When signing documents to place loved ones in nursing home facilities in Fort Lauderdale, make note of language that involves “transparency” of abuse and informing clients of neglect citations or reports filed against the facility so you are aware of potentially dangerous conditions that may cause harm to loved ones, enabling you to make informed decisions on the quality of care given and if changes should be made. Numerous citations have been made against nursing home facilities in Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding areas, involving fines and penalties from the Federal Government and the State of Florida.
Nursing home abuse.
Nursing home abuse covers acts that inflict injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or punishment with the result of physical harm or pain or mental anguish, or deprivation by an individual, including a caretaker, of goods or services that are necessary to attain or maintain physical, mental and psychosocial well-being as well as acts of negligence that cause or exacerbate existing health conditions.
Common types of abuse.
- Verbal abuse – The directed use of oral, written language or improper gestures that include critical, offensive and belittling terms to residents or their families, or where they can be heard even when a resident cannot comprehend such abuse including: 1) threats of harm or scaring them through fabricated stories.
- Sexual abuse – sexual harassment, sexual coercion or sexual assault.
- Physical abuse – to hit, slap, pinch or kick or affect control by the threat of corporal punishment.
- Mental abuse – humiliation, harassment, threatening punishment or deprivation, and gas lighting.
- Involuntary seclusion – Separating a resident from other residents taking them from their personal space, or even confinement to his room (with/without roommates) against the resident’s will, or the will of the resident’s legal representative.
- Unintentional Abuse – warning signs may include developing bed sores due to failure to change the victim’s sheets and/or regularly reposition the resident to improve circulation, exacerbation of conditions like diabetes due to changes in medication, diet and exercise, frequent falls, or poor hygiene such as bathing or brushing teeth.
Take action against abuse.
If you suspect nursing home abuse and notice severe signs that may be life threatening or emergent, 911 is a resource to call to insure safety of the residents. In a non-life-threatening incident, you may advise the staff that you are concerned with actions you have witnessed, and if you are financially able, perhaps hire an outside nursing professional to sit with your loved one until a formal grievance against the nursing home administration has been reviewed, reported, addressed and satisfactorily resolved. If you feel the issue has not been addressed, and you are still concerned about the safety of your loved one, you may contact the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) who routinely handle nursing home complaints. You can call (888) 419-3456 or file a complaint online.
An AHCA representative will make an unannounced visit to the nursing home in question and completes a random inspection of the facility along with staff and resident interviews, medical record reviews and an assessment of policies and procedures. The State of Florida has many seniors and nursing home facilities to meet the needs of their families who are not always available to handle the activities of daily living, but those facilities need to be environments free from dangers to loved ones.
Call an attorney.
It may be in your best interest to contact a lawyer at Madalon Law Group who specializes in nursing home neglect because cases can become complex, involving a mixture of both state and federal laws. If criminal charges evolve out of the civil case that is filed, the State of Florida would pursue those charges.
Madalon Law Group
100 N. Federal Hwy #CU5
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301