On November 20, 2013, an assisted living center employee in Seminole was arrested under allegations that she stole money from a patient at the assisted living center she worked at. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the employee allegedly stole a store credit card and debit card from the elderly resident and spent more than $1,500 before the theft was discovered. According to the police report, the patient who the crime was committed against had hearing and vision loss who needed assistance with daily living.
As our population gets older, more and more people are moving into assisted living centers and nursing homes. However, while people are searching for someplace for their loved ones to live, little attention is focused on what is done by these senior living centers to screen the employees that come in to contact with these family members on a daily basis or what procedures are in place to prevent abuse and neglect.
Florida has some of the strictest elder abuse laws in the country due to the large elderly population in the state. However, that doesn’t mean that elder abuse doesn’t exist here. Every year there are tens of thousands of reports filed with the elder abuse hotline with criminal charges sometimes following suit. Besides the criminal charges that can be brought against the abuser, there could be a civil lawsuits brought against senior living centers or home healthcare agencies that hire employees that are charged with abusing elderly patients.
Elder abuse can comes in many forms. It could involve severe neglect of the patient, actual physical or emotional abuse or even other crimes against the elderly such as the alleged thefts in Seminole. When a nursing home employee commits one of these crimes against a patient, the nursing home that hired them could face civil penalties by the patient and their family because they are considered liable under many different theories. It could have been that the care facility was negligent in hiring the employee, possibly because it failed to do a proper background check to determine a criminal history, proper education and certifications and even immigration status. The nursing home could also be possibly be negligent if it did not train employees properly, which led to the abuse. The nursing home could also be responsible if it did not have adequate staffing, which could possibly lead to neglect.
The damages that can be collected against a nursing home for elder abuse vary case to case. Most likely, your family member will be able to collect for pain and suffering, medical bills, and damages for possible disability caused by the abuse.
Nursing home abuse is especially heartbreaking and will most likely become more prevalent as our population becomes older. If you suspect that your elderly loved one has been abused or neglected by those hired to care for them, it is very important that you hire an attorney right away. Your family member deserves a team on their side to work through the nursing home red tape to determine what happened to your loved one. If you suspect your loved one has been abused by an employee at a nursing home, assisted living center, home care agency or other elder care situation, call the lawyers at Brooks Law Group at 1-888-WE-MEAN-IT to schedule your free consultation.