Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
Leesfield Scolaro vigorously pursues claims of nursing home abuse in Florida and nationwide. We apply our extensive knowledge of state and federal protections on behalf of nursing home residents and their families. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities who neglect and abuse our older citizens are subject to civil liability. Our firm aggressively pursues cases on behalf of these residents and their survivors. These cases are brought pursuant to statute as well as common law claims of negligence.
A congressional report has found that 5,283 C over 30 percent C of the nursing homes in the U.S. were cited for an abuse violation that had to cause harm between January 1999 and January 2001. Over 2,500 of the violations were serious enough to cause actual harm or to place residents in immediate jeopardy of death or serious injury. As per published statistics, more than 50% of all nursing homes are short staffed and do not have enough staff to help care for the residents. Due to this, the existing staff is often overburdened, which in turn leads to nursing home neglect and also abuse.
It is estimated that by 2007, the demand for beds in nursing homes will rise to such an extent that it will far outweigh the supply. With more and more elderly people going to live in nursing homes, the nursing home abuse statistics are expected to reach very alarming levels, much more so than what is currently prevalent.
Eye witness accounts and surveys have sadly shown that nursing home abuse and neglect is a serious problem, and that there also is significant under-reporting. Major underlying causes of elder mistreatment, according to findings of the National Academy of Sciences Panel to Review Risk and Prevalence of Elder Abuse and Neglect, are stressful working conditions, particularly staff shortages, staff burnout, and most importantly, inadequate staff training.
The most effective prevention programs, experts say, use a combination of strategies to protect vulnerable elders. In 2002, the National Center on Elder Abuse commissioned a review of prevention research related to abuse in nursing homes and other long term care settings. Strategies identified in the literature include:
- Improve work conditions, through adequate staffing, enhanced communication between direct care and administrative staff, more time to nurture relationships between staff and residents, humane salaries, opportunities for upward mobility, and greater recognition, respect and understanding for the difficult lives many workers lead.
- Assure compliance with federal requirements concerning hiring of abusive nurse aides.
- Assure strict enforcement of mandatory reporting, as well as educate professionals and the public (non‑mandatory reporters).
- Assure that hiring practices include screening of prospective employees for criminal backgrounds, history of substance abuse and domestic violence, their feelings about caring for the elderly, reactions to abusive residents, work ethics, and their ability to manage anger and stress.
In 1965 Medicare and Medicaid came into existence and along with it came federal nursing home regulation. Nursing homes that qualify and voluntarily elect Medicare and Medicaid to their facility must follow a set of guidelines put forth by federal standards. The Health Care Finance Administration that is part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services enforces these nursing home regulations. Congress authorized the first set of standards that were to be met by nursing facilities in 1967 and created classifications for the Skilled Nursing Facilities and Intermediate Care Facilities. Both in 1980 and again in 1987 these standards were updated with the most current standards imposed under the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987.
Leesfield Scolaro has been successful in securing exceptional recoveries for victims who have suffered nursing home neglect and abuse, as well as the families of those who have lost loved ones at the hands of such institutions. As nursing home neglect attorneys, we apply our experience in personal injury law and nursing home abuse to cases involving preventable injuries and wrongful death claims. For a complete list of the firm's representative results, go to our Verdicts and Settlements section.
Patients in nursing homes deserve the best care, but it is not always the case. Injuries most often reported by families of nursing home residents are physical, emotional or neglect and they include:
- Physical abuse
- Mental abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Upset or agitated
- Extremely withdrawn & non‑communicative
- Unusual behavior
- Poor personal hygiene
- Begs for food
- Unsanitary and unclean conditions
- Dirt, soiled bed, fecal or urine odor
Physical or mental abuse and neglect of our elderly parents is a silent crime. Most of the elderly with disabilities are unlikely to complain about abuse, neglect or victimization under the fear that they will lose whatever support, even abusive that they have, and that their complaints will trigger reprisals. Elder abuse has been found to be an all too frequent occurrence with deadly results. When this abuse or neglect occurs at the hands of trained professionals who have secured state licenses to operate their personal care or nursing home, you have a right to be angry and to demand answers. The breach of the standard of care when directed against our elderly parents should be punished severely.
For over 30 years, Leesfield Scolaro has strongly and efficiently represented victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. In a case of aggravated liability which first resulted in a preventable femur fracture to a 91 year‑old woman and eventually her death by desanguination less than two months later, our firm obtained a $1,000,000 award for her family. Recently, our firm achieved a substantial settlement for an 88 year‑old woman who was able to ambulate with assistance before she was admitted to the nursing home. During her stay at the nursing home, she was severely neglected and abandoned, causing her to sustain two separate hip fractures, both requiring complete hip replacements and extensive rehabilitation.
Our attorneys also took on the case of the family of an 82 year old, who suffered from dementia and Alzheimer's disease and was completely dependent upon others for her well‑being. The nursing home records clearly indicated its awareness of plaintiff's need for restraint, walking problems and propensity for falling. Nonetheless, she was left unsupervised on numerous occasions, suffering a series of falls that caused severe injuries and a complete deterioration of health. She died in a terribly debilitated condition. The large award is confidential. In another similar nursing home neglect case, our firm reached a $1,000,000 settlement. Our client had dementia and the nursing home records clearly showed our client's neglect who was allowed to fall 10 times, including one requiring surgery for subdural hematoma. For a complete list of the firm's representative results, go to our Verdicts and Settlements section.
To contact one of our experienced trial lawyers call our Miami law office today at 800-836-6400 or click here for a free and full case evaluation.