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Nursing Home Abuse a Sad Reality

Florida nursing home abuse is a sad fact for some retirees who come south for the beautiful weather.

When being an active senior turns into being an elderly person in need of extra care for daily living, we face the difficult task of finding the right facility. There truly are good nursing homes and bad ones. Relying solely on convenient location or good prices could mean the difference between quality of life and abuse or neglect.

Just last year, Florida passed a law that states any operator of an Assisted Living Facility (ALF) or Nursing home who has a criminal record must lose his/her license to operate. When “the system” to monitor facility owners fails, abuses go unnoticed and undocumented. Unfortunately, there is an rising trend in which the elderly care professionals either do not provide the proper level of care or harm the people they are supposed to assist.

Making matters worse, the Florida Legislature weakened the laws requiring Nursing homes and ALFs to carry adequate insurance coverage. That means victims of abuse and neglect, no matter how heinous their injuries, cannot be compensated. In extreme cases, the elderly can be left needing more expensive care as a result of their neglect or abuse.

Without insurance coverage on the facility where the abuse happened, those additional costs come out of the pockets of the victims and their families. It’s important to remember better facilities have better insurance.

A high-profile trial is getting under way this month in Miami-Dade of a man accused of giving counterfeit or diluted drugs to cancer patients in his facility, failing to stop a woman with dementia from drinking cleaning fluid (she ultimately died), and about 180 other violations in Miami and Broward counties since 2006.

In my professional experience with Nursing home abuse cases, these violations are, sadly, not uncommon. If you have a loved one who has been victimized in his or her facility, you have rights under Florida law. You simply have to know what to look for and know who to contact.

  • What are warning signs of nursing home abuse or neglect?

There are a number of warning signs for nursing home abuse. Some of these include poor hygiene, bruises, malnutrition, weight loss, broken bones, and dehydration. Also, some abuses can point toward verbal, mental, and other forms of non-physical abuse. Contact one of our nursing home abuse lawyers immediately if you suspect mistreatment has occurred.

  • Are nursing homes monitored for possible abuse and neglect?

In the state of Florida, the Agency for Health Care Administration monitors nursing homes by performing routine inspection and responding to any complaints. You can visit the Agency for Health Care Administration website to learn about assisted-living center violations.

  • Can we settle a nursing home abuse case without going to court?

Yes, it is possible to settle a nursing home abuse case outside of court. In fact, 90 percent of cases are settled before actually going to trial.

  • If we are suing the nursing facility of our loved one, should we move them?

If you are involved in a nursing home abuse claim with a facility, you should definitely move your loved one. If your loved one remains in that facility, he or she may be subject to more abuse and mistreatment by disgruntled nursing home personnel. It can be devastating to discover someone you love is being mistreated or even placed in life-threatening situations. In many cases, the abused victim cannot speak for himself.

At the Law Offices of Robert Rubenstein, we’re here to speak for the abused and make sure it doesn’t happen again.