treat them well in all situations.

Summary

Florida law sets out the minimum standards of care for nursing homes, and nursing home facilities are required to provide a safe environment without abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

If you suspect that your family member is the victim of elder abuse or neglect during this pandemic, speak with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney at Trentalange & Kelley P.A. We will help you with all of the issues concerning a case of neglect and nursing home negligence to make certain that your family member’s health and legal rights are protected.

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