There were approx. 67,000 people living in licensed nursing homes in Florida in 2022. Most provide the level of care that we all want for our loved ones.
Most, but not all.
NURSING HOME RESPONSIBILITIES, PATIENTS’ RIGHTS AND RECOURSE:
Licensed Nursing homes are regulated by the AHCA (Agency for Health Care Administration). The AHCA publishes a guideline and its annual inspection report. You can find it here.
Yet despite the oversight, nursing home negligence is a serious issue that can have devastating consequences for residents and their families. Human Rights Watch estimates that 1 in 6 elderly people suffer some form of negligence or abuse. And that was before Covid.
Some of these negligent facilities have been found to have inadequate staffing, poor training, and a lack of oversight.
In 2018, Florida passed a new law aimed at addressing nursing home negligence. The law requires nursing homes:
- To have backup generators capable of maintaining comfortable temperatures for at least 96 hours in the event of a power outage.
- Requires nursing homes to have a sufficient number of staff members on duty at all times
- It establishes new penalties for facilities that fail to meet these requirements.
NURSING HOME RESIDENTS’ RIGHTS:
Nursing home residents in Florida have certain rights that are protected under state and federal law that can be found in this Patient’s ‘Bill of Rights’ here.
In addition to these rights, nursing home residents in Florida also have the right to:
- A safe and clean living environment
- Adequate and appropriate medical care,
- Access to social services and activities.
- Receive visitors at reasonable times
- Have access to religious services and spiritual support.
WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU SUSPECT NEGLIGENCE IN A FLORIDA NURSING HOME?
When it comes to nursing home care, family members must stay actively involved to ensure their loved ones are safe and well-cared for. Observing and reporting any signs of misconduct, neglect, or abuse is essential to prevent harm and protect the rights of nursing home residents.
To gain insight into day-to-day activities at the nursing home, use conversations with your loved ones as an opportunity to gather information. If a relative complains of neglect or conflict with a worker, it’s crucial to report your observations to the state of Florida under its mandatory reporting law on elder abuse.
Florida provides several options for residents to report nursing home abuse, such as filing a report over the phone or online via the state’s official website. The state also offers reporting forms that reporters can download and return via fax.
In cases of physical, emotional, financial, or sexual abuse, or neglect, notify the Florida Department of Children and Families immediately.
Florida law provides immunity to those who report of nursing home abuse to protected from any criminal activity implications. Law enforcement will investigate the elder abuse while the reporter remains immune from prosecution.
If you suspect or witness nursing home abuse, Florida law requires you to report the information to the state.
Contact the 24/7 nursing home abuse hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE or 911 in case of immediate danger.
Reporting elder abuse to the state is only the first step.
If you or a loved one feels they have been the victim of nursing home negligence or suffered a serious injury or wrongful death. call our office immediately. Our firm has been representing patients and families for over 40 years. We are known for our expertise, our experience, our tenacity, and most of all, our results.
Update 3/1/23: Per the Sun-Sentinel: “Adult offspring and other family members could be prohibited from suing a nursing home or assisted living facility for the wrongful death of a loved one. A Florida Representative “filed HB 1029 last week, a far-reaching bill that would, among other changes, limit claims against long-term care facilities in Florida to only a living spouse or offspring younger than 25″.