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Seminario de Seguridad Negligente | Marzo 2015>

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    What to Do If You Suspect A Loved One is a Victim of Assisted Living Abuse

    For older adults who can mostly care for themselves but may benefit from some help or oversight, assisted living facilities (ALFs) provide a solution that lies between independent living and a nursing home. While nursing homes are designed to provide round-the-clock care, the services at ALFs are typically limited to assistance with meals, medication management, and general supervision. Therefore, assisted living abuse and neglect is less common than it is at traditional nursing homes—but sadly, it does still occur.

    For the family members of ALF residents seeking to ensure their loved ones’ safety and comfort, it can be difficult to tell if abuse or neglect is occurring and if so, what to do about it. Here are a few key steps to take if you suspect your loved one is being abused in an ALF:


    While unexplained injuries may be a clear indication that your loved one is being physically abused, there are many other manifestations of elder abuse or neglect. For instance, overmedication or undermedication are common problems in ALFs that are supposed to be helping residents stay on track with their prescriptions; this may result in symptoms such as personality changes, anxiety or depression, a change in sleeping patterns, or diminished alertness.

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    Another common concern is financial abuse; be watchful for unexplained transactions in your loved one’s bank accounts, changes to their will, or other suspicious activity.

    In addition, it’s important to know that under Florida law, ALFs that can no longer adequately care for a resident due to his or her deteriorating condition are obligated to recommend that the resident be moved to a facility that can provide a higher level of care. Therefore, if a resident has suffered repeated falls, has been found “wandering off” (also known as “elopement”), or has shown other signs of needing closer supervision and the ALF has failed to take action, they could be deemed negligent.


    As soon as you notice the signs mentioned above or other indications of abuse, gather any documentation that may be helpful in supporting a claim. This may range from taking photos and jotting down notes detailing what you’ve observed, to speaking with potential witnesses and compiling medical records or bank statements.


    While suspecting that your loved one has been abused or neglected in an ALF is a heartbreaking situation, it can be helpful to know that Florida law offers a remedy: under Chapter 429 of the Florida Statutes, ALF residents whose rights have been violated (or their guardians) may bring a private cause of action against the facility. To navigate this process, it’s crucial to work with an attorney who has experience handling elder abuse cases.

    At Leighton Law, we are committed to ensuring that ALFs maintain safe standards and comply with all state and federal regulations in order to ensure the health, comfort, and dignity of older adults. We routinely work with residents of ALFs or nursing homes and their families, and our team is available to guide you through your legal options if abuse is suspected. Call us at 888.988.1774 to schedule a consultation.


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