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The Difficulty with Care Center Abuse Cases

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Palm Beach, FLAlthough families send their loved ones to care homes for their safety and security, care center abuse cases show that not all homes are created—or run—equally. Issues such as elder abuse, care center physical abuse and neglect are all the focus of myriad care center lawsuits. Although there can be some difficulty in having charges laid against care centers that allow care home abuse to occur, lawsuits can still be filed when those homes have failed to protect residents.

One of the problems with pressing charges against employees and homes involved in nursing home abuse is that often the victims are unable to testify or even provide investigators with details. Many of the people who live in nursing homes have mental and/or physical disabilities that make it difficult or impossible for them to tell police what happened.

These disabilities also make people who live in care centers easy targets for people who would prey on them. Care centers have a duty to ensure employees are suitable for working with vulnerable people—including hiring people who do not have a record of physical or sexual abuse—but sometimes unethical people get through.

In such cases, it may fall to family members and other loved ones to recognize the signs of abuse and alert the appropriate authorities. Signs of abuse and neglect include unexplained bruising, scarring or broken bones, irregular or inappropriate use of medication (for example, a prescription has more medication left than it should), sudden weight loss, personality changes, dehydration, signs of being improperly restrained and withdrawal from loved ones. Furthermore, refusal by the caregiver to allow family members to see the resident alone can be a sign of abuse.

Even if charges are not laid against a home or employee for nursing home abuse, if the resident or his or her loved ones can show that the abuse occurred, they may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the care home owners, operators and staff. The owners and operators of care homes are legally responsible to provide a safe, clean facility and to provide all the necessities of life, including proper meals, adequate medication and hygiene. Failure to do so, or failure to prevent abuse or neglect from occurring can cause catastrophic injury to residents.

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