Throughout Florida and across the country, our nation's elders are victims of abuse, neglect and mistreatment in the very facilities designed to care for them. They endure physical suffering, loss of dignity, emotional trauma and even loss of life because of wrongdoing.
When you learn that a loved one has been abused or mistreated in a care facility, you're likely stunned. You can't imagine how a licensed, professional facility could allow such a thing to happen.
There may be several contributing factors, including:
- Overcrowding: With more and more baby boomers entering retirement, the demand for long-term care has skyrocketed. Facilities will often take on more patients than they're equipped to manage. They're more concerned about making money than about providing a high quality of life.
- Understaffing: In many facilities, it's physically impossible for nurses and assistants to provide the individualized care each patient deserves. They simply have too much on their plates. An inadequate staff-to-patient ratio can create a chaotic environment where your loved one ends up isolated and neglected.
- Inadequate training: Staff members must know how to properly care for the vulnerable patients entrusted to them. They must also understand the limits of their skills and recognize when it's time to involve a physician, hospital or other more qualified provider. Without proper training, staff members can readily overlook potentially life-threatening conditions.
- Negligent hiring: Professional care centers must ensure that their staff members are qualified for the job. This means conducting background checks and making sure the proper licensing requirements are met. Candidates with a history of disciplinary infractions — or allegations of abusive conduct — should not be trusted to work with vulnerable patients.
- Lack of proper facilities or equipment: Nursing homes and assisted living centers are expensive to build and maintain. Each room must have the proper equipment — including beds, bedrails, mattresses, hand railings, handicapped-accessible bathrooms, and other medical and safety devices. The facility must keep this equipment in good working order. Unfortunately, far too many facilities are run-down or poorly maintained, which puts patient safety at risk.
- Insufficient safety protocols: Every care facility should have detailed policies designed to keep patients safe and healthy. They should address the many situations that can result in harm to patients — including what to do in emergency situations, when to enlist the help of a doctor or other more qualified professional, how to manage fall-risk and wander-risk patients, and how to safely transfer patients.
You deserve an explanation as to what, specifically, contributed to the harm your loved one has suffered. We can help you get answers.
At Ford, Dean & Rotundo, P.A., our attorneys' sole focus is on correcting these injustices. We help victims and their families seek accountability and compensation. Call our Miami office at 305-670-2000 to schedule your free consultation with one of our lawyers.