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Nursing Home Abuse

The decision to admit a loved one to a nursing home is never easy, especially when you are trusting someone else to care for a family member as if it was you. Sadly, not all facilities are worthy of this trust.  Stories abound of nursing home residents abused and neglected.  Recently, for example, the Daytona Beach News Journal reported that a nursing home employee was charged with elder abuse after other employees saw her strike a patient several times on the back of his head.  The patient was wheelchair-bound and suffered from severe dementia.

Florida has laws and regulations in effect to govern the care and treatment of residents in nursing home facilities within the state.  These rules set standards for facility staff, the physical plant and patients’ rights.

Nursing Home Staff

Florida’s administrative rules on Minimum Standards for Nursing Homes require each facility to have a licensed physician serving as Medical Director. In addition, the rules establish requirements for nursing staff, including a Director of Nursing.  This person cannot serve as Director of Nursing for more than one home and cannot also function as an administrator. A nursing home must have a qualified dietician on staff to serve as Director of Food Service.

Physical Requirements

By regulation, a nursing home must provide a safe, clean, comfortable and homelike environment.  This includes:

  • A sanitary, orderly and comfortable interior;
  • Clean bed and bath linens in good condition;
  • Adequate furniture;
  • Adequate and comfortable lighting;
  • Comfortable and safe room temperatures; and
  • Comfortable sound levels, with radios and televisions being tuned to stations of the residents’ choice.

Patients’ Rights

Florida Statute 400.022 sets out an extensive list of the rights guaranteed to nursing home residents.  Some of these rights include:

  • The right to civil and religious liberties;
  • The right to private and uncensored communication;
  • The right to participate in social, religious and community activities;
  • The right to manage his or her own financial affairs;
  • The right to be fully informed, at or prior to admission and during his or her stay, of services available in the facility and the charges therefor;
  • The right to be adequately informed of his or her medical condition and proposed treatment (unless unable to provide informed consent to treatment under Florida law);
  • The right to choose his or her own physician;
  • The right to refuse medication or treatment and be informed of the consequences of such refusal (unless unable to provide informed consent);
  • The right to receive adequate and appropriate health care and social services;
  • The right to privacy;
  • The right to be treated with courtesy and dignity; and
  • The right to be free from mental and physical abuse.

Consult a Florida Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer

The skilled and dedicated nursing home neglect lawyers of Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith PLLC have years of experience speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves.  We have handled cases involving all manners of abuse and neglect on behalf of victims and their families.  If you think you might have a case of nursing home abuse or neglect, reach out to us to learn more about your rights and options.  Call us in West Palm Beach today at 561-655-2028, or contact us online.

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