Hundreds of thousands of people trust their loved ones to the caregivers at a nursing home or assisted living facility (ALF) in Florida. In fact, there are over 70,000 residents in Florida nursing homes alone. Unfortunately, many of these residents are not given the care they deserve and are neglected and abused by the very people who are being trusted to care for them.
If you are considering placing your loved one into a Florida assisted living facility or nursing home, you may have some questions, one of which may be, “What is the difference between a nursing home and assisted living facility?”
One main difference between a nursing home and an assisted living facility is that an ALF offers a more limited amount of support and medical care than a nursing home offers. If your loved one becomes unable to care for themselves as well as they were once able or is in need of medical care, the ALF should suggest that they be transferred to a nursing home; however, many ALFs neglect to offer their residents the care they need and keep them in the facility longer than they should because they do not want to give up the income they are receiving from the resident.
How Can I Protect My Loved One From Nursing Home Abuse?
When you start seeing the signs of decline in your loved one, a close, trustworthy individual needs to be appointed to make health care decisions in the event that the elderly individual becomes incapable of executing such decisions. This can be accomplished by assigning the individual on an advanced medical directive, such as a living will, healthcare proxy or power of attorney. By making these preparations, you will be able to ensure your loved one’s rights are protected.
Once you decide on an ALF or nursing home for your loved one, you need to have the admission paperwork reviewed by a Sarasota nursing home abuse lawyer. This admission paperwork, which is full of legalese, may contain an arbitration clause which means that you may not be able to sue the facility in court. Although the facility may try to make you think you must sign the paperwork as-is, this is not true. You are not required to sign an arbitration clause.
Signs of Florida Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Residents are placed into nursing homes and assisted living facilities for a number of reasons but, overwhelmingly, that reason is due to a family’s inability to provide the care that their loved one needs and deserves. They expect that their loved one will receive the utmost in health care; however, many nursing homes and ALFs neglect or abuse elderly residents. This neglect and abuse may be recognized in a number of different ways, including:
- Bedsores (decubitus ulcers)
- Unexplained bruises, welts or scars
- Spontaneous breaks, fractures, sprains or dislocations
- Broken eyeglasses or frames
- Rocking, sucking or mumbling to oneself
- Changes in personality, such as becoming withdrawn
- Torn, stained or bloody clothing
- Unusual weight loss, malnutrition or dehydration
- Unsanitary and unclean living conditions
This list only contains a few of the many signs of Florida nursing home neglect and abuse; however, if you have any indication that your loved one is suffering at the hands of an abuser, you must act immediately.