Our Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers Discuss Pressure Sores

Nursing Home Neglect LawyersPressure sores, also called decubitus ulcers, commonly develop in elderly individuals who have limited or no mobility. Pressure sores can be as relatively benign as a small bruise on the skin or be as critical as a deep hole in the skin that goes all the way to the bone. In some cases, pressure sores are unavoidable, but in all too many cases, a nursing home neglect lawyer will suggest they are a sign of neglect.

The Duty of the Nursing Home

It is the obligation of a nursing home to assess each individual when he or she enters the facility to understand the full nature of his or her condition and implement a proper plan for care based on individual needs. Accordingly, the facility must:

  • Ensure a person who enters the facility without pressure sores does not develop them unless it is demonstrated that the person’s clinically described condition makes it virtually unavoidable
  • Ensure that a person who develops pressure sores receives the necessary treatment to heal, prevent infection and prevent the development of new sores

Causation

Sadly, an experienced nursing home neglect lawyer knows all too well that many nursing homes are woefully understaffed, and the existing staff in many cases is undertrained. Residents of nursing homes who are confined to their beds for long periods of time each day make up a considerable percentage of the population of many facilities, and they require special care. They must be turned multiple times during the day in order to maintain proper circulation and protect their skin. For those with existing pressure sores at advanced stages, the danger of infection is high. Neglecting the open sores is a significant danger.

Contact Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers for Legal Advice

If your loved one is a resident of a nursing home, it is your responsibility to be their advocate. Visit often, be vigilant and if you have any reason to suspect less than proper care, call Giroux & Associates, nursing home neglect lawyers, at (727) 895-5399.

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Nursing Home Attorney on Liability for Nursing Home Accidents

Nursing Home AttorneyIf you have a loved one that has been injured while in the care of a nursing home, then you need to call your nursing home attorney for a consultation. It is not uncommon for those in a nursing home to sustain injuries that could have been prevented. These injuries are normally due to mistreatment or neglect by the staff. If you feel that a nursing home in your area is mistreating or neglecting their residents, call your nursing home attorney. Statistics show that there are millions of elderly people who are the victims of abuse, mistreatment, or neglect in their nursing home. But who is legally responsible for this? In the following information provided by your nursing home attorney the question of who is liable is discussed. If you feel that this subject warrant further discussion, schedule a consultation with your nursing home attorney.

Is the Nursing Home at Fault?

Those who are employed by a nursing home are bound by a duty of care to their residents. That means that they are responsible to provide a safe environment for those residents which include food, shelter, medical care, and ensuring that they have the proper hygiene. Nursing home employees help to feed the residents, provide medical attention, therapies, and other physical activities. Any of these can lead to a resident suffering from an injury or a form of abuse. The following are several ways that the nursing home itself may be directly responsible for the injury or abuse of a resident:

  • not providing daily needs such as food or water
  • improperly training staff members
  • not providing adequate security for the residents
  • not protecting residents from safety hazards or dangerous situations
  • not monitoring staff members adequately
  • improperly restraining a resident
  • a staff member intentionally abusing a resident

If it can be proven that the nursing home was negligent in their care or played a role in the negligent care of a resident, then it is possible the nursing home will be held liable and face damages for their neglect.

Are There Third Parties That Can Be Liable?

While it is usually assumed that the nursing home is directly at-fault for the negligent care, that is not always the case. In some cases it is entirely possible for a third party to be responsible for a resident’s injuries. Those times can include the following:

  • an outside contractor did not properly maintain equipment and it failed
  • a piece of equipment may have been manufactured improperly
  • there is a flaw in the failed equipment’s design
  • a staff member of the nursing home failed to use the equipment properly

There are other situations that can involve third parties including where physical therapy equipment has broken or malfunctioned, or when a medication dispenser has failed. There may be situations where the food, which has been brought in by a third party, has made a resident extremely sick. There are even cases where those visiting from outside of the nursing home have caused injury or abuse to the residents. However, if the nursing home has adequate security then this should not be a concern.

What Can You Do?

If you feel that a resident is being abused, mistreated, or neglected by a nursing home then it is your responsibility to report it to the right authorities. There are hotlines that are available for you to call and remain anonymous. You can visit your state’s government website to find where to report elderly abuse. You can also call your state’s care ombudsman that deals with helping those in long-term care facilities. If you do not feel comfortable reporting it to any of the above agencies, there are attorneys who specialize in nursing home abuse. Schedule a consultation to speak to one and let them know what you saw. You could help get that resident to a safer place and away from the abusers.

Consult with a Nursing Home Attorney St. Petersburg FL

When going up against a nursing home for abuse, mistreatment, or neglect of your loved one, you want the most experienced nursing home attorney St. Petersburg FL residents trust by your side. Call Giroux & Associates Inc at (727) 895-5399. Giroux & Associates Inc have the nursing home attorney who has the dedication and knowledge to help you stand up for your loved one’s rights. Call today for your consultation!

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Our Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers Discuss Elder Abuse Statutes

Nursing Home Neglect LawyersWhen you meet with the nursing home neglect lawyers at Giroux & Associates about your loved one’s case, there are some important things that you need to understand. Some abuse or neglect cases in Florida are treated under the medical negligence standard, while others are not. This difference can affect how your loved one’s case must be prepared for litigation. One of the first things your nursing home neglect lawyer will do is determine which body of law applies.

Florida’s Statutes Concerning Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

In Florida, nursing home abuse and neglect cases fall within the ambit of Florida Statute 400.023. If the case involved inadequate medical care or a deprivation of it, then it must be reviewed by a licensed doctor or nurse, and the records must be filed along with the lawsuit. Other requirements also apply after the complaint has been filed, including holding mediation within 120 days of the receipt of a defensive pleading or answer to the complaint, among others.

Florida’s Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for nursing home abuse and neglect cases is also very important. If the complaint is not filed within the required time frame, then you may lose your ability to sue and recover for your losses. The applicable statute of limitations may be found in Florida Statute 429.296. It states that your complaint must be filed within 2 years of the date of the incident or within 2 years of when it was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered. No complaint may be filed more than 4 years afterward, however. You should expect your nursing home neglect lawyer to carefully review the facts of your case to determine which statutory subsection applies. They will then determine when the statute of limitations began running to help make certain your case can be filed in time.

Contact Our Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers

To speak with the nursing home neglect lawyers at Giroux & Associates Inc, call (727) 895-5399.

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Our Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers Address Collecting State’s Evidence

nursing home neglect lawyersClients sometimes question our nursing home neglect lawyers about using state records as evidence in an abuse case. These records might include:

  • Documents from the State Board of Nursing Examiners, which can show possible disciplinary actions against a person that could be relevant to your claim.
  • Similar documents from the State Board of Medical Examiners and
  • Documents from the state agency that oversees nursing homes.

Our lawyer will want to search for records that relate to the defendant(s) in your case, including previous investigations, possible fines, prior visits to the nursing home by state authorities, correspondence involving parties in the case and even financial information. Our nursing home attorney can provide you with additional information about searching for other relevant records.

Additional Resources

You could find additional information by looking at other resources that might have a bearing on your nursing home abuse case, such as:

  • Related entities, such as a corporate website that oversees the facility
  • The Secretary of State and related records
  • The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations
  • Other professional organizations, including the American Medical Association
  • Depo Connect, an organization that keeps deposition records and
  • Other nursing home neglect lawyers familiar with case litigation.

 

Witnesses Who Might Lend Support to Your Case

After you have collected all of the relevant documents, you now need to ready your case for trial. You will want to seek depositions from important figures in your case, such as the following:

  • People in the business office
  • People in the medical records department
  • Employees who happened to observe an incident, such as maintenance personnel
  • Dietary staff employees
  • Nursing staff employees
  • The head doctor on site or a treating physician
  • A social worker or other staff member assigned to the case or
  • A therapist of any type.

Call Our Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers

At the law firm of Giroux & Associates Inc, our nursing home attorney can answer your questions about state’s evidence and how that can affect your case. Call us at (727) 895-5399.

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Naming Defendants: How Your Nursing Home Attorney Can Help

Nursing Home AttorneyIn any nursing home neglect claim, the plaintiff’s nursing home attorney must first determine whether to name co-defendants such as physicians not employed by the nursing facility or whether the nursing home will be the sole defendant in the case. If the facts surrounding the plaintiff’s case indicate that the nursing home is clearly responsible for the neglect or abuse, it is typically in the plaintiff’s best interest to direct the case against only the nursing home. Having one defendant will allow the litigation to focus specifically on the defendant’s omissions or wrongful acts as well as the alleged injures to the plaintiff.

Strategies for Naming a Defendant

However, choosing to name the nursing facility as the sole defendant and not naming the outside doctors does not come without risk. In fact, the nursing home and its employees might blame the “outside” physicians for the wrongful death or injuries of the patient. This possible defense can arise in several ways, such as:

A nursing home employee testifies that he attempted to contact a physician when he realized a problem needed to be addressed, but the physician did not respond at all or in time; or

A nursing home employee testifies that she was following a doctor’s orders when he committed whatever type of omission or act that caused death or injury to the resident. Other theories include:

  • A doctor who did not adequately follow the resident under the circumstances;
  • A doctor who did not properly write orders for the resident; or

A doctor had the ability to correct whatever mistakes were made but failed to do so. Especially in a wrongful death case, if a plaintiff does not not name any physicians as residents, it is likely that the nursing home’s defense experts and attorneys will find some way to blame the patient’s death on a physician who was not employed by the nursing home.

What Plaintiffs Can Do

To avoid this, the plaintiff’s nursing home attorney can name all of the doctors who saw the resident during the pertinent time period as defendants. Unfortunately, this strategy can be expensive, and it brings multiple defense attorneys into the lawsuit, all of whom will be attacking the plaintiff’s case. As a result, the cost and time of the litigation can increase significantly. In addition, naming each of the outside physicians as defendants can also distract from the lawsuit filed against the nursing home. Keep in mind that, in jurisdictions that have limitations on medical malpractice lawsuits that do not apply to nursing home abuse claims, naming outside physicians as defendants can also limit a specific portion of the damages to which a plaintiff may be eligible for his or her injuries or wrongful death. Before making the decision to name or not name any outside doctors as defendants, the plaintiff and his or her legal team should consult with a physician regarding the potential standard of care as well as causation defenses which the nursing home may raise. If the plaintiff’s expert is confident that there are no viable cases against the doctor or doctors in the case, then the plaintiff may consider pursuing the case against only the nursing home.

Contact an Experienced Nursing Home Attorney Today

If you would like to learn more about your options if you feel that you have a nursing home abuse case, contact Giroux & Associates Inc. at (727) 895-5399. We can review the facts surrounding your claim and help to determine the best course of action for you and your family. The time to file is limited, so contact a professional nursing home attorney at Giroux & Associates Inc. today.

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A Nursing Home Attorney St. Petersburg FL Explains Federal Nursing Home Laws

Nursing Home Attorney St. Petersburg FLWhen you speak to a nursing home attorney St. Petersburg FL about your loved one’s care in their nursing home, they will explain to you that your loved one is protected by several major pieces of federal legislation. If you are concerned about the care your loved one is receiving or have suspicions they are being abused or neglected, here is an explanation of the protections they have under the law.

The Elder Justice Act

Enacted in 2010 as a part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or PPACA, the Elder Justice Act is the most comprehensive federal law that aims to prevent elder abuse. The act created an elder justice coordinating council within the Department of Health and Human Services that focuses on elder abuse and exploitation. The law also allocated $400 million to states for use in adult protective services. An additional $67.5 million was allocated to train and recruit qualified nursing home staff. The law mandates that owners, operators and staff of nursing homes report suspected abuse or neglect, and it established forensic centers to help law enforcement agencies better collect and test evidence of crimes towards the elderly.

The Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act

Also enacted in 2010 as another part of the PPACA, the Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act established a national background check program for all nursing home staff.

The Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act

Under the Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act, consumers are provided with access to all of the following information about nursing homes:

  • The names of the managers, operators and owners of the facility
  • Per resident and per day hours of care
  • Rates of employee retention and turnover
  • The number of complaints, how serious they were and what their outcomes were
  • How much money the facility spends for administrative services, indirect care and direct care

The Federal Nursing Home Reform Act

Before the passage of the PPACA, the lone federal law that provided protections for nursing home residents was the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act. Enacted in 1987, this law is still effective. It requires regular assessments and thorough care plans for residents. It also includes a bill of rights guaranteeing residents all of the following:

  • The right to access medical records
  • The right to refuse medical treatment
  • The right to be provided a written list of the services and fees
  • The right to have control over their own finances
  • The right to select their own doctor
  • Privacy rights
  • Confidentiality rights
  • The right to keep and use their own personal belongings

If you believe your loved one may be suffering from abuse or neglect, or that they are being exploited, you may need the help of a nursing home attorney St. Petersburg FL.

Contact a Nursing Home Attorney St. Petersburg FL

To speak with a nursing home attorney St. Petersburg FL at Giroux & Associates Inc, call (727) 895-5399.

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Florida Nursing Home Lawyer Discusses Restraint Injuries

man in wheelchair Florida Nursing Home LawyerIf you or your loved one has suffered injuries while in a nursing home, contact your Florida nursing home lawyer to schedule a consultation. You may be entitled to compensation for those injuries. The following information from your Florida nursing home lawyer discusses restraint injuries that can happen in a nursing home. If you have any further questions about the subject, contact your Florida nursing home lawyer for a consultation.

Restraint Injuries in a Nursing Home

There are two typical ways that someone may be restrained while in a nursing home. Those two ways are:

  • when they should be used, for safety reasons
  • when they are used when they should not be

Whether used for safety reasons or not, restraints can cause a serious injury to a person. In most cases, injuries are sustained when restraints are used in situations where they should not be used. Some restraints are put into place to help the residents be safe and have a better quality of life. Restraints that are used for safety reasons can include any of the following:

  • Adding railings to a bed so that the resident does not roll off
  • Adding safety belts to chairs or walkers to minimize the chances of falling
  • A violent resident may be restrained for the safety of the other residents
  • A door lock can prevent a confused resident from wandering and getting lost

However, not all restraints are used properly by the staff in the nursing home. Sometimes, overworked staff members may use a strap to hold down a resident that does not need to be restrained for their own convenience or as a punishment. Staff members may think that a restrained resident is one that cannot get into trouble, therefore they do not need to perform a check on them as often. This is a dangerous belief. Restraints can do more harm than good. In fact, residents who are restrained should be check up on more often than those who are not. Being restrained for any length of time can cause the following:

  • malnutrition
  • dehydration
  • muscle atrophy
  • bedsores
  • depression

Restraints need to be used properly by the staff to be effective.

Schedule a Consultation with a Florida Nursing Home Lawyer

To receive skilled and professional assistance, contact your Florida nursing home lawyer today from Giroux & Associates Inc at (727) 895-5399. Giroux & Associates Inc knows the Florida nursing home lawyer who can help you fight for your rights, or for the rights of your loved one in a nursing home. Help stop nursing home neglect – call today!

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Our Florida Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Discusses Nursing Home Abuse Defenses

gavel and stethoscope Florida Nursing Home Abuse AttorneyIf you have a loved one who has been injured or became ill due to poor treatment from nursing home staff, a Florida nursing home abuse attorney may be able to ensure that the responsible parties are held accountable. The “poor us” defense is commonly used by nursing homes to claim that they provide the highest quality of care that they could afford due to their financial circumstances. In cases of severe neglect, the only concern that needs to be addressed is whether the nursing home failed to provide the standard of care. Whether or not the facility lacked resources does not excuse it from meeting this standard.

Punitive Damages

If you are seeking punitive damages based on the argument that the staffing was reduced in order to maximize profit for the nursing home, the defense may argue that poor staffing was the cause of financial distress rather than greed. If this is the case, your Florida nursing home abuse attorney may examine the facility’s budgetary decisions, including administrative and executive salaries. If your attorney is able to establish that administrative salaries are disproportionate when compared to the unmet staffing needs of the nursing home, you may be able to seek punitive damages.

“Old People Just Get Sick and Die”

This defense is one of the most controversial used by nursing homes and is generally made during a wrongful death case. The nursing home may argue that all elderly people eventually die due to their advanced age or age-related causes, and that the negligent staff was not directly at fault. In this case, the burden is on your attorney to produce evidence that it was not your loved one’s time to pass and that the nursing home was at least significantly responsible for contributing to the circumstances that led to his or her death.

“The Nursing Home Met the Standard of Care”

The defendant facility may hire an expert witness to testify on its behalf that the nursing home met the basic standard of care under the circumstances. The most effective counter to this defense is to hire an expert witness who can testify that the standard of care was not met in your loved one’s case. This may include an examination of federal and state regulations that were not met during the provision of your loved one’s end-of-life care.

Contact a Florida Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

Call Giroux & Associates Inc today at (727) 895-5399 to work with a Florida nursing home abuse attorney you can trust.

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Florida Nursing Home Lawyer Describes Signs of Pain and Suffering

doctor and elderly woman Florida Nursing Home LawyerA common sign of nursing home abuse that a Florida nursing home lawyer can identify is when a patient develops frequent pressure sores. This is often a sign that a patient is being neglected or not cared for properly. Here is some information on how to identify possible signs of abuse.

Pressure Sores

Pressure sores, especially when they reach Stage III or Stage IV, cause debilitating pain and agony. They are also very obvious on the surface of the skin and look extremely painful. The upshot of this is that photos of patients who have developed them are very compelling to juries, who tend to award large damage amounts in such cases. Documenting such a convincing sign of neglect and greatly help your nursing home abuse case. However, the difficulty is in proving that the sores were actually caused by neglect by the nursing home staff. One tactic your Florida nursing home lawyer might try is to have a loved one try to observe the conditions of care, or possibly have the patient’s treating physician observe the patient’s condition.

Pain Management

Everybody is aware of pain and everybody is aware that some people need medication or other remedies in order to handle it. Evidence of failure to properly manage pain can be compelling to juries, especially if they are aware that pain medications should be generally available in care facilities. Pain medications should be prescribed by doctors on an as-needed basis and records should be kept by the facility as to how frequently they are administered to which patients. If you are able to establish that the patient did not receive proper medication to remedy their pain and suffering, you may be able to argue for damages. Your Florida nursing home lawyer may try various means of demonstrating this to a jury, such as constructing a time chart showing the frequency and duration that the patient was in debilitating pain.

Malnutrition

Failure to properly care for a patient often results in malnutrition and dehydration. If this is suspected, the patient’s fluid intake and dietary records should be closely scrutinized to determine if the patient is being fed properly.

Our Florida Nursing Home Lawyer Can Help

For more information on these or other possible signs of nursing home abuse and what you can do about it, contact a Florida nursing home lawyer at Giroux & Associates, Inc. Call (727) 895-5399.

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Our Nursing Home Attorney Discusses Emotional Abuse

elderly man and doctor Nursing Home Attorney As fearful as you may be that your loved one may become a victim of physical abuse in a nursing home, a nursing home attorney warns that a more insidious danger may be posed by emotional abuse by a nursing home caretaker, volunteer or other worker. A victim of emotional abuse may not show the telltale signs of physical abuse, but the harm can be just as severe or worse.

The Nature of Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse includes a wide range of behavior; it can be verbal or nonverbal. It can be as overt as screaming or yelling at an elderly resident or may encompass regular berating or humiliating of the individual in front of others. Other forms of abuse a nursing home attorney reports include isolating a nursing home resident from socialization with fellow residents, friends or family and depriving the individual of needed care.

Why Emotional Abuse Is So Prevalent

Perhaps more common than physical abuse, emotional abuse is seldom caused by a worker who is intentionally trying to harm a resident. Although an experienced nursing home attorney will unfortunately see this type of incident on occasion, it is much more typical that the abuser is a person who is ill prepared to handle the duties of his or her job. The worker may not have the proper education or metal capacity for the job, may not have received the proper training or there may simply too many residents for the number of workers in the facility. Too often, all three coincide to create a real danger for the home’s elderly residents.

Signs of Emotional Abuse

Sadly, many victims do not report the abuse they endure. There can be many reasons for this, but among the most common are fear of reprisal, shame, low self-worth and a general feeling of helplessness and resignation. Of course, many residents have lost the ability to communicate and are unable to tell of the abuse. You, therefore, are often the only advocate your loved one has. Look for signs such as:

  • Withdrawal
  • Failure to make eye contact
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Anxiety when a certain person is present
  • Depression

Contact a Nursing Home Attorney for Legal Advice

A nursing home resident has the right to a clean, safe and supportive environment. Be certain your loved one is protected. For any concerns, call Peter Giroux, a nursing home attorney from Giroux & Associates, Inc., at (727) 895-5399.

 

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