When Dale Wilson noticed unusual bruises on his elderly father’s body, he knew that something was wrong. Because his father, a resident at Palm Garden Health and Rehabilitation in Winter Haven, FL, was unable to communicate due to advanced Alzheimer’s disease, Wilson set up a hidden camera inside the room to uncover what was going on. What he found was a shock: over the span of 30 days, two certified nursing assistants hit, kicked, and berated Wilson’s father, despite his feeble protests.

Changes In The Law Mean Changes In Care

This footage would disturb anyone who believes their loved one is receiving compassionate care from their assisted living facility. However, DWKMRS attorney Brian Wilson (who is not related to Dale Wilson or his father, and is not involved with their case) says that frankly, he’s not surprised at this nursing home abuse. Wilson notes that since the “late 1990s and early 2000s, the insurance industry was able to enact legislative changes that made it much more difficult for people to sue nursing homes.” As a result, Wilson says, the firm “sees people for whom the level of care has reduced dramatically, and a clear decrease in responsibility on the part of the facilities.” In addition, there’s an obvious financial incentive for nursing homes to employ fewer staff. Having less–and less-trained–employees to care for the residents means more money in nursing home pockets.

Up To 10% Of The Elderly Population Has Suffered Abuse At The Hands Of A Caregiver

The most recent statistics suggest that one out of every 10 elderly people are abused by a caregiver, while only one out of every 14 incidents are actually reported to the proper authorities. This could be due to the fact that many victims of elder abuse have dementia and cannot remember or report their abusers. Another possibility for the lack of reporting is lack of evidence: some nursing homes have a policy forbidding cameras in patients’ rooms, citing privacy concerns for the residents, their families, and the facilities’ employees. But as Wilson says, cameras provide a level of accountability that shouldn’t even be necessary.

Who Is Paying Attention?

The recent Winter Haven case illustrates that families and friends of those under nursing home care must be vigilant for signs of abuse. Wilson notes that residents who are visited regularly by their family members tend to get better care than those who are not visited regularly, perhaps because abusers know that someone is paying attention to any changes in behavior and physical marks that result from mistreatment. If you’re concerned that an elderly person you love is being abused by a caregiver, visit this site to learn what you should be looking for.

Dellecker Wilson King McKenna Ruffier & Sos is committed to helping victims of nursing home abuse reclaim their sense of security. Call us at (407) 244-3000 to discuss an injury claim relating to mistreatment in a nursing facility.


BTWBrian Wilson is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer at Dellecker Wilson King McKenna Ruffier and Sos.