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Nursing Homes — A Danger of Abuse and Neglect

01/3/2014
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There’s a reason Florida is known as the Sunshine State.  We enjoy year round weather that allows us to enjoy outdoor festivities with our families, friends, and loved ones.  There are those of us like myself who were born and raised here and are likely never to leave.   There are also those who come here from the colder states of the north to enjoy the sunshine and all that Florida has to offer.  For those reasons, Florida has a significantly increased elderly population compared to many other states.

A cold hard fact of life is that as we age, we become increasingly dependent on others for support, care and protection. When a child or spouse must come to terms with that reality for their loved one, they typically turn to nursing homes that advertise and hold themselves out as helpful experts for the elderly who will provide exceptional care for the needs of your dependent loved one.  Nursing Homes continue to pop up all around Florida and this is because they enjoy a booming and profitable business model; especially as Florida’s elderly population continues to increase and the legislature continues to reduce government oversight of these institutions.

What these nursing homes do not tell you is that to maximize profits they are often understaffed by inexperienced caregivers.  Understaffed nursing homes with inexperienced caregivers are a recipe for poor care of elderly residents who cannot take care of themselves and not only need, but depend on the assistance of others to survive.   This is especially true for those who are too frail or weak to reposition themselves because they can develop bedsores (also known as pressure ulcers or pressure sores) which are injuries to the skin and underlying tissues that result from prolonged pressure on the skin. These bedsores typically develop on skin that covers bony areas of the body, such as the heel, ankles, hips or buttocks.

Every care provider employed by a nursing home knows to turn and off-load elderly residents who are dependent on them for repositioning to prevent bedsores.  If these residents are properly turned and repositioned, bedsores will not occur because there will not be a prolonged pressure applied to the skin. In other words, bedsores are entirely preventable.  In fact, they are so preventable that the federal government has deemed them to be “never events” meaning that they should never occur.

Unfortunately, I receive calls from family members of bedsore victims who are injured due to the negligence of nursing homes whose employees do not provide the appropriate turning and repositioning protocols.  Not only are bedsores extremely painful, they often lead to amputations or even death as they are a sitting duck for infection.

Click the link below to learn more about a bedsore wrongful death lawsuit that I filed in Palm Beach County where I was interviewed by CBS 12 news.

 

 

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